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. 


 

ABHISHEK MEDHI
Project Associate

Abhishek completed his Master’s degree in Marine Biology from Pondicherry University. For his Master’s thesis, he worked on the taxonomy and biometric of Spotted sardines from the Andaman & Nicobar Islands. He has previously worked on the long-term ecological monitoring of the Eastern seascape of Mumbai and formulated a conservation blueprint for the Sewri- Nhava seascape at Bombay Natural History Society. He worked as an intern on the Application of molecular tools in Wildlife conservation at Aaranyak. He has also interned at IIT Guwahati on molecular and microbiology laboratory techniques.


 

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.  


 

ALISSA BARNES
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. 


 

AVIK BANERJEE 
Project Manager - 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. Following that, and after a short stint at our Megafaunal Bycatch team, he moved on to managing our Sharks and Rays efforts. Currently, in addition to assisting with fundraising, donor reporting, social media and other general activities across the program, he is responsible for implementing work towards curbing the decline of elasmobranchs in India.


 

CHRISTINA DE SOUZA 
Programme Coordinator

Christina holds an M.Sc. in Microbiology from Goa University and an Erasmus Mundus Joint European Master’s degree in Water and Coastal Management. She has previously worked in the coastal and marine domain on Goa’s coastal ecology and marine resources as a Junior Research Fellow at Goa University and later as an Associate Fellow at The Energy and Resources Institute.

She joined WCS-India in August 2023 as the Programme Co-ordinator for the Marine Programme.


 

DYLAN DSOUZA
Project Assistant

Dylan is a Project Assistant on the MPA and Coral Reefs projects. He has completed a BA in Sociology from St. Xavier's College (Autonomous), Mumbai. He has worked previously as a Divemaster in Goa, the Soochna Evum Rozgar Adhikar (S.R.) Abhiyan to advocate for and implement accountability and transparency reforms in the Rajasthan state government. 


 

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.  


 

HARSHADA SABLE
Project Assistant

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 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. 


 

LAVINA
Project Assistant

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 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. 


 

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.


 

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.  


 

SHEFALI GIRISH
Project Assistant

Shefali is a Project Assistant in the Marine Program at WCS-India, with a background in law from Christ University, Bangalore. Her work at WCS-India revolves around conducting research for potential Area based Management sites and tracking policy developments in the marine sustainability field.
Her prior experience was as a research associate at Aapti Institute where she mainly explored how responsible data sharing can help rebalance power in the data economy through the paradigm of data stewardship. She has also previously worked as a legal trainee at Navi, tech company with fintech lending partners and interned in various IP firms such as BananaIP, K&S Partners and Invntree. At WCS, she seeks to explore the confluence of conservation with communities and work towards strengthening such efforts.


 

SHUBHAM MANDAVGANE
Project Assistant

Shubham is a Project Assistant in the Marine Program at WCS-India from May 2023, with a background in graphic design and wildlife conservation from Bharati Vidyapeeth University, Pune. His work at WCS-India revolves around conducting research for potential Area-based Management in Maharashtra.

He has worked as an intern with the Wildlife Trust of India in Sarus crane Conservation Project, where he focused on community-based conservation efforts of Saras Crane and Wetlands In Eastern Uttar Pradesh. He has also worked with the Mangrove Foundation in the tagging program of Olive Ridley Sea Turtles in Maharashtra. He is also interested in illustration and photography of nature and wildlife.


 

SHYAMA KURIAKOSE

Shyama is the Workstream Lead – Area-based Management & Policy in Marine Programme. She has 11 years of experience in working on enviro-legal subjects ranging from marine, coastal and forest conservation, biodiversity and climate change to issues of urban environmental governance from the lens of gender justice and human rights. She holds an undergraduate degree in law from the National University of Advanced Legal Studies, Kochi and a Master’s from National Academy of Legal Studies and Research, Hyderabad. Prior to  becoming a part of the Marine Program, she worked at WCS-India as the legal head in the Counter Wildlife Trafficking Program for almost two years. Before that, she worked as a legal consultant with Vidhi Center for Legal Policy, New Delhi; Enviro Legal Defence Firm (ELDF), New Delhi; and independently as well. In the course of her career she has carried out law and policy drafting, researched on laws, policies and judgements, worked on enviro-legal compliance, as well as conducted training and capacity building exercises. She also writes regularly on natural resource management laws in newspapers and online news portals.


 

SURYA R
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.


 

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