Terra Marine Research Institute (TeMI*) is a non-profit research and educational organisation based in Karwar, India dedicated to understanding and conserving marine and terrestrial ecosystems within the Indian EEZ.
*TeMI is a play on the Sanskrit word for whale ‘Timi’
Mission: Advocating and using sound scientific and socio-economic tools to study and conserve India’s terrestrial and marine biodiversity.
Vision: Empowering communities to enjoy a healthy, thriving, and sustainable coastal environment.
We established TeMI to tackle the increasing and challenging problem of avoiding and mitigating negative impacts on marine resources. While our primary focus is on marine mammals (primarily cetaceans – whales and dolphins) and sea turtles, we realize that complex problems require understanding the interaction between humans and the diverse marine and terrestrial resources they depend on.
The first step to impact assessment and mitigation is systematically documenting, understanding, and evaluating the affected ecosystem and the principal players. In the marine food chain this ranges from top predators such as marine mammals and sharks to lower trophic organisms such as filter feeders and plankton. The next step is to analyse and understand influence of ecological and anthropogenic perturbations on ecosystem functioning and processes to produce a more complete picture.
We firmly believe in integrating the human element in marine conservation as is for most conservation issues. To this end, education and empowerment of affected communities is a key driver of our research and programs.
Conservation actions require collaboration, coordination, and data sharing with like-minded individuals at various levels ranging from local to international levels. We champion open data sharing practices and information exchange with interested individuals and institutions to maximize resource investment and conservation benefit.
Our journey is just beginning, but a few key areas of importance to TeMI and its future direction are:
1. Establishing a sustainable, functioning, and replicable volunteer coastal network to assist with marine life stranding response and marine debris clean up and safe disposal along the west coast of India with particular focus on areas around Karwar.
2. Conducting and supporting key ecological research on fisheries interaction, climate-ecosystem synergistic effects, separate and cumulative impacts on marine mammals and turtles, as well as basic descriptive studies on species life history, distribution, habitat use, movement, demographic, predator-prey, and population studies using established and novel scientific tools and platforms.
3. Pioneering new or adapting existing educational and training tools and modules for marine mammals, sea turtles, and other critical marine animals for the Indian milieu.
4. Conducting workshops and seminars to educate, train, and exchange information about marine organisms, threats, and available practical solutions.
5. Supporting community and livelihood initiatives and incentives to empower local fishing and coastal communities.
*TeMI Logo design courtesy Sudha Madhusudan