Dr Pratima M. Kessarkar, Scientist in the Geological Oceanography Division of CSIR-NIO has been selected to receive the National Geoscience Award for the year 2016 by the Ministry of Mines, Government of India. The ministry had initiated the 'National Mineral Awards' Scheme in the year 1966. The scope of the awards scheme has been expanded and changed to National Geoscience Award (NGA) in the year 2009. The objective of the scheme is to honour individuals and teams of scientists for their extraordinary achievements and outstanding contributions in the field of fundamental/ applied geosciences, mining and allied areas to provide incentive for striving toward excellence.
Dr Kessarkar will receive the award in the category of Ocean Development and Marine Geology for her significant contributions in the field of Earth Sciences.
Dr. Pratima M. Kessarkar has made significant contributions to Marine sedimentology by her work on past climate change, provenance and health of the estuaries. She has successfully decoded past 16 thousand years sea surface temperatures and salinity from the Arabian Sea that is unique in itself as there are no instrumental records. She has reported that precipitation was much higher than the present day ~ 11.8 thousand years ago, which was a new finding. She has also used nitrogen isotopes as a proxy to understand the denitrification changes in the Arabian Sea sediments. Her study using stable isotopes, geochemistry, and rock magnetic properties in the southeastern Arabian Sea inferred presence of certain pockets with low oxygenated bottom waters during the last glacial maximum. She has also used Sr-Nd istotopes, clay mineralogy in sediments of the western continental margin of India to infer provenance and the Bay of Bengal to infer changes in source of turbidites during the late Quaternary. Dr. Kesserkar has also worked on estuarine suspended particulate matter (SPM) and sediment aiming at estuarine health. Her work on diurnal variations in SPM during monsoons is first of its kind in India. She has brought to light the location and changes of estuarine turbidity maximum influenced by seasons, tides, winds. She has made a major contribution by pointing out significant metal pollution of Fe and Mn in SPM in major rivers of Goa during ore transport and uploading operations. She is also a recipient of young Scientist award from Indian National Science Academy (INSA) and Indian Science Congress Association and fellowships like INSA-Royal Society of Edinburgh and Raman Research Fellowship. She is a member of the CSIR XII Plan Network Projects “Ocean Science Towards Forecasting Indian Marine Living Resource Potential” and “Indian Aquatic Ecosystems: Impact of Deoxygenation, Eutrophication and Acidification”.
Congratulations to both Dr Pratima Kessarkar.