Environmental Initiatives



Rohan Arthur is a senior scientist at the Nature Conservation Foundation in Karnataka, India, head of its oceans and coasts division, and one of the founding trustees of the organization. Arthur and his co-founders strongly believed that rigorous scientific approaches to complex conservation issues lead to pragmatic and workable solutions, and the organization has been guided by this principle ever since.

For his doctoral research, Arthur studied climate change impacts on coral reefs. His current work explores how humans interact with and use marine ecosystems. He is particularly interested in natural resource management by local community institutions. After the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004, Arthur shifted his focus and headed a three-year United Nations Development Programme initiative to document the tidal wave’s impact on coastal ecosystems and livelihoods in India. Arthur has in the past few years turned his attention back to coral reefs. His team works in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal and the Lakshadweep Archipelago, a group of low-lying coral atolls situated north of the Maldives in the northern Indian Ocean. Arthur is working to understand the responses of these reef systems to climate shifts and the ability of species to adapt to climate and ocean changes.

The oceans and coasts program that Arthur leads is an interdisciplinary group that works on issues including human-wildlife interactions in aquatic environments, the impacts of disturbances such as tsunamis and earthquakes on the sharing of natural resources among indigenous communities, the economics of overfishing, and the conservation of endangered species and ecosystems. He also leads a master’s course on marine ecology at the National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore, India, and courses in science skills for the Nature Conservation Foundation’s doctoral program.

Arthur earned a bachelor’s degree in zoology and chemistry at St. Xavier’s College, University of Bombay; a master’s in wildlife biology at the Wildlife Institute of India, Saurashtra University; and a doctorate in environmental science at James Cook University in Australia.  



James Cook University, Townsville, Australia — PhD Environmental Science
Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, India — MSc Wildlife Science
University of Bombay, St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai, India — BSc Zoology and Chemistry


2013 - Present: Senior Scientist, Nature Conservation Foundation
1996 - Present: Programme Head, Marine Conservation Science, Nature Conservation Foundation
2009-2013: Executive Director, Nature Conservation Foundation
Affiliate Scientist, Centre e’Studis Avancats de Blanes, CSIC Spain


• Pagès, J., Farina, S., Gera, A., Arthur, R., Romero, J., and Alcoverro, T. (in press). Indirect interactions in seagrasses: fish herbivores increase predation risk to sea urchins by modifying plant traits. Functional Ecology.

• Patankar, V., D'souza, E., Kumaraguru, A. and Arthur, R. 2012. Distance-related thresholds and influence of the 2004 tsunami on damage and recovery patterns of coral reefs in the Nicobar Islands. Current Science (Bangalore) 102:1199–1205.

• Gangal, M., Arthur, R. & Alcoverro, T. (2011). Structure and dynamics of South East Indian seagrass meadows across a sediment gradient. Aquatic Botany.

• Mukherjee, N., Dahdouh-Guebas, F., Kapoor, V., Arthur, R., Koedam, N., Sridhar, A. and Shanker, K. 2010. From Bathymetry to Bioshields: A review of post-tsunami ecological research in India and its implications for policy. Environmental Management 46:329-338.

• Lal, A., Arthur, R., Marba. N., Lill, A.W.T., and Alcoverro, A. 2010. Implications of conserving an ecosystem modifier: Increasing green turtle (Chelonia mydas) densities substantially alters seagrass meadows. Biological Conservation 143: 2730-273.

• obo, A.S., Balmford, A., Arthur, R., and Manica, A. 2010. Commercializing bycatch can push fishery beyond economic extinction. Conservation Letters 3: 277-285.

• Hagin, R. A., Mukherjee, N., Shanker, K., Baird, A. H., Cinner, J., Kerr, A., Koedam, N., Sridhar, A., Arthur, R., Jayatissa, L.P., Seen, D.L., Menon, M., Rodriguez, S., Shamsuddoha, M.D. and Dahdouh-Guebas, F. 2010. Shelter from the storm? Use and misuse of coastal vegetation bioshields for managing natural disasters. Conservation Letters 3:1-11.

• Madhusudhan, M.D., Shanker, K…..Arthur, R. et al. 2006. Science in the wilderness: the predicament of scientific research in India’s wildlife reserves. Current Science 91: 1015–1019 Arthur, R. Done, T.J., Marsh, H. and Harriott, V. 2006. Local processes strongly influence postbleaching benthic recovery in the Lakshadweep Islands. Coral Reefs 25: 427-440.

• Arthur, R., Done, T.J. and Marsh, H. 2005. Benthic recovery four years after an El Niño-induced coral mass mortality in the Lakshadweep atolls. Current Science 89:694-699.

• McClanahan T.R. and Arthur, R. 2001 The Effect of Marine Reserves, Fishing, and Habitat on Populations of East African Coral Reef Fishes. Ecological Applications 11: 559-569.

• Arthur, R. 2000 Coral bleaching and mortality in three Indian reef regions during an El Niño Southern Oscillation event. Current Science 79: 1723-1729.

• Book Chapters and Conference Proceedings Arthur, R., Sutaria, D. and Satashivam, K. (in press) Marine Mammals in Subcontinental Waters. In Mammals of South Asia (eds. Johnsingh, AJT, Sukumar, R. and Manjrekar, N.).

• Tamelander J., Sattar S., Campbell S., Hoon V., Arthur R., Patterson E., Satapoomin U., Chandi M., Rajasuriya A. & Samoilys M. (2008). Reef Fish Spawning Aggregations in The Bay Of Bengal: Awareness And Occurrence. In: 11th International Coral Reef Symposium Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, pp. 1043-1047.

• Arthur R. 2008. Patterns of benthic recovery in the Lakshadweep Islands. In: Ten years after bleachingfacing the consequences of climate change in the Indian Ocean (eds. Obura D, Tamelander J & Linden O).

• Coastal Oceans Research and Development in the Indian Ocean/Sida-SAREC Mombasa, pp. 39-44. Bakus, G. J., Arthur, R, Ekaratne, S.U.K and Jinendradasa, S. 2000. India and Sri Lanka. In Coral Reefs of the Western Indian Ocean (eds. McLanahan, T., Shepperd, C. and Obura, D.) Oxford University Press.

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