How sea snakes co-exist with each other and the humans in their environment

Shawn Dsouza, Yogesh Waghmare, Chetan Rao, Muralidharan M, Kartik Shanker, and Naveen Namboothri

In a world of limited resources, animals share (partition) these resources amongst each other. This depends on how efficient they are at gathering these resources which affect their survival and hence, regulates biodiversity of overall.

Our work on sea snakes at Malvan has shown two species to be dominant in the area, the beaked sea snake (Hydrophis schistosus) and the short sea snake (H. curtus). Our work aims to understand the effects of fisheries on sea snakes and the marine environment at large, beyond those of bycatch through the following questions:

  1. What are sea snakes eating and what habitats do they use?
  2. Does this resource use differ among species, sexes and age classes?
  3. Does the presence of fisheries affect resource use and competitive interactions among sea snakes?

This is carried using a combination of field and lab techniques including stable isotope analysis of blood, scale, and fish tissue, catch characterization of the local fisheries, as well as interviews and consultations with fishers.

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