Estuarine Biological Laboratory

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The Department of Zoology established an off campus Estuarine Biological Laboratory on the Pulicat Lake, Pulicat town about 35 miles from the city of Chennai. This was established under the able leadership of Professor Sanjeeva Raj, former Head of the Department of Zoology, through grants from the World Bank.

The total area of this campus is 3.5 acres including the water front. There is a full fledged laboratory for studies and research in the fields of Zoology, estuarine biology and marine science. The postgraduate students of Marine Studies and Costal Resource Management, carry out their field work and practical work at this centre. Even the students of the department of zoology come for their field studies to this centre. The lab holds a class room, a mini museum of marine organisms available at Pulicat, a kitchen, staff quarters and a store room where chemicals, instruments for marine science, life jackets, and boat engines etc. are houses. A dormitory was added in 2009 to the facilities available at the centre at Pulicat that can house up to 30 students. This centre is also a storehouse for wealth studied at Pulicat that had produced more than 15 Ph.Ds.

The centre has played a key role right from its time of establishment. When the 1984 floods devastated northern Tamil Nadu, this campus was a place of shelter for many fisher families around the Pulicat Lake. The food supply to the affected people was given from a helicopter that landed right in front of the centre because it is elevated in topography. Thus the understanding between the coastal communities with the campus is worth mentioning. The eco-restoration project funded by the WWF (World Wide Fund for nature) used this lab as a base to study the flora and fauna.

Students from various countries like the US, Sweden, Netherlands and many more have participated in popularizing eco-friendly methods of fishing, sanitation and health awareness. Regular medical campus are conducted at this centre for the poor and fisher folk below poverty line. Awareness programs on resource management, non destructive fishing gears. Artificial reefs and fish aggregating devices are taught to the fisher folk to combat the decline in fish catch due to various anthropogenic and natural factors. The centre also is planning for a resource centre where the fisher folk and others can understand the wealth and resources around Pulicat Lake. As the lake is all set to attain the “Ramsar” status for wetlands, the Madras Christian College leads the way for many other institutions for conservation and restoration of the Pulicat Lake which is the second largest brackish water in India.


Dr. R. Moses Inbaraj
Director, EBL 
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