Marine Biologist, CWS and NCBS
Vardhan Patankar pursues reef-related research with a critical eye and a fine-tuned appreciation for weirdness. For the past few years, Vardhan has worked (alongside colleagues) on a range of basic and applied studies in marine systems. These include studies on understanding the role of local institutions in governing resource use, socio-ecological resilience, illegal marine trade, dolphins, interactions between dugongs and sea-grass meadows, amongst others.
Currently, he is a DST-INSPIRE Faculty Fellow with the Centre for Wildlife Studies (CWS) and National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) and working towards incorporating reef resilience principles into current management of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Talk title: Confronting the coral reef crisis – the need for a sea of change
Vardhan Patankar and Naveen Namboothri
The year 2016 was disastrous for coral reefs across the tropics. It was no different in the Andaman Islands. Within a few weeks of the El Niño, which raised sea surface temperatures globally, we witnessed the pale face of death that threatened to wipe out the thriving and productive reefs of the Andaman Islands. By the end of the summer of 2016, bleaching surveys were complete and to our dismay most of the reefs were dead. Disappointed, we returned to the mainland to report the extent of bleaching and hoped that the reefs will recover. In 2017 post-monsoon, unlike other locations across the world, most sites showed a remarkable recovery.
In this talk, we will try and share our experiences from the field and explain the devastating effects of climate change induced large-scale bleaching events as witnessed first hand by us and how the reefs have been responding to such events. We hope this will set the context for the award-winning movie—Chasing the Corals and facilitate an interesting round of thought-provoking discussions.