Nachiket Kelkar


PhD Student, ATREE

Research interests

My main interests are linked to interdisciplinary research on understanding dynamic socio-ecological systems, especially in relation to conservation of freshwater and marine biodiversity across India. I have been studying endangered Ganges River dolphins in the lower Gangetic floodplains in the state of Bihar in India. I have been working with the Vikramshila Biodiversity Research and Education Centre, Bhagalpur on river dolphins and other freshwater species in the Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary region here. The Sanctuary is a stretch of the Ganga River in a complex, dynamic and contested floodplain riverscape, where human livelihoods and freshwater conservation needs strongly overlap. We work closely with local fishing communities in this area, involving them actively in the process of river conservation.

Along with my work on river dolphins and fisheries in Bihar, I have also been working in the Lakshadweep Archipelago(India), on green turtles, fish diversity, seagrass meadows and coral reefs the Lakshadweep Islands, with the Oceans and Coasts Program of the Nature Conservation Foundation, Mysore, India.

I am currently doing my PhD research at the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, Bangalore, India. In addition, I help in and partly work on projects about riverine and marine fisheries, moths, plants, dugongs, freshwater fishes, grasslands, waterbirds, otters, bats and their biology and conservation. Other academic interests include population and community ecology, landscape ecology,geology and geography, environmental history, anthropology and the application of Bayesian statistical methods in ecological research.


M.Sc. in Wildlife Biology and Conservation from Centre for Wildlife Studies, WCS-India Program, National Centre for Biological Sciences-TIFR. Degree awarded by Manipal University in 2008.

Selected publications (* as corresp. author)

Kelkar, N*., and Krishnaswamy, J. 2013. Restoring the Ganga for its fauna and fisheries.Book chapter, in: Madhusudan, M.D., Rangarajan, M., and Shahabuddin, G. (eds.) Nature Without Borders. In Press.

Lal Mohan, R.S., and Kelkar, N*. 2013. Ganges River Dolphin. Book chapter, in: Johnsingh, A.J.T., and Manjrekar, N. (eds.) Mammals of South Asia – Vol. II. University Press (India) Pvt. Ltd. In Press.

Arthur, R., Kelkar, N., Alcoverro, T., and Madhusudan, M.D. 2013. Complex ecological pathways underlie perceptions of conflict between green turtles and fishers in the Lakshadweep Islands.Biological Conservation,167,25-34. doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2013.07.014.

Kelkar, N*., Arthur, R., Marba, N., and Alcoverro, T. 2013. Greener pastures? High-density feeding aggregations of green turtles precipitate species shifts in seagrass meadows. Journal of Ecology. doi: 10.1111/1365-2745.12122.

Kelkar, N*., Arthur, R., Marba, N., and Alcoverro, T. 2013. Green turtle herbivory dominates the fate of seagrass primary production in the Lakshadweep Islands (Indian Ocean). Marine Ecology Progress Series, 485, 235-243.

Abraham, R.K. and Kelkar, N*. 2012. Do terrestrial Protected Areas conserve freshwater fish diversity? Results from the southern Western Ghats of India. Oryx, 46, 544-553.

Choudhary, S., Dey, S., Dey, S., Sagar, V., Nair, T. and Kelkar, N*. 2012. River dolphin distribution in regulated river systems: implications for dry-season flow regimes in the Gangetic basin. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, 22, 11-25.

Abraham, R.K., Kelkar, N*., and Bijukumar, A. 2011. Reply to “Need for further research on the freshwater fish fauna of the Ashambu Hills landscape: a response to Abraham et al.”. Journal of Threatened Taxa 3(5): 1792-1797.

Abraham, R.K., Kelkar, N*., and Bijukumar, A. 2011. A checklist of freshwater fishes from the Agasthyamalai range, Kerala, India, with a note on species’ range extensions. Journal of Threatened Taxa 3(3): 1585-1593.

Kelkar, N*., Krishnaswamy, J. 2010. Keeping Rivers Alive. Seminar, 613, 29-34.

Kelkar, N*., Krishnaswamy, J., Choudhary, S. and Sutaria, D. 2010. Coexistence of fisheries with river dolphin conservation. Conservation Biology 24(4): 1130-1140.