Marine team

AARON SAVIO LOBO 
Senior Advisor 

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. 


 

ANANT PANDE 
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.  


 

AVIK BANERJEE 
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. 


 

DEEPIKA SHARMA 
Project Assistant 

Deepika holds an MA in Environment and Development from Ambedkar University Delhi. She has worked on socio-economic research on Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and tourism in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands from 2018-19. Her interest concerns in developing collaborative conservation action- research projects using interdisciplinary research methods. 

Deepika has been a Project Assistant with the Marine Program since January 2020. In her role, she assists the team in implementing activities under various projects of the Program including MPAs, Sharks and Rays conservation and mitigation of bycatch. 


 

ESWAR SATYANARAYANA 
Project Associate  

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.  


 

KARAN DESHPANDE
Project Associate 

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. 


 

NUPUR KALE 
Project Coordinator - Area-based Management & Coral Reefs 

After completing her M.Sc. in Conservation Biology from the University of Kent (2012), Nupur has mainly worked on sea turtle research projects across India in Odisha, Maharashtra and the Lakshadweep islands, as well as for short periods in Sri Lanka and Costa Rica. Her main research interests are sea turtle biology and conservation, and by extension all things marine. She is also interested in testing conservation strategy efficacy and working with communities to find an effective convergence of ecosystem and species conservation and sustainable livelihoods. 

Nupur has been working as a Project Associate with the WCS-India Marine Program since January 2020. She primarily works on a project that assesses the impact of dive tourism on coral reef health and measures the extent of marine debris in the Lakshadweep islands. Additionally, she assists on other projects of the Marine Program such as MPAs and mitigating marine megafauna bycatch.  


 

PHALGUNI RANJAN 
Project Associate 

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. 


 

SHARANG P 
Project Assistant 

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.  


 

TRISHA GHOSE 
Program Manager 

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. 


 

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