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Rajeev Raghavan

I am interested in interdisciplinary research on issues related to natural resource management. Much of my previous as well as current work focuses on resource use and its links to conservation and local livelihoods in the aquatic ecosystems of Western Ghats Biodiversity Hotspot in South India. With my broad academic and research background in fisheries science/aquaculture (Mahatma Gandhi University-India; University of Madras-India; Institute of Hydrobiology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences- P. R. China) and conservation biology (Durrell Institute of Conservation & Ecology, University of Kent –UK), I am also interested in addressing research questions related to small scale fisheries governance and sustainable aquaculture.

Current Research
Freshwater fish are intricately linked to the livelihoods of local communities in the Western Ghats Hotspot providing a range of benefits including a source of food for the local population and income for the fishers and market traders in the region. Freshwater fisheries in this region are however under increasing pressure due to dwindling populations of important harvested species coupled with poor governance and institutional support. The growing concerns over actual and/or potential depletion of many species, and the social and economic hardships that will befall upon people in such resource-dependent communities makes conservation and management of small scale artisanal fisheries an urgent priority. However, the data-sparse nature of such fisheries has meant that their management is an ultimate challenge.
I use a combination of biological, socio-economic, ethno-ecological and management methods, to improve the understanding of freshwater fish species, corresponding small scale fisheries and their role in the livelihood portfolio of local communities in the Western Ghats, with an aim to develop policy recommendations for conservation and management.

Donors and Collaborators
My research in the Western Ghats has been funded by international agencies and organizations like Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF), North of England Zoological Society/Chester Zoo (UK), Rufford Foundation (UK), Endangered Species International (USA), National Science Foundation (USA) and the Columbus Zoo (USA).  In addition, I am also involved in projects funded by the Chelonian Research Foundation (USA) and the Oriental Bird Club (UK) as a co-investigator. I also collaborate with a number of national and international organizations, research institutes and universities including the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and Environment (ATREE, India), IUCN-Freshwater Biodiversity Program (Cambridge, UK), New England Aquarium (Boston, USA), Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (Kent, UK), Institute of Sufficiency Economy Research and Promotion at Chiang Mai University (Thailand) and the Department of Zoology at the University of Kerala (India) in research and policy issues relevant to biodiversity conservation and sustainable use. 

Complete List of Publications

Selected Recent Publications
K. Krishnakumar, R. Raghavan, G. Prasad, A. Bijukumar, M. Sekharan, B. Pereira & A. Ali. 2009 When pets become pests: exotic aquarium fishes and biological invasions in Kerala, India Current Science 97(4): 474-476

R. Raghavan, G. Prasad, A. Ali, B. Pereira & L. Sujarittanonta 2009 Damsel in distress – the tale of Miss Kerala, Puntius denisonii (Day) an endemic and endangered cyprinid of Western Ghats biodiversity hotspot, India Aquatic Conservation – Marine and Freshwater ecosystems 19(1): 67-74

R. Raghavan, G. Prasad, A. Ali & B. Pereira 2008 Fish fauna of River Chalakudy part of Western Ghats biodiversity hotspot (South India) – patterns of distribution, threats and conservation needs Biodiversity and Conservation 17: 3119- 3131

R. Raghavan, G. Prasad, A. Ali & B. Pereira 2008 Exotic fishes in a global biodiversity hotspot- a case study from River Chalakudy, part of Western Ghats, Kerala, India Biological Invasion 10 (1): 37-40

M. Tlusty, S. Dowd & R. Raghavan 2008 Saving forests through the fisheries – ornamental fishes as a route to avoid deforestation Ornamental Fish International Journal (OFIJ) February 2008: 21-25

R. Raghavan, M. Tlusty, G. Prasad, B. Pereira, A. Ali & L. Sujarittanonta. 2007 Should endemic and threatened ornamental fishes of Western Ghats biodiversity hotspot be captive bred for international trade? Current Science 93(9): 1211-1213

R. Raghavan, G. Prasad, A. Ali & L. Sujarittanonta. 2007 ‘Boom and Bust Fishery’ in a Biodiversity Hotspot – Is the Western Ghats (South India) losing its most celebrated ornamental fish, Puntius denisonii, Day? Current Science 92(12): 1671-1672

R. Raghavan, A. Ali & G. Prasad. 2007 Need for a re-assessment of the conservation status of critically endangered (?) fishes of Kerala Current Science 92(6): 721-723

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