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Project COASTAL 2.0 - A Mission to Protect Konkan's Coastal Biodiversity

The Project COASTAL 2.0 is to study the flora and fauna of the Konkan coast, creeks and mangroves, and social use of natural resources in coastal towns and villages. 

The Konkan region, a narrow coastal strip along the western shores of Maharashtra, India, is an ecological paradise teeming with marine life. From pristine beaches to mangrove forests, rocky shores to coral reefs, this region boasts a rich tapestry of habitats that support a myriad of species, including dolphins, sea turtles, fish, and shellfish. However, this natural bounty faces grave threats from overfishing, pollution, coastal development, and unsustainable tourism practices. Recognizing the urgency to safeguard this vital ecosystem, a pioneering project has been launched to conserve Konkan's marine biodiversity and promote sustainable coastal tourism.

The project involves a multidisciplinary approach, engaging local stakeholders, such as fishermen, NGOs, and government agencies, to gather insights and develop practical solutions. Case studies of existing ecotourism projects will help to develop policy guidelines and codes of conduct for tourists, operators, and coastal communities. 

Furthermore, this study will compare finding of current study with 1997 study conducted Shri Prakash Gole, founder of Ecological Society. Coastal 2.0 study is conducted along the principle of earlier "Coastal Survey 1.0" done by Prakash Gole. This will help to identify new threats and challenges and establish change in Konkan. We propose to identify ecologically sensitive areas and make recommendations for sustainable tourism and natural resource management in these areas.

Findings of the project could be invaluable for policymakers, government agencies, and local communities while formulating effective strategies for the sustainable use of marine resources in the Konkan region. The project aims to pave the way for a future where Konkan's marine biodiversity thrives, and coastal communities prosper through sustainable practices.

PROJECT TEAM

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Project Coordinator: Sayali Nerurkar

Pen profile: I am Sayali Nerurkar, a dedicated marine biologist and conservationist with over 11+ years of experience in taxonomy, coastal ecosystem management, and sustainable coastal tourism. My expertise lies in field surveys, data analysis, project execution, and community engagement. I have published 12 research papers and described two new species, showcasing my commitment to advancing scientific knowledge. With strong leadership, problem-solving, and stakeholder management skills, I excel in planning and executing field-based conservation and educational projects. I am proficient in molecular taxonomy, DNA barcoding techniques, and socio-economic evaluations of marine ecosystems. My passion for preserving marine ecosystems drives me to conduct impactful research and initiatives, promoting sustainable practices while engaging local communities.

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Field Assistance: Yogita Shere

Pen Profile: I am a motivated and detail-oriented individual passionate about sustainable Aquaculture practices, Environmental conservation and Women empowerment. I have completed my bachelor degree in fisheries science and Master's in Environment Science. I'm currently working as a field assistant for the Ecological Society for conducting biodiversity surveys by visiting Sandy and Rocky shores and socioeconomic surveys in coastal Konkan.

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Field Assistance: Chinmay Sonawane

Pen Profile: I'm Chinmay, an avid explorer with a deep passion for the tiny wonders of marine biology. My journey began with a Bachelor's degree in Zoology, followed by a Master's in Biodiversity. You'll often find me outdoors, camera in hand, on the hunt for these fascinating creatures. From the intertidal zones to the depths of the forest, I thrive on uncovering the hidden gems of nature. My interests span far and wide, from taxonomy and identification to the evolution and life history of animals. In addition to my explorations, I'm currently actively involved in fieldwork, research, and educational outreach initiatives as a field assistant for the Ecological Society. Sharing my passion with others and contributing to conservation efforts are integral parts of my mission.

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Field Assistance: Sonali Desai

Pen Profile: I am Sonali Desai. I'm currently working as a field assistant for the Ecological Society. I have completed a Bachelor's degree in Zoology, followed by a Master's degree in Oceanography. As I have teaching experience in zoological branches, I refined my knowledge and experience from basics of life journey to exploring nature's creatures. I am very curious about the wonders of life from the intertidal zone to the depth of the ocean. I am passionate about studying and researching marine biodiversity. 

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Field Assistance: Nikita Gilbile

Pen Profile: I am Nikita Gilbile. I'm a passionate marine biologist and a curious researcher with a heart of adventure. I'm currently working as a field assistant for the Ecological Society. In this role, I do biodiversity surveys by visiting Sandy and Rocky shores. I'm also conducting socioeconomic surveys through the interview carried out with the help of local fishermen and businessmen. I have completed my bachelor's degree in Zoology and have a master's degree in Marine Biology, with a specific interest in Marine Fungi.

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