Marine team


Vardhan Patankar, PhD
Programme Head

Vardhan has been associated with WCS-India since 2015 as a DST INSPIRE Faculty Fellow. He holds Master's in marine sciences and PhD in coral reef ecology and local community resource utilisation patterns. Over the past few years, he has worked (alongside colleagues) on a range of basic and applied studies in marine systems. This includes socio-ecological resilience, illegal marine trade, marine protected areas, interactions between dugongs & sea-grass meadows, dolphins and coconut crabs. He has strong interests in coral reef ecology, socio-ecological resilience, reef fish communities, community dynamics of the marine ecosystem and conservation of marine systems. In his current profile, he gives strategic direction to different projects of the marine program by working with a network of individuals as well as national and international organisations. To know more about his work, please visit:




Avik Banerjee 

Having joined WCS-India in 2019, Avik is currently a Project Associate with our Marine Conservation Program. A post-graduate in Wildlife Biology and Conservation (NCBS, 2016), he has worked on various marine conservation and ecology projects across India. He is responsible for the implementation of all Marine Protected Area activities within the Program, and is also interested in the conservation of marine mammal species in India.


Deepika Sharma 

Deepika has been a Project Assistant with the Marine Program since January 2020. She received MA in Environment and Development from Ambedkar University Delhi in 2018. After completing her master’s, she worked on socio-economic research projects on Marine Protected Areas and tourism in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. She is inclined to work on marine conservation policies and developing action-research projects in conservation using interdisciplinary research methods. In her current role she assists the team in implementing activities under various projects of the Program.


Eswar Narayana, PhD

Dr. Eswar Narayana has been working as a Project Associate with Marine Programme, Sharks and Rays project since April 2021.  Dr. Eswar Narayana holds a master’s degree in Microbiology. Having an interest in wildlife, he opted for wildlife conservation as a full-time career and has been working in the conservation field for over a decade. Dr. Eswar Narayana obtained his Doctoral Degree from Acharya Nagarjuna University in 2020, his doctoral research focused on the Conservation and Management of Fishing Cats and Indian Smooth-coated Otters in Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary (Godavari Mangroves).’ He has completed “Course on Conservation Biology and Wildlife Management”, conducted by Smithsonian University, and Amaravati University. He is a member of the IUCN /Species Survival Commission Otter Specialist Group. He worked with the Andhra Pradesh Forest department as a researcher in Project Tiger, Nagarjunasagar Srisailam Tiger Reserve, Gundla Brahmeshwaram Wildlife Sanctuary, and Rollapadu Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary. He was also instrumental in Whale Shark conservation programme in Andhra Pradesh which he feels proud of being part in decreasing the stranding’s of Whales Sharks in East Godavari, East Coast of Andhra Pradesh. Dr. Eswar Narayana has worked with United Nations as United Nations Volunteer and  as a Conservation Biologist in United Nations Development Program(UNDP)- Global Environment Facility (GEF)-Government of India (GoI) Godavari Project. He has been involved in conducting field surveys, training programmes to frontline field staff of the Forest department. Dr. Eswar Narayana has been working on the conservation of threatened species which includes Fishing Cats, Indian Smooth-coated Otters, whale sharks, king cobras, sharks and rays; conservation of mangroves, great knots, Indian skimmers and other migratory birds, their habitats and worked on human-animal conflicts in Andhra Pradesh before joining this programme.  


Karan Deshpande

Karan has been associated with WCS-India since August 2019. He works as a Project Assistant with the Marine Program. Having completed his post-graduation in Oceanography, he aspires to work as a marine biologist within the broad spectrum of conservation sciences. He has worked on several research projects including Marine Protected Areas, coral reefs, elasmobranchs and protected marine invertebrates. Within the Marine Program of WCS-India, he is involved in implementing activities under various projects of the Program. In particular, he will be involved in  assisting a project that assesses the impact of diving on coral reefs in the Lakshadweep islands.


Nupur Kale

Nupur has been working as a Project Associate with the Marine Program since January 2020. Since completing her M.Sc. in Conservation Biology from DICE, University of Kent in 2012, she has worked on several 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 working with communities to ensure effective conservation and sustainable livelihoods. In her current profile, she is leading a project that assesses the impact of diving on coral reefs in the Lakshadweep islands.


Sharang P

Sharang P is a Project Assistant-Sharks and Rays in the Marine Conservation Program. Sharang holds a master’s degree in Ecology and Environmental Science from Pondicherry University, He has worked on various marine conservation and fisheries projects across India including ghost gear, elasmobranchs and fisheries performance indicators. 
In his current role, he will be assisting sharks and rays program to strengthen their management and address overfishing.


Trisha Ghose

Trisha is the Project Manager in Marine Programme. Trisha is an avid lover of wildlife, forests and our marine ecosystems, who has spent close to a decade working on conservation issues in India. During this period, she has worked on a myriad of subjects including human-wildlife conflict, poaching and illegal trafficking, habitat loss and fragmentation, conservation awareness generation, and support to forest fringe communities.
Trisha's passion lies in bringing to the forefront conservation issues that are often overlooked, particularly protection of our lesser-known wild species and natural habitats. Her career has included working with some of India's premier conservation organizations, including WWF-India and the Wildlife Protection Society of India. Her most recent role was as Project Director at The Habitats Trust, a non-profit organisation working towards protecting natural habitats and their indigenous species of flora and fauna, where she built the Trust's mandate for conservation of lesser-knowns and learnt about the plight of our vibrant marine ecosystems and the urgent need to conserve them. 






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