Rahul Muralidharan

PhD Candidate, ATREE
Email: rahul.muralidharan@atree.org

PhD research topic
Conservation on a contested coast: Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins and fisheries interactions in Tamil Nadu, India

Supervisor
Dr. Nitin Rai, Fellow, ATREE, Bangalore

Research interests
I am interested in the study of marine mammals and artisanal fisheries, especially the pragmatic issues associated with marine mammal-fisheries interactions. The issue of marine mammal-fisheries interactions overlap ecological and human processes as well as the social and political dimensions of conservation. Thus, I'm broadly interested in learning how biodiversity conservation is conceived and practiced.

For my PhD work, I focus on studying the Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins and artisanal fishing communities in Southern Tamil Nadu. My work draws on ecological studies of Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins, anthropology of artisanal fishing communities and political economy of conservation practice to explore how coastal environments become contested places due to the nexus of marine conservation and fisheries development efforts.

Education
B.Sc. in Microbiology (2006-2009)
M.Sc. in Marine Studies and Coastal Resource Management (2009-2011)
Institution: Madras Christian College

Peer reviewed publications
Muralidharan, R. (2013). Sightings and behavioral observations of Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphins Sousa chinensis (Osbeck, 1765) along Chennai coast, Bay of Bengal. Journal of Threatened Taxa 5(15): 5002–5006; http://dx.doi.org/10.11609/JoTT.o3454.5002-6

Book chapters
Sutaria D., Panicker D., Jog K., Sule M., Muralidharan R., Bopardikar I., (2015). Humpback Dolphins (Genus Sousa) in India: An Overview of Status and Conservation Issues. In: Thomas A. Jefferson and Barbara E. Curry, editors, Advances in Marine Biology, Vol. 72, Oxford: Academic Press, pp. 229-256.

Writings (blogs/magazines)
1. The days when dolphins were out in the sea (Link: https://goo.gl/ETGUSk | Chaikadai, August 2014]

2. Arriving At My Field Sites [Link: https://goo.gl/p258Kw | AYRN blog, September 2016]

3. மீனவர்களைத் துரத்திவிட்டு ஆமைகளைப் பாதுகாக்க முடியுமா?
(Link: https://goo.gl/eczGG9 | The Hindu Tamil, December 2016]

4. Chennai oil spill: Governing agencies trying to hide the problem rather than focussing on solutions [Link: https://goo.gl/a3S4LD | Firstpost, February 2017]

5. மீன்பிடி தொழில் பற்றி நமக்கு என்ன தெரியும்? [Link: https://goo.gl/e6wgYq | The Hindu Tamil, March 2017]

6. Living with humpback dolphins and fishers: A photo story [Link: https://goo.gl/t3NqYV | AYRN blog, March 2017]

7. What the 45-Day Annual Fishing Ban in Tamil Nadu Means for Fisheries Conservation [Link: https://goo.gl/R8mXD3 | The Wire, April 2017]

8. Open Letter: Why Is Tamil Nadu Neglecting Its Artisanal Fishers? [Link: https://goo.gl/ydDX13 | The Wire, July 2017]

Awards
Global Fellowships in Marine Conservation (2014) at Duke University Marine Lab, Beaufort, NC, USA

Grants awarded
Small grants in aid of research (2014), Society for Marine Mammology, USA | Project title: Assessing the presence and movements of Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins (Sousa chinensis) in the south-east coast of India

Mini-Grants in Marine Conservation (2016), Duke University Marine Lab, USA | Project title: Exploring data-collection methods for cetacean stranding in Chennai coast, Tamil Nadu, India

Rufford Small Grants for Nature Conservation (2016), The Rufford Foundation, UK | Project title: Conservation on a contested coast: Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins and fisheries interactions in Tamil Nadu, India.