- Journal Article2013Opportunistic exploitation: an overlooked pathway to extinctionTrends in Ecology and Evolution. 28(7): 409-413Download
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How can species be exploited economically to extinction? Past single-species hypotheses examining the economic plausibility of exploiting rare species have argued that the escalating value of rarity allows extinction to be profitable. We describe an alternative pathway toward extinction in multispecies exploitation systems, termed ‘opportunistic exploitation’. In this mode, highly valued species that are targeted first by fishing, hunting, and logging become rare, but their populations can decline further through opportunistic exploitation while more common but less desirable species are targeted. Effectively, expanding exploitation to more species subsidizes the eventual extinction of valuable species at low densities. Managers need to recognize conditions that permit opportunistic depletion and pass regulations to protect highly desirable species when exploitation can expand to other species.
- Newsletter2013Protecting the dugong: Better late than neverSpecial bulletin of the 59th Wildlife Week Booklet Department of Environment and Forests, Andaman and Nicobar Administration, September issue.
- Popular Article2013Steamed, with salt and a dash of limeThe Hindu in School, 30 October
- Popular Article2013She sells seashells on the sea shoreThe Hindu in School, 28 August
- Popular Article2013A day in the life of a butterfly fishThe Hindu in School, 10 July
- Book Chapter2013Dugongs in Asia. In Sirenian conservation: Issues and strategies in developing countries.Florida: University of Florida Press.
Ellen Hines. John Reynolds, Lemnuel Aragones, Antonio A. Mignucci- Giannoni, Miriam Marmontel. (Ed.)
- Popular Article2013Securing Habitat of NemoFriday, April 12, Andaman Chronicles.
- Newsletter2013Where have all the dugongs gone? A study on long-term occupancy trends in the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago, India,Sirenews, Newsletter of the IUCN Sirenia Specialist Group, Vol. 60.
- Popular Article2013Rasgullas worth their tinThe Hindu in School, 13 March
- Popular Article2013Jalebis at the forest fenceThe Hindu in School, 6 March
- Popular Article2012Dugongs, mermaids of the seaThe Hindu in School, 26 September
- Popular Article2012Dolphins for the GovernorThe Hindu in School, 22 August
- Popular Article2012Expedition North AndamanThe Hindu in School, 12 September
- Popular Article2012Kosi: a river that can’t be pinned downThe Hindu in School, 29 August
- Journal Article2012Structure and dynamics of South East Indian seagrass meadows across a sediment gradientAquatic Botany, 98 (1): 34-39Download
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In this study we examine the influence of non-monsoon sediment arrival on the high-diversity SE Indian seagrass meadows of the Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar. We used a gradient-based approach to examine the influence of increasing sediment loads on species composition and shoot density. In addition, for the ubiquitous seagrass (Cymodocea serrulata), we tested the influence of sediment on its biomass and productivity. We identified three sites in Palk Bay and four sites in Gulf of Mannar (SE India) along a gradient of sediment input. At each of the seven locations, sediment traps were deployed to measure sedimentation rates. Nine seagrass cores were taken systematically along 50 m transects at a constant sub-tidal depth to measure shoot density and biomass. A few shoots of C. serrulata were marked to estimate the above ground seagrass growth rate. Our results indicate that sedimentation rates that ranged from 8.6 to 62.4 mg DW cm−2 d−1 could not explain species composition of the meadow or shoot density of the observed species. C. serrulata was, by far, the most abundant species and present in all sediment condi- tions. Sedimentation rates did not alter shoot elongation rates in C. serrulata, ranging from 1.54 ± 0.29 SD to 0.25 ± 0.02 SD cm d−1 , but in contrast, increased vertical rhizome elongation rate. This increase was reflected in an increase in below ground biomass along the sediment gradient (R2 = 0.582, p = 0.01). C. serrulata appears to be able to adapt to the sediment dynamics in this area by allocating resources to rhizomes and roots to counteract burial and stabilizing sediments. Given that siltation is one of the most important threats to seagrass meadows, understanding the species-specific adaptive mechanisms of seagrass species in these high-sediment, high diversity South Asian meadows is an important first step in ensuring their long-term survival and functioning
- Journal Article2012Distance-related thresholds and influence of the 2004 tsunami on damage and recovery patterns of coral reefs in the Nicobar IslandsCurrent Science 102:1199–1205
The earthquake and tsunami of 2004 resulted in the devastation of marine and coastal ecosystems across the Indian Ocean. However, without adequate baseline information it has been difficult to properly gauge its full impact. The reefs of the Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal lie on a path that ranges from 190 to 500 km from Banda Aceh, the epicentre of the 2004 tsunami. In 2008, we recorded benthic damage as a result of the tsunami to reefs off 14 Nicobar Islands across a gradient of distance from the epicentre. A clear pattern was observed in the demographic structure of the most abundant coral genera, Acropora and Porites across the distance gradient. Significantly, for the largest coral individuals of both genera (> 50 cm diameter), there were distinct threshold effects – their abundance declining dramatically in reefs closer than 350 km from the epicentre. Corals between 20 and 50 cm diameter also increased with distance from the epicentre, but in a more linear fashion. Smaller size classes either showed no apparent trend (Acropora) or decreased linearly (Porites) with distance. These gen- era represent very different life-history strategies: Acropora is fast-growing and highly susceptible to a range of disturbances, while Porites typically grows slowly but is resistant to disturbance. The fact that both genera showed similar thresholds indicates that, close to the epicentre, the impact of the earthquake and tsunami was large enough to override any species- specific resistance. Also, algal cover was also much higher than at locations further north, linked to higher coral mortality at these locations. However, the fact that smaller size class coral individuals were rela- tively abundant and even increased close to the ep centre indicates possible paths of reef recovery after the catastrophe.
- Journal Article2012Conservation needs of the Coconut Crab (Birgus latro) on the Nicobar Islands, IndiaOryx, 46: 175-178.Download
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We describe the distribution of the coconut crab Birgus latro, categorized as Data Deficient on the IUCN Red List, local perspectives towards the species, and its conservation needs on the Nicobar Islands in the eastern Indian Ocean. The species is threatened with extinction across most of its range and in India it is found only on a few islands in the Andaman and Nicobar archipelagoes. We carried out informal discussions with Nicobari commu- nities to examine issues regarding conservation of the species and conducted timed searches in areas where coconut crabs were likely to be found. The discussions revealed that there are social taboos against hunting the coconut crab on most of the Nicobar Islands. However, on some islands these taboos are not being followed and community members may hunt the crab for consumption. Athough the coconut crab is legally protected under the Indian Wildlife Protection Act none of the villagers were aware of this. Of the six islands surveyed we recorded the presence of 17 and 14 crabs on two islands, respectively. On four islands villagers reported the presence of the crab prior to the tsunami of 2004, and on two of these islands the species may now be locally extinct. A small population size and a fragmented distribution in areas of coconut planta- tions suggest that the species is threatened. We recommend monitoring and detailed research on the ecology and genetics of the coconut crab, along with community-based conservation initiatives to conserve the species and its habitat.
- Popular Article2012The fading of an invisible mapThe Hindu, February 11th, Magazine Section
- Popular Article2012No mermaid fairytaleDown to Earth, August issue
- Popular Article2012A thousand leopards in the SeaThe Hindu in School, 29 September