Gillian Braulik has been involved in research and conservation of marine mammals, primarily in South and Southeast Asia, for more than 10 years. A large focus of her work has been on the Indus River dolphin, a subspecies endemic to Pakistan. Indus River dolphins are classified as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and they live in a river system fragmented by dams and degraded by water diversions for irrigation. Conducting her research in association with Pakistan’s Ministry of Environment, World Wildlife Fund-Pakistan, and numerous Pakistani researchers, Braulik has sought to determine the species’ population status and to understand how dams and water diversions have contributed to its decline. Her work has illuminated the threats that the Indus River dolphin faces and what is needed to improve its conservation status. Braulik’s research has provided tools, training, and mentoring, resulting in the species’conservation being set as a goal within Pakistani wildlife departments and conservation organizations.
In addition to her work in Pakistan, Braulik has been involved with river dolphins on the Brahmaputra River in India and in the Sundarbans mangrove forest of Bangladesh. She was also committed to the final efforts to save the Yangtze River dolphin in China. Her long-term interest in training and facilitating biologists in Iran has led her to establish marine mammal research and conservation programs in the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea.
Braulik is an independent researcher affiliated with the University of St. Andrews and based in East Africa. She earned a bachelor of science degree in environmental biology at the University of Essex in the United Kingdom and a doctorate in marine and freshwater ecology at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.
2012 : University of St. Andrews, Scotland - Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) – Marine and Freshwater Ecology
1993: University of Essex, UK -Bachelor of Science (BSc) with Honors, Class II(i) – Environmental Biology
2005 – Present: Principle Scientist/ Independent Researcher, Marine Mammal Research and Conservation in Iran
1999 – Present: Principle Scientist, Indus River Dolphin Research and Conservation in Pakistan, WWF-Pakistan
2003 – Present: Principal Investigator, Research and Conservation of Asian River Dolphins South, Asian River Dolphin Taxonomy Study
2007 – 2008: Advisory Group Member, Baiji Scientific Advisory Group
2002 – 2005: Project Co-leader and GIS specialist, Sundarbans Cetacean Conservation Project, Bangladesh
2010: Technical Advisor, General Marine Mammal Research , Sarawak Dolphin Project, Malaysia
2004: Cetacean Observer, National Marine Fisheries Service, NOAA USA
2003 & 2004: Right Whale Aerial Observer, New England Aquarium
2000 – 2002 Assistant Project Leader, Cetacean Distribution in the Gulf of Tonkin, Vietnam
1998 – 1999: Researcher, Ocean Park Conservation Foundation, Hong Kong
J. Stephen Leatherwood Memorial Award for conservation of marine mammals in South and Southeast Asia. Awarded by the Society for Marine Mammalogy in December 2011
1999 – Present: Member: IUCN, Species Survival Commission, Cetacean Specialist Group
2004 – 2009: Technical Advisor: Conservation of the Gangetic Dolphin in the Brahmaputra River system, India
2003: Invited Participant: Meeting on conservation options for the Yangtze River dolphin
2010 – 2011 Member: Mekong Dolphin Photo-ID and Ad-hoc Conservation Working Group
Subject Editor: Journal of Threatened Taxa
SELECTED PUBLICATIONS AND REPORTS
• Braulik, G.T., et al., 2012. Habitat use by a freshwater dolphin in the low-water season. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems. DOI: 10.1002/aqc.2246.
• Braulik, G.T., et al., 2012. Robust abundance estimate for endangered river dolphin subspecies in South Asia. Endangered Species Research. 17: p. 201-215.
• Braulik, G.T., 2012. Conservation ecology and phylogenetics of the Indus River dolphin (Platanista gangetica minor), in PhD Thesis. School of Biology. University of St. Andrews: St. Andrews, UK. 267 pp.
• Braulik, G.T., et al., 2010. Marine mammal records from Iran. Journal of Cetacean Research and Management. 11(1): p. 49-63.
• Braulik, G.T., et al., 2010. A retrospective investigation of two dolphin mass mortality events in Iran, Autumn 2007. Zoology in the Middle East. 49: p. 13-26.
• Braulik, G. T. 2012. Conservation ecology and phylogenetics of the Indus River dolphin (Platanista gangetica minor). PhD thesis. Department of Biology, University of St. Andrews.
• Braulik, G.T. in press. Platanistidae, In Handbook of Mammals of the World. Volume 4: Sea Mammals. Eds D. Wilson, R.A. Mittermeier. Lynx Edicions, Spain.
• Kreb, D., Reeves, R.R., Thomas, P.O., Braulik, G.T. and Smith, B.D. (Editors). 2010. Establishing protected areas for Asian freshwater cetaceans: Freshwater cetaceans as flagship species for integrated river conservation management, Samarinda, 19-24 October 2009. Final Workshop Report (English version), Yayasan Konservasi RASI, Samarinda, Indonesia, 152 pp.
• Smith, B.D., Braulik, G., Strindberg, S., Mansur, R., and Diyan, M.A.A. and Ahmad, B. 2008. Habitat selection of freshwater-dependent cetaceans and the potential effects of declining freshwater flows and sea-level rise in waterways of the Sundarbans Mangrove forest, Bangladesh. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 19:209-225.
• Wang, D., Zhang, X., Wang, K., Wei, Z., Wursig, B., Braulik, G. T., Ellis, S. 2006. Conservation of the baiji: no simple solutions. Conservation Biology 20(3): 623-625.
• Smith, B.D., Braulik, G., Strinberg, S., Ahmad, B. and Mansur, R. 2006. Abundance estimation of Ganges River dolphins (Platanista gangetica gangetica) and Irrawaddy dolphins (Orcaella brevirostris) using independent concurrent counts in waterways of the Sundarbans mangrove forest, Bangladesh. Marine Mammal Science 22(2):1-21.
• Braulik, G.T., Reeves, R.R., Wang, D., Ellis, S., Wells, R.S., Dudgeon, D. 2005. Report of the workshop on conservation of the baiji and Yangtze finless porpoise. Available from http://www.Iucn.Org/themes/marine/marine_species.Html, World Conservation Union, Gland, Switzerland
• Braulik, G.T., Reeves, R.R., Ellis, S., Wang, D., Wells, R.S. and Dudgeon, D. 2005. Report of the Workshop on Conservation of the baiji and Yangtze finless porpoise in China.28 Nov-2 Dec 2004, Wuhan, China.