Ranjini Murali

Research Scholar, High Altitudes

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MSc, University of St Andrews

My fascination with the natural world began in the forests of the Western Ghats, when I used to visit these areas during my summer vacations. I first got involved in wildlife research in India by volunteering with various conservation organisations in my undergraduate days. I completed my Bachelor's in Microbiology, Zoology, and Chemistry from the St Joseph's College of Arts and Science in Bangalore. To further my interests in wildlife research, I pursued a Masters in Environmental Biology from the University of St Andrews in Scotland. 

My previous research experience includes studying the acoustics of the Northern Bottlenose Whales in Iceland; estimating species richness of amphibians in the Payamino region in the Amazonian Ecuador; and studying amphibians in changing land-uses in the Annamalai hills. I previously worked as the conservation coordinator in NCF's high altitude programme. During this time I worked on a variety of  conservation issues and on conservation education, in the Trans-Himalayas . 

My current research interests are in the area of ecosystem service use in the Indian Trans-Himalayas.

Projects

Tea1

Of forests and farms

Conserving wildlife in forests and plantations in the landscape

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Shen

An initiative of Snow Leopard Enterprises

Publications

  • Journal Article
    2017
    The value of ecosystem services in the high altitude Spiti Valley, Indian Trans-Himalaya
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoser.2017.10.018
    Download

    PDF, 645 KB

    The high mountain ranges of South and Central Asia are increasingly being exposed to large-scale development projects. These areas are home to traditional pastoralist communities and internationally important biodiversity including the endangered snow leopard Panthera uncia. Development projects rely on economic cost-benefit analysis, but the ecosystem services in the high Himalayas are poorly understood and are rarely accounted for. As a first step to fill this gap, we identified the main ecosystem services used by local people in the Trans-Himalayan Spiti Valley (7591 km2), a region important for conservation of snow leopards and high mountain biodiversity, and undertook an economic valuation. Stakeholders identified a range of services, though these were dominated by provisioning services identified by 90% of respondents. Only 5.4% of the respondents recognised regulatory services and 4.8% recognised cultural services. The mean economic value of provisioning services was estimated at US$ 3622 ± 149 HH−1 yr−1, which was 3.8 times higher than the average annual household income. Our results underscore the need to account for ecosystem services in the cost-benefit analyses of large-scale development projects in addition to assessments of their environmental and social impact.

  • Report
    2017
    Valuation of Ecosystem Services in Snow Leopard Landscapes of Asia
    Charudutt Mishra, Koustubh Sharma, Yash Veer Bhatnagar, Muhammad Ali Nawaz, Kubanychbek Jumabay-Uulu, Venera Amankul Kizi, Uzma Saeed, Purevjav Lkhagvajav, Ranjini Murali
    Murali, R., Lkhagvajav, P., Saeed, U., Kizi, V.A., Zhumbai-Uulu, K., Nawaz, M.A., Bhatnagar, Y.V., Sharma, K., Mishra, C. 2017. Valuation of ecosystem services in snow leopard landscapes of Asia. Snow Leopard Trust, Nature Conservation Foundation, Snow Leopard Conservation Foundation, Snow Leopard Foundation Kyrgyzstan, and Snow Leopard Foundation Pakistan. Report Submitted to the Global Environment Facility (GEF) funded United Nations Development Program (UNDP) project on Transboundary Cooperation for Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Conservation.
    Download

    PDF, 15.2 MB

  • Popular Article
    2015
    Nono: king of the mountains
    The Hindu in School, 18 March
  • Poster
    2014
    Fungi of the Western Ghats
    Ranjini Murali, Divya Mudappa, Kalyan Varma, Hari Krishna, Robin Abraham
    supported by Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund
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    PDF, 177 MB

    Cyathus, Amanita, Coprinus, Schizophyllum, Cordyceps, Omphalotus

  • Popular Article
    2013
    Strange fish in familiar waters
    The Hindu in School, 14 August

    Link: http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-in-school/strange-fish-in-familiar-waters/article5019968.ece

  • Popular Article
    2013
    A morning with ‘Bloated Stomach’
    The Hindu in School, 8 May

    Link: http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-in-school/a-morning-with-bloated-stomach/article4693989.ece

  • Popular Article
    2013
    Lantana I.A.S. (Invasive Alien Species)
    The Hindu in School, 7 August

    Link: http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-in-school/lantana-ias-invasive-alien-species/article4996673.ece

  • Popular Article
    2012
    The land of the fungus
    The Hindu in School, 15 August

    Link: http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-in-school/the-land-of-the-fungus/article3773422.ece

  • Journal Article
    2012
    Streamside amphibian communities in plantations and a rainforest fragment in the Anamalai hills, India
    Journal of Threatened Taxa 4: 2849–2856.
    Download

    PDF, 3.44 MB

    Stream amphibian communities, occupying a sensitive environment, are often useful indicators of effects of adjoining land uses. We compared abundance and community composition of anuran amphibians along streams in tea monoculture, shade coffee plantation, and a rainforest fragment in Old Valparai area of the Anamalai hills. Overall species density and rarefaction species richness was the highest in rainforest fragment and did not vary between the coffee and tea land uses. Densities of certain taxa, and consequently community composition, varied significantly among the land uses, being greater between rainforest fragment and tea monoculture with shade coffee being intermediate. Observed changes are probably related to streamside alteration due to land use, suggesting the need to retain shade tree cover and remnant riparian rainforest vegetation as buffers along streams.

    PDF: http://threatenedtaxa.org/ZooPrintJournal/2012/August/o282926viii122849-2856.pdf

  • Popular Article
    2012
    Attack of the killer fungus
    The Hindu in School, 1 August

    Link: http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-in-school/attack-of-the-killer-fungus/article3709580.ece

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