Rahul Muralidharan

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Rahul Muralidharan
PhD Candidate
Real name: 

My thesis broadly examines the discursive and material implications of conservation practice in marine spaces and its outcomes on people and wildlife. My research draws upon the framework of political economy/ecology of conservation practice and fisheries. The motivation behind this study is that the artisanal fishers are framed as a threat to wildlife and conservation in general due to population growth, unsustainable fishing practice and degradation of the ecosystem as a result of poverty. Such discursive framing of artisanal fisheries has clear material implications on the day to day lives of the people. My thesis takes a position that the artisanal fisheries are located within the larger political economy of conservation, development and security of the state. I conducted fieldwork in the Palk Bay and Gulf of Mannar areas, adjoining Ramanathapuram District of Tamil Nadu in India. 


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. https://doi.org/10.11609/JoTT.o3454.5002-6

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

Muralidharan, R. and Ramesh, M. (2017). Marine protected areas in India: Protection for whom? In: Occupation of the Coast: Blue Economy in India. Programme for Social Action, New Delhi. 102-104. https://goo.gl/8YdaxL

Muralidharan, R. (2018). Entangled lives of dolphins and fishers. Seminar (Vol. 702, pp. 62-65). https://goo.gl/xJ3hdd

Selected popular writing

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

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

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

Why eating seafood responsibly is a not a solution to the fisheries crisis [Link: https://goo.gl/v835Yp | The News Minute, December 2017]


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

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.