Qualifications: M. Sc. Marine Biology, James Cook University, Australia (2020)
Fascinated by Sir David Attenborough’s shows, Blue Planet and Life, it was in school that Chaitanya decided he wanted to study marine sciences in the future. During his Master’s, he developed a keen interest in coral reef ecology, and for his Master’s thesis, he studied the changes in the structure and composition of turf algae that occur with increasing sediment loads. Apart from the curriculum, he got opportunities to volunteer 1) with Global FinPrint which involved in-video tagging of sharks and rays, 2) as a fish vaccinator at an aquaculture farm, and 3) in a citizen science initiative with Earthwatch Australia. Currently, he is interested in understanding the spatial and temporal variation in turf algae composition, drivers and mechanisms of phase-shifts, sediment effects, and function delivery on coral reefs. Additionally, He has worked as a collaborative Spanish teacher, and as a cook in a Japanese restaurant. My other general interests include evolution, dinosaur paleobiology, bird ecology, and food chemistry.
He joined the reef fish component of the Long-Term Ecological Observatories (LTEO) program at Dakshin in December 2021. As part of this program, which is based in the Andaman Islands, his work involves studying the diversity and abundance of reef fishes, examining the effects of climate-induced and anthropogenic disturbances on reef fishes, studying the critical functions that reef fishes deliver, and setting up long-term plots to monitor reef fish communities.
Smith, H.A., Brown, D.A., Arjunwadkar, C.V., Fulton, S.E., Whitman, T., Hermanto, B., Mastroianni, E., Mattocks, N., Smith, A.K., Harrison, P.L., Boström-Einarsson, L., McLeod, I.M. and Bourne, D.G. (2022), Removal of macroalgae from degraded reefs enhances coral recruitment. Restoration Ecology e13624.