Dr. Robert Sluka
Bob received his Ph.D. in marine biology from the University of Miami and has since led projects in the Caribbean Sea, Atlantic Ocean and Indian Ocean. He is currently a marine conservation consultant living in the UK. His research focuses on the application of ecological principles to the conservation and management of marine ecosystems, especially coral reefs. This includes fish habitat utilization, the effects of fishing on commercial fish species, cleaning symbiosis, design and monitoring of marine protected areas, and biodiversity studies. He spent seven years conducting research in India in collaboration with Indian NGOs.
Our collaboration: We have conducted several underwater surveys at Netrani Island in Karnatka and Grande Island in Goa with Dr. Sluka. We are also the monitors for census of Napolean Wrasse in Netrani in association with him. Dr. Sluka is the one person Venkat loves to hate diving with as more than once he has pointed out the error in what we believed to be a particular species of marine life !!!
Dr. Sujitha Thomas
Dr. Thomas is a Senior Scientist working in Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI), Indian Council of Agricultural Research, DARE, Govt. of India. A gold medalist from Cochin University of Science and Technology for her post graduation on Marine biology in 1991, was awarded Ph. D in Zoology from University of Calicut, Kerala. She joined CMFRI through the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research in 1996 and has been carrying out research for the past 15 years in marine sector specializing in molluscan fisheries, marine biodiversity and demersal fisheries. She has international exposure and has undergone trainings in Auburn University, Alabama, USA, St. Francis Xavier University, Nova Scotia, Canada and Wageningen University, The Netherlands. She has more than 25 publications in national and international journals in marine research to her credit.
Our Collaboration: Most of our underwater surveys for CMFRI have been under the supervision of Dr. Sujitha. In fact, she was the inspiration and support behind starting Coastal Impact as a result of several insightful discussions while travelling from and to survey sites.
Dr. Chandralata Raghukumar
Dr. Raghukumar is a marine biologist and presently an Emeritus Scientist at the National Institute of Oceanography, Goa, where she has worked as a Scientist from 1983 to 2006. In addition to her extensive work on coral and algal diseases, she has worked and published extensively on the use of microorganisms in bioremediation of pollution and deep-sea microorganisms and was the Leader of the Marine Biotechnology Group at NIO for several years. She has been involved in teaching various aspects of marine biology and has trained numerous postgraduate, as well as doctoral students. She has a keen interest in marine organisms, the marine ecosystem and conservation.
Our Collaboration: We have worked with Dr. Chandralata in the late 1990’s when a strange phenomenon occurred near Grande Island where the oxygen levels dropped and then a lot of the marine life died due to this. Luckily this turned out to be temporary. Water samples and sediment samples collected by us finally revealed the cause of this event. A quiet, unassuming person. Dr. Lata has a wicked sense of humour which only people close to her get to share !
Dr Seshagiri Raghukumar
Dr. Seshagiri is a marine biologist, who worked at the National Institute of Oceanography, Goa from 1982 till 2005. He served as the Leader of the Marine Biodiversity Group for several years during his tenure at NIO. Dr Raghukumar is an internationally acknowledged expert in marine microbiology and has a broad knowledge in marine biodiversity and a keen interest in the marine ecosystem. Dr Raghukumar has published numerous research papers in international and national journals, and has several patents in marine biotechnology. He is presently the Managing Director of the marine microbial biotechnology company, Myko Tech Pvt. Ltd. He continues to have an active interest in marine conservation and management and is a qualified open water scuba diver.
Our Collaboration: We worked with Dr. Raghukumar on the documenting of marine life by videography in Lakshadweep Islands in 1998 through the National Institute of Oceanography, Goa. Since then he has participated in several of our underwater clean ups and a wealth of knowledge for us to draw upon for all things marine. His enthusiasm for diving is very infectious !!
Puja is an eco activist currently living and working in Goa, India. She has an MSc in Biodiversity, Conservation & Management from the University of Oxford and is a Commonwealth Scholar (2008-09). An experienced professional with diverse skills, she is the Co-Founder of Terra Conscious, a conservation oriented social enterprise based in Goa, that works through a network of local eco conscious partners to promote ethical & sustainable wildlife & nature experiences and responsible tourism in Goa. In the past, she has worked as Senior Programme Coordinator for the World Wide Fund for Nature – India (WWF-India), managing the Goa State Marine Programme; as Campaign Manager with India’s apex national animal protection agency, the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO) running a successful campaign to prohibit the establishment of dolphinaria in India; She has also worked as a content writer with Phase One Events & Entertainment Pvt. Ltd developing communication collaterals for corporate companies such as Accenture, Titan, Dell, Airtel.
Our Collaboration: We are working with Puja to develop our communication campaigns, research project proposals and volunteer programme.
An avid scuba diver, Sudeep has participated in projects for Coastal Impact, including a January 2010 underwater mapping exercise for CMFRI off the coasts of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. He is a PADI-certified Rescue Diver and Wreck Diving Specialist. In his out-of-water avatar, Sudeep Chakravarti is a writer of fiction and narrative non-fiction, and has published several critically acclaimed bestsellers, including Tin Fish (Penguin, 2005), Red Sun: Travels in Naxalite Country (Viking/ Penguin, 2008) and The Avenue of Kings (HarperCollins, 2010). He is also an independent analyst of socio-political and security issues in South Asia; and columnist. He is a Professional Member of the World Future Society, Washington D.C. Sudeep was earlier with The Asian Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones & Company, and later held top positions at Sunday, India Today and Hindustan Times. He is now an Editor with India Today Group. He divides his time between New Delhi and the village of Moira, in Goa.
Our Collaboration: Sudeep has joined us on many of our survey trips , and helped to gather data, and contributed his knowledge and views to the project.
Currently Chairman, Administrator and Professor of Karnataka Post Graduate Centre in Karwar with 35 years of research experience, Dr. Naik has also published 53 books. His field of specialization include Marine Biology, Aquaculture, coastal ecology, biodiversity, mangroves and environmental issues. He is the main resource person for awareness programmes in the District for Environmental issues, aquaculture, biodiversity, CRZ management, mangroves for MPEDA, BFDA, District Administration, Karnataka State Pollution Control Board, EMPRI, CPR Environmental Education Centre, Forest Department and local NGOs. Nominated to the Executive committee of Karnataka Rajya Vijnana Parishattu; Honorary Advisor of Editorial Board of Balavijnana, a monthly Co-Editor Journal of Environment and Sociobiology Member, Editorial Advisory Board, Indian Journal of Environment and Ecoplanning Member of the committee to discuss issues connected with establishment of Ultra Mega Power Project at Tadri.
Our Collaboration: A testimony to the fact that there are more than 24 hours in a day, Dr. Naik, wears several hats and is an envious bundle of energy. He has and is working tirelessly with us to get Netrani Island declared a Marine Park, and we are beyond delighted to join him in this endeavour.