Young Naturalist Award (2004)
Sea snakes are Aaron Lobo’s obsession. In 2001, while earning his Bachelor of Science degree, he conducted a one year dissertation project on the distribution and status of snakes in four different areas in Goa. This only whet his appetite and he went on to apply for and win a scholarship to do his M.Sc. in Wildlife Science from the Wildlife Institute of India, (WII) Dehradun. As part of the course, he conducted a six-month dissertation project on the estimation of sea snake diversity along the coast of Goa, using trawler bycatch. At the WII’s Annual Research Seminar in wildlife biology in December 2003, he presented his work on Goa’s sea snakes before some of India’s top wildlife researchers, and was awarded a prize for the best presentation. He is presently undertaking a survey of aquatic snakes in the Sálim Ali Bird Sanctuary, Goa, with a special focus on the ecology of the dog-faced water snake Cerberus rhynchops, a project which involves visiting the sanctuary by night to study his subject’s ecology. He is also working as a project associate with the Centre for Environment Education, preparing scientific presentations on biodiversity-related issues at educational institutions in Goa. He also assists M.Sc. students with their ecology-based dissertations. Aaron aims to continue working on marine biodiversity issues, especially sea snakes. He will soon be starting work in the Gulf of Mannar, studying this fragile area’s sea snake populations and the threats they face.