Research interests


             My research interests are mainly linked to understanding processes of change in aquatic socio-ecological systems and their impacts on the abundance, distribution, sensory ecology, biogeography, and conservation of freshwater biodiversity. I have been studying the complex and historically produced interactions between river-floodplain hydrology, social conflict, fisheries ecology, and environmental change, in the context of conservation of endangered riverine species such as Ganges river dolphins in northern India. I am a PhD candidate at the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, Bangalore, and registered with the Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Manipal, India. I am happy that I have contributed in a small way towards building an informal and collaborative research network involving ecologists, hydrologists, and conservationists from India and elsewhere, bound by shared interest in river biodiversity, ecology, and conservation in the Gangetic plains.

My other research involvements span a range of interests, which include population ecology, freshwater and marine biodiversity and fisheries, eco-hydrology, sensory ecology, social and environmental history, conservation policy, and the application of advanced statistical methods in ecological research.


Selected Publications (research papers, technical reports, and book chapters)

Dey, M., Krishnaswamy, J., Morisaka, T., & Kelkar, N. 2019. Interacting effects of vessel noise and shallow river depth elevate metabolic stress in Ganges river dolphins. Scientific Reports 9, 15426.

Dey, S., Choudhary, S.K., Deshpande, K., Dey, S., & Kelkar, N. 2019. Identifying potential causes of fish declines through local ecological knowledge of fishers in the Ganga River, eastern Bihar, India. Fisheries Management & Ecology.

Sutaria, D., Kelkar, N., Araujo-Wang, C., Santos, M. 2019. Cetacean Sociality in Rivers, Lagoons, and Estuaries. In: Wursig, B. (ed.) Ethology and Behavioral Ecology of Toothed Whales and Dolphins, Springer-Cham, pp. 413-434.

Krishnaswamy, J., Kelkar, N., Birkel, C. 2018. Positive and neutral effects of forest cover on dry-season stream flow in Costa Rica identified from Bayesian regression models with informative prior distributions. Hydrological Processes (Special Issue: Latin America), 32: 3604– 3614.

Kelkar, N. 2018. The resource of tradition: changing identities and conservation conflicts in Gangetic fisheries. In: Srinivasan, U., Velho, N. (eds.) Conservation from the Margins. Orient BlackSwan.

Kelkar, N., Dey, S., Deshpande, K., Choudhary, S.K., Dey, S., Morisaka, T. 2018. Foraging and feeding ecology of Platanista: an integrative review. Mammal Review, 48(3): 194-208.

Jumani, S., Rao, S., Kelkar, N., Machado, S., Krishnaswamy, J., Vaidyanathan, S. 2018. Fish community responses to stream flow alterations and habitat modifications by small hydropower projects in the Western Ghats biodiversity hotspot, India. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, In Press.

Dey, S., Dey, S., Choudhary, S.K., Kelkar N. 2018. On the rehabilitation of a hand-reared smooth-coated otter (Lutrogale perspicillata) in Bihar, India. IUCN Otter Specialist Group Bulletin, 35, 67-80.

Atkore, V., Kelkar, N., Krishnaswamy, J. 2017. Assessing the recovery of fish assemblages downstream of hydrological barriers in India’s Western Ghats. River Research and Applications, 33, 1026-1035.

Khanal, G., Suryawanshi, K., Awasthi, K.D., Dhakal, M., Subedi, N., Nath, D., Kandel, R.C., Kelkar, N. 2016. Irrigation demands aggravate fishing threats to river dolphins in Nepal. Biological Conservation, 204B, 386-393.

Kelkar, N. 2016. Digging Our Rivers’ Graves? A summary analysis of the ecological impacts of the National Waterways Bill 2015. Dams, Rivers, and People Newsletter, South Asia Network for Dams, Rivers, and People (SANDRP), 14, 1-2, p. 1-6.

Kelkar, N. 2015. Strengthening the meaning of a freshwater protected area for the Ganges River Dolphin: looking within and beyond the Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary, Bihar, India. Final report submitted to the Small Cetacean Fund, International Whaling Commission (IWC), United Kingdom. 45 p. 2015.

Deshpande, K., Kelkar, N. 2015. Acoustic identification of Otomops wroughtoni and other free-tailed bat species (Chiroptera: Molossidae) from India. Acta Chiropterologica, 17, 419-428.

Deshpande, K. & Kelkar, N. 2015. How do fruit bat seed shadows benefit agroforestry? Insights from local perceptions in Kerala, India. Biotropica, 47, 654-659.

Lal Mohan, R.S., Kelkar, N. 2015. Ganges River Dolphin. In: Johnsingh, A.J.T., Manjrekar, N. (eds.) Mammals of South Asia–Vol.II. University Press (India) Pvt. Ltd.

Choudhary, S.K., Dey, S., Kelkar, N. 2015. Locating fisheries and livelihood issues in river biodiversity conservation: Insights from long-term engagement with fisheries in the Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary riverscape, Bihar, India. Proceedings of the IUCN Symposium on Riverine Biodiversity, Patna, India (April 2014), 30 p.

Dey, S., Dey, S., Choudhary, S.K., Kelkar, N. 2014. An annotated bird checklist of the Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary, Bhagalpur, Bihar, India, with an assessment of threats to bird conservation. Forktail, 30, 34–40.

Kelkar, N. 2014. River Fisheries of the Gangetic basin, India: a Primer.’ Dams, Rivers & People Newsletter, September 2014, Vol. 13, Issue 3-5. 40 p.

Kelkar, N. 2014. Politics, access and institutions in Gangetic river fisheries: two failed states. Current Conservation 8.3: 25-31 (Invited Paper).

Heithaus, M.R., Alcoverro, T., Arthur, R., Burkholder, D.A., Coates, K.A., Christianen, M.J., Kelkar, N., et al. 2014. Seagrasses in the age of sea turtle conservation and shark overfishing. Frontiers in Marine Science 1: 28. doi:10.3389/fmars.2014.00028

Kelkar, N., Krishnaswamy, J. 2014. Restoring the Ganga for its fauna and fisheries. In: Madhusudan, M.D., Rangarajan, M., & Shahabuddin, G. (eds.) Nature Without Borders. Orient BlackSwan, India.

Van Bressem, M.F., Minton, G., Sutaria, D., Kelkar, N. et al. 2014. Cutaneous nodules in Irrawaddy dolphins: an emerging disease in vulnerable populations. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms, 107, 181-189.

Karkarey, R., Kelkar, N., Lobo, A.S., Alcoverro, T., Arthur, R. 2014. Long-lived groupers require structurally stable reefs in the face of repeated climate change disturbances. Coral Reefs, 33, 289-302.

D’Souza, E., Patankar, V., Arthur, R., Alcoverro, T., Kelkar, N. 2013. Long-term occupancy trends in a data-poor dugong population in the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago. PLoS One, 10, e76181.

Arthur, R., Kelkar, N., Alcoverro, T., Madhusudan, M.D. 2013. Complex ecological pathways underlie perceptions of conflict between green turtles and fishers in the Lakshadweep Islands. Biological Conservation, 167, 25-34.

Kelkar, N., Arthur, R., Marba, N., Alcoverro, T. 2013. Greener pastures? High-density feeding aggregations of green turtles precipitate species shifts in seagrass meadows. Journal of Ecology, 101, 1158-1168.

Kelkar, N., Arthur, R., Marba, N., Alcoverro, T. 2013. Green turtle herbivory dominates the fate of seagrass primary production in the Lakshadweep Islands (Indian Ocean). Marine Ecology Progress Series, 485, 235-243.

Abraham, R.K., Kelkar, N. 2012. Do terrestrial Protected Areas conserve freshwater fish diversity? Results from the southern Western Ghats of India. Oryx, 46, 544-553.

Choudhary, S., Dey, S., Dey, S., Sagar, V., Nair, T., Kelkar, N. 2012. River dolphin distribution in regulated river systems: implications for dry-season flow regimes in the Gangetic basin. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, 22, 11-25.

Abraham, R.K., Kelkar, N., Bijukumar, A. 2011. A checklist of freshwater fishes from the Agasthyamalai range, Kerala, India, with a note on species’ range extensions. Journal of Threatened Taxa, 3, 1585-1593.

Kelkar, N., Krishnaswamy, J., Choudhary, S., Sutaria, D. 2010. Coexistence of fisheries with river dolphin conservation. Conservation Biology, 24(4), 1130-1140.