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.



Of forests and farms

Conserving wildlife in forests and plantations in the landscape

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an initiative of Snow Leopard Enterprises


  • Conference Proceedings
    Snow leopard and prey: Landscape-level distribution modeling & impacts of migratory livestock grazing in Symposium Assimilated Knowledges: an integrated approach to conservation in snow leopard landscapes
    Conservation Asia, 2018, Society for Conservation Biology
  • Journal Article
    The value of ecosystem services in the high altitude Spiti Valley, Indian Trans-Himalaya

    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.

  • Popular Article
    The fascinating world of fungi
    The Hindu in School, 22 October

    PDF, 388 KB

  • Report
    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.

    PDF, 15.2 MB

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

    PDF, 177 MB

    Cyathus, Amanita, Coprinus, Schizophyllum, Cordyceps, Omphalotus

  • Popular Article
    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
    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
    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
    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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