Tracking the trajectory of coral reefs in the Andaman Islands

An edited version of this article was first published in the Hornbill, Bombay Natural History Society Magazine, April-June, 42-45. Corals are some of the simplest, yet most complex organisms on the planet. Primitive, yet amazingly modern. Smaller than a size of your nail or bigger than your car. Unbelievably resilient, yet dramatically vulnerable. I fellContinue reading “Tracking the trajectory of coral reefs in the Andaman Islands”

Ghosts of the sea—lost nets that kill marine life

A by-product of fishing industry– lost or abandon nets also referred to as ghost nets are as deadly as their name implies. Drifting with highs and lows of the ocean currents, they often become tangled together with ropes, buoys and other debris to form what are known as ghost net conglomerates and they swallow orContinue reading “Ghosts of the sea—lost nets that kill marine life”

I found an obese sea star!

Well, maybe not the fattest individual, but definitely abnormal. I have never seen such fat individual of any species in the wild. If you don’t believe me take a look at this fat sea star. Yeah, that’s right, get into the habit of calling them sea stars – makes you feel so much better thanContinue reading “I found an obese sea star!”

What are they doing down there?

Edited version published in Sanctuary Asia February 2015. Vardhan Patankar & Elrika D’Souza Living on the edge: dugongs prefer to feed repeatedly on seagrass meadows that are sparsely distributed Dugong ordinarily comes into view only briefly, when they part the sea’s shimmer to breath. Though more active at the surface than the most marineContinue reading “What are they doing down there?”

Fancy sea fan

Edited version: I am a big fan of sea fans! Why won’t anyone be, considering their wonderful shapes and colours? They are found amongst the reefs of the Indo-Pacific oceans, and make some of the most beautiful underwater sights. Sea fans are actually colonies of lots of small, individual polyps, similar to corals. SomeContinue reading “Fancy sea fan”

A day in the life of a butterfly fish

The reef that day was filled with plankton. Butterflyfishes drifted through, occasionally stopping to nibble on bits of coral. They were like a school of miniature art models with their protruding mouths and vivid and abstract colours. The warm water current quickened their movements, and they swam through the reef, disturbing millions, probably zillions ofContinue reading “A day in the life of a butterfly fish”


RUCHA KARKAREY AND VARDHAN PATANKAR Edited version published in The Hindu School Can you imagine seeing a thousand leopards in a forest patch, the size of a football field? As you make your way through the forest thicket, you are elated when you see your first leopard, peering down at you from the branches. YouContinue reading “A THOUSAND LEOPARDS IN THE SEA…”

A Glimmer of Hope for Dugong Conservation in India

VARDHAN PATANKAR Edited version published in Down to Earth ‘A loud oooooph was heard as the giant surfaced, the sound loud enough to capture the attention of people sprawled across the shoreline. All eyes on the shore gazed in the direction of the gushing sound. They saw a ‘mermaid-shaped body’ gently skimming the surface of theContinue reading “A Glimmer of Hope for Dugong Conservation in India”


Sawda glances aloft, then seaward, then aloft again. ” Is that a fish or a dolphin?” Abeam of us, about fifty meters away, something surfaces.  Was it a turtle?”– Saw Sawda We wait for a while. On looking closer we see the entire dorsal portion of the animal, which was neither of a dolphin norContinue reading “Mirage”