I’ve been fascinated by the ocean and its vast mysteries since I was a child and have always found excuses to be by the sea. From the first time I went diving, I knew that I wanted to spend my life understanding some of the ocean’s secrets and working towards its conservation. This led me to pursue a master’s in marine biology in Belgium. Soon after this, an internship on fisheries in the west coast of India exposed me to the real world of conservation, where its not just about saving marine organisms but also about the lives and livelihoods of the millions of people in coastal communities interacting with and dependent upon the ocean. My interests then shifted towards understanding some of these inter-disciplinary problems. While it can be challenging work, I do get to spend a lot of time in some beautiful areas of India’s coastline!
My research interests lie in exploring the impact of anthropogenic pressures on marine ecosystems. I’m currently working in the field of fisheries, which is a highly complex and multidimensional issue today, involving the health of the marine environment and the livelihoods of millions of people dependant on it. I would like to work towards finding solutions that balance both conservation goals and human well-being.
I am currently working on a number of sub-projects on fisheries bycatch. One component involves trash fish, which is the mix of undersized or non-commercial bycatch fish that is now being used as fishmeal for feed in the poultry and aquaculture industries. Trash fish is becoming increasingly important in Asian fisheries, and there is evidence of it partly driving the trawling industry. We are looking at its composition and trends in a fishing town in the west coast of India and understanding its supply chain and economics.
Our project is also studying the bycatch of sharks and rays in Indian fisheries. India is the 2nd largest harvester of elasmobranchs in the world, yet management of these vulnerable species is hindered by a lack of information on species landings and their ecology in Indian waters. We looked at the catches, biology and fishing behaviour of elasmobranch fisheries, and plan to further study the ecology of these species. We also aim to understand the economics of elasmobranch fisheries and strategies for bycatch reduction. For this I am collaborating with EJ Milner-Gulland, Hollie Booth and William Arlidge to work on applying the bycatch mitigation hierarchy to our case study in India.
2017 – Present: Research Assistant at Dakshin Foundation
2014 – 16: MSc in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation, Ghent University, Belgium
2011 – 14: BSc in Biology and Chemistry, Christ University, India
I’m supervised by Dr. EJ Milner-Gulland at Oxford, as well as by Dr. Kartik Shanker and Dr. Naveen Namboothri at Dakshin Foundation.
I am currently funded by a Duleep Matthai Nature Conservation Fellowship (DMNCT).
Gupta, T., Manuel, M., Muralidharan, M., Namboothri, N., Shanker, K. (2019). Conservation and livelihood Implications of trawler bycatch: towards improved management. Journal of Governance, 18, 55-63.
Rao, C., Muralidharan, M., Gupta, T., Dsouza, S., Shanker, K., & Namboothri, N. (2017). Effect of fishing practices on species assemblages of sea snakes off the Sindhudurg coast of Maharashtra, India. Technical report submitted to the Maharashtra Forest Department.
Gupta, T., Santos, C., Sotillo, A., De Neve, L., Stienen, E., Müller, W., & Lens, L. (2016). Nutritional Stress Causes Heterogeneous Relationships with Multi-Trait FA in Lesser Black-Backed Gull Chicks: An Aviary Experiment. Symmetry, 8(11), 133.
Presented at SCCS – Bangalore 2018