AARON SAVIO LOBO
Aaron is a marine conservation scientist working at the interface of conservation and development. He completed his PhD from the University of Cambridge and has since managed a number of projects in range of countries in Asia and West Africa. The overarching focus of his work has largely been to understand the ecological and social costs of seafood production systems and to provide evidence-based recommendations to Governments, NGO´s, private clients and grassroots organizations. To this effect he has worked on understanding the effects tropical trawl fisheries on ecosystems and livelihoods, developing participatory models for MPA management, setting up monitoring programs for small-scale fisheries and mainstreaming Nature-based Solutions into urban planning. He is a member to the IUCN SSC Marine Conservation Committee and a co-chair is the IUCN SSC Sea snake specialist group.
His role will be to strengthen the WCS-India Marine Program by providing strategic technical advice to the team, while supporting the development of partnerships in the region.
Marine Megafauna - Program Head
Anant has a PhD in Wildlife Science from Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun. His doctoral research focused on understanding breeding patterns and genetic connectivity between distant breeding populations of climate-dependent Antarctic seabirds. He has previously worked upon a multitude of marine taxa including Antarctic krill, dugongs, pelagic seabirds and baleen whales. He also served as a key team member in developing the National Biodiversity Targets, revision of National Biodiversity Action Plan and reviewing Marine Protected Area network in India.
Anant joined the WCS-India Marine Program in November 2021 and will work to develop strategies to quantify and mitigate marine megafauna bycatch along selected sectors of Indian coastline.
Project Coordinator - Sharks and Rays
Alissa holds a Masters's degree in Wildlife Biology and has been working to understand elasmobranch fisheries since 2015. A lot of her initial work focussed on gathering baseline information about the fishery across multiple states along the west coast and understanding the drivers behind the fisheries. Other than sharks and rays, she has also briefly worked on the ecology of Olive ridley turtles and worked as a programme co-ordinator with the master's program in Wildlife Biology and Conservation at NCBS.
At WCS-India, she will be co-leading the sharks and rays program. She will help in planning and implementing projects in the S & R program through a multi-stakeholder collaborative lens.
Project Coordinator - Sharks and Rays
After pursuing a Master's degree in Wildlife Biology and Conservation from NCBS - WCS-India, Avik focused his career working on different marine species like dolphins, octopuses and turtles. He joined the WCS-India Marine Program in 2019 as part of the Marine Protected Area (MPA) project.
Over his first two years with WCS-India, Avik assisted the marine team in their endeavours to catalyse the notification of Angria Bank as an MPA. Currently, in addition to assisting with fundraising, donor reporting, social media and other general activities across the program, his role involves aiding efforts towards mitigating megafaunal bycatch with specific focus on dolphins, dugongs and sea turtles.
Eswar holds a Master’s degree in Microbiology and obtained his Doctoral Degree from Acharya Nagarjuna University in Environmental Sciences in 2020. He is a member of the IUCN Species Survival Commission Otter Specialist Group. In the past, he has worked with Andhra Pradesh Forest Department, volunteered with the UN, and worked as a Conservation Biologist under the UNDP- GEF- GoI Godavari Project.
Eswar joined the WCS-India Marine Programme under the Sharks and Rays Program in April 2021. In his role, he is responsible for conducting field work related to shark and rays, data entry and analysis, and development and preparation of reports. His role also includes providing inputs towards the implementation of project related activities, and developing and sustaining alliances with relevant stakeholders such as local communities, NGOs, State and Central Government agencies, and other relevant institutions.
Harshada holds a Master's Degree in Environmental Science from Fergusson College, Pune. She has worked as an Intern at Mangrove Foundation of Maharashtra on the topic 'Causes of mortality in marine mammals’. For her post-graduation thesis, she worked on ' Marine Protected Areas in India & Community Perception'.
Harshada Joined the WCS- India Marine Team in October 2022 under Marine Megafauna Program. In her current role, she assists the implementation of tools & methodologies to support marine megafauna conservation, including bycatch reduction and community awareness programs.
Karan completed his Masters in Zoology from Mumbai University. As a student, he interned under projects that involved - collecting data on elasmobranchs from fish landing centres in Mumbai and coral reef monitoring surveys in Wandoor, South Andaman. For his post-graduation thesis, he assessed the distribution of protected marine invertebrates in the shallow reef habitats of Wandoor, South Andaman.
Karan is a Project Associate with the Marine Program and has been with WCS-India since August 2019. His primary work is on understanding the impact of dive tourism activities on the health of coral reefs in Lakshadweep Islands. He also collaborates with the Counter Wildlife Trafficking Program on projects involving illegal trade of marine species in India.
Lavina pursued her Master's in Marine Science, and her thesis on micro-plastic density in coastal habitats has made her curious in understanding different kinds of pollutants. Lavina focused her career on understanding Human-wildlife interaction by working with Leopard, invasive Lantana camara, and Cetaceans. Previously, she worked on understanding life history traits and socio-economic drivers of ray fisheries in India.
Lavina joined WCS- India Marine program under the Sharks and Ray program in February 2023 and is responsible for conducting field work at Ratnagiri to strengthen the management of Sharks and Rays by collecting data, analysis and providing inputs towards implementation of project activities, developing and sustaining alliances with relevant stakeholders.
Phalguni is a science and conservation communicator with a background in marine biology. She aims to simplify science to make it more relatable for people through creative means - using writing, visual storytelling, and art as tools for awareness and outreach. She has previously worked on research projects in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep, and as a communicator (community-based conservation, outreach, grants) in the wildscapes of Karnataka, India. When not working, she enjoys writing, and creating art that is inspired by and centred around nature and wildlife.
Phalguni joined the WCS-India Marine Program as a Project Associate in November 2021. She is part of the efforts to create a comprehensive virtual repository of India's rich and diverse marine life, and related resources.
PRADIP N CHOGALE
Project Associate Marine Megafauna
Pradip's initial curiosity about the ocean and fisheries now turned into a research career in this same field. After completing a Master's degree in Zoology with a specialization in Oceanography & Fishery science from The Institute of Science, Mumbai he worked on several research projects. Which includes the Waste audit report for Sassoon dock, Mumbai Trans Harbour Sea-Link Project, Community-based conservation of Olive Ridley turtles in Ratnagiri district, Assessment of marine mammals in Indian EEZ, and Assessment of bycatch of marine mammals & Sea turtles for their protection. Marine mammals behavior study, Sea turtles fisheries interaction, Bycatch mitigation, and pelagic birds diversity are Pradip's key interest research areas.
At WCS-India, Pradip is working as a Project Associate – Marine Megafauna. In his role, he works to Conduct field surveys to identify areas of conservation concerning marine megafauna, assess bycatch, and facilitate collaborative on-ground actions for WCS-India. Implementation of new tools and scientific methods for marine megafauna conservation as well as Building a baseline network for marine megafauna conservation network along Maharashtra, Goa & Karnataka. As well as Communicate and facilitate the uptake of bycatch reduction strategies by fishing communities and government agencies. This includes building these groups' capacity to improve compliance with bycatch regulations.
Project Associate - MPAs and Coral Reefs
Sharad graduated with a Master's degree in Marine Biology from Pondicherry University, India, with specialization in microbiology and molecular biology for his dissertation. Further, he also holds a post-graduate diploma in Remote Sensing and GIS.
For the past five years, he has been engaged with different government research institutes working towards understanding the tropical coastal habitats and it marine living resources along the Indian coast. Post his diploma in 2019, he has had the opportunity to utilize geospatial tools to study spatial ecology of seagrass, mangroves and Dugongs across various locations.
He joined WCS-India in November 2022 and looks forward to incorporating geospatial and ecological concepts to develop science and data-backed strategies for management practices of Marine Protected Areas along the west coast of India. Further, he will also be engaged in understanding the impact of dive tourism on the coral reefs of Netrani and Grande Islands on the west coast.
Sharang holds a Master’s degree in Ecology and Environmental Science from Pondicherry University. He has worked on various marine conservation and fisheries subjects across India including socio-economic aspects of ghost gear mitigation, elasmobranchs fishery and fisheries economics.
Sharang join the WCS-India Marine Team in October 2020 under the Sharks and Rays Program. In his role, he works to strengthen management of sharks and rays in India and address overfishing. Currently, he is assessing biological, fisheries and conservation aspects of elasmobranchs in Kerala.
Project Assistant - Marine Megafauna
Surya completed his Master’s in Marine Biology and Oceanography from Annamalai University. During his degree, he interned at the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust collecting radiotelemetry data on the Mugger crocodiles of the River Cauvery. He also worked on various subjects of fisheries with his peers at Parangipettai, Tamil Nadu.
Trisha holds a Bachelors’ of Science in Economics and Management from the University of London, and has been working in the field of wildlife and habitat conservation since 2011. Through her career she has worked on a myriad of subjects including human-wildlife conflict, poaching and illegal trafficking, habitat loss and fragmentation, conservation awareness generation, support to forest fringe communities and most recently, marine conservation. Prior to joining WCS-India, she worked as Project Director at The Habitats Trust where she built the Trust's mandate for conservation of lesser-known habitats and species, and led their programs and efforts towards that goal.
Trisha joined the WCS-India Marine Program in August 2021. In her role, she manages various activities related to the program, assists in strategy development, monitoring and evaluation, manages deliverables that fall under various projects, liaises with donors, and works on outreach, communication and fundraising for the program.
Zamin holds a Bachelors of Science in Marine Biology from Dalhousie University. He has worked with Marine Mammals, scientific communication and raising awareness of the ocean amongst children. He has worked with tracking Humpback Whale distribution in the Bay of Fundy and content creation for an environmental non-profit.
Zamin joined the WCS-India Marine Team in October 2022 under the Marine Conservation Program. In his role, he will be making a virtual museum and website for the marine species, marine systems and policies of India.