Environmental Management

, Volume 46, Issue 3, pp 329–339 | Cite as

From Bathymetry to Bioshields: A Review of Post-Tsunami Ecological Research in India and its Implications for Policy

  • Nibedita MukherjeeEmail author
  • Farid Dahdouh-Guebas
  • Vena Kapoor
  • Rohan Arthur
  • Nico Koedam
  • Aarthi Sridhar
  • Kartik Shanker


More than half a decade has passed since the December 26th 2004 tsunami hit the Indian coast leaving a trail of ecological, economic and human destruction in its wake. We reviewed the coastal ecological research carried out in India in the light of the tsunami. In addition, we also briefly reviewed the ecological research in other tsunami affected countries in Asia namely Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Thailand and Maldives in order to provide a broader perspective of ecological research after tsunami. A basic search in ISI Web of Knowledge using keywords “tsunami” and “India” resulted in 127 peer reviewed journal articles, of which 39 articles were pertaining to ecological sciences. In comparison, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Thailand and Maldives had, respectively, eight, four, 21 and two articles pertaining to ecology. In India, bioshields received the major share of scientific interest (14 out of 39) while only one study (each) was dedicated to corals, seagrasses, seaweeds and meiofauna, pointing to the paucity of research attention dedicated to these critical ecosystems. We noted that very few interdisciplinary studies looked at linkages between pure/applied sciences and the social sciences in India. In addition, there appears to be little correlation between the limited research that was done and its influence on policy in India. This review points to gap areas in ecological research in India and highlights the lessons learnt from research in other tsunami-affected countries. It also provides guidance on the links between science and policy that are required for effective coastal zone management.


Tsunami Review Coastal ecology India Policy 



The authors would like to thank Arunachalam Gokul, B. Muthuraman and all others involved in the PTEI project in Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and Environment, Nature Conservation Foundation and Foundation for Ecological Research Advocacy. This study was funded by the Centre for Ecological Studies, Post tsunami Environment Project and Inlaks Foundation.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nibedita Mukherjee
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    Email author
  • Farid Dahdouh-Guebas
    • 1
    • 3
  • Vena Kapoor
    • 5
  • Rohan Arthur
    • 5
  • Nico Koedam
    • 1
  • Aarthi Sridhar
    • 6
  • Kartik Shanker
    • 4
    • 6
  1. 1.Laboratory of Plant Biology and Nature Management, Faculty of Sciences and Bio-Engineering SciencesVrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB)BrusselsBelgium
  2. 2.LafayetteUSA
  3. 3.Laboratory of Complexity and Dynamics of Tropical Systems, Département de Biologie des Organismes, Faculté des SciencesUniversité Libre de Bruxelles (ULB)BruxellesBelgium
  4. 4.Centre for Ecological SciencesIndian Institute of ScienceBangaloreIndia
  5. 5.Nature Conservation FoundationMysoreIndia
  6. 6.Dakshin FoundationBangaloreIndia

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