Gill Braulik is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of St. Andrews, and executive director of Downstream Research and Conservation Ltd., in Braintree, United Kingdom. She is an adviser on river dolphins to WWF-India and works on the Important Marine Mammal Area Initiative of the Marine Mammal Protected Areas Task Force. Braulik has been involved in the research and conservation of marine mammals throughout South and Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. The greatest numbers of at-risk marine mammals populate the coastal waters of tropical developing nations. However, basic information such as species presence or absence is lacking along tens of thousands of kilometers of coastline in many of these areas, so important conservation issues are frequently missed. Robust baseline data on marine mammal communities and threats across vast areas must be generated quickly and inexpensively. Such research is essential for identifying and prioritizing species and locations where there may be a need for protection measures or more intensive study.
Braulik’s Pew fellowship project addressed this challenge by designing and testing a marine mammal rapid assessment protocol. This allowed for broad-scale spatial data on marine mammal populations to be quickly generated at a national or regional level. Braulik collected and analyzed information on the status of cetaceans (including whales, dolphins, and porpoises) and sirenians (including the dugong) in the coastal waters of mainland Tanzania using three integrated methods. Braulik also worked to train local biologists and wildlife managers in Tanzania on biological survey methods, marine mammal identification, and conservation issues. She identified global priority zones where marine mammal rapid assessment can be applied and the model scaled up. As a result, the information gathered by Braulik and her team is helping to identify further research needs and address critical conservation efforts in the Tanzania region, a significant but poorly understood area.
To learn more about Braulik, visit her bio online: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Gill_Braulik/publications.