Long Term Ecological Observatories (LTEO)
Researchers: Tanmay Wagh, Adhith Swaminathan, Esha Gokhale, Kartik Shanker and Naveen Namboothri
Collaborators: Dr. Elrika D’Souza and Dr. Rohan Arthur (NCF) and Dr. S. Venu (Pondicherry University)
Funding: Ministry of Environment Forests and Climate Change (MOEF&CC), Govt. of India.
Human-induced climate change is now globally recognised as one of the primary drivers for ecosystem decline. Understanding how natural systems respond to constantly altering environmental conditions is thus key to mitigate the impacts of climate change, especially in highly resource-dependent countries like India. However, long term impacts of climatic and other anthropogenic pressures on natural systems and consequently human societies remain poorly understood. Towards this, the Ministry of Environment Forests and Climate Change initiated the Long Term Ecological Observatories (LTEO) Programme, a multi-institutional and inter-disciplinary initiative that aims to understand the impacts of climate change and other anthropogenic disturbances on select ecosystems and taxa. The programme involves long-term monitoring of forests, grasslands, soils, herpetofauna, birds, invertebrates, animal movement and marine ecosystems at six index sites including the Northwestern Arid Zone, Western Himalaya, Eastern Himalaya, Central India, Western Ghats and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
The Marine component of the LTEO programme is based out of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and involves monitoring of coral reefs, seagrass meadows, sea turtles, reef fish and other abiotic parameters, to understand their responses to climatic as well as anthropogenic disturbances including overfishing, marine pollution and coastal development. The Marine LTEO project is a consortium, headed by Dakshin Foundation in collaboration with the Oceans and Coasts Programme, Nature Conservation Foundation (NCF); Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and the Department of Ocean Studies and Marine Biology, Pondicherry University.
As part of this collaboration, Dakshin Foundation will be undertaking research on coral reef demographics and reef fish communities in the Andamans. This will involve combining fine-scale observations in select long-term monitoring plots in South Andaman with broad-scale surveys over large spatial scales across the archipelago. In addition to the coral reef research, researchers from Dakshin will also be part of the teams monitoring sea turtles and abiotic parameters.
Along with the marine research, the ANET field base is recognised as the primary field station for all the LTEO Programme activities in the Andaman Islands and will facilitate both marine and terrestrial research in the islands.
To find out more about the LTEO project, please visit the website.