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Spoorthy Raman

I love words. I admire science. I put them together to be a science writer. I evolved into a journalist. Now, I write about science, environment and everything in between for readers big and small.

I am based in St. John's, the easternmost city in North America famed for its picturesque landscapes and visiting icebergs.  

My Latest Work

About Me

I'm an award-winning science and environment journalist based in St. John's, Canada. My words have been published in many national and international media outlets.  

How I Work

Journalism is under attack today from many quarters. Conspiracy theories abound. To win my reader's trust, I believe being critical, transparent and accurate in my reporting is key. 

My Ethos

My ethos lie in treating people and their lived experiences with respect, bringing diverse perspectives in my stories, strengthening relationships with my sources and building communities.

Get in Touch

Liked my stories? Have a story tip? Want to tell me about a cool project you are working on (Scientists, looking at you!)? Interested to work with me? Want me to speak at an event? Let's talk!

My Articles

Big promises to Indigenous groups from new global nature fund — but will it deliver?

VANCOUVER — The devastating wildfires in the interior of British Columbia, Canada, in mid-August, forced the province into a state of emergency and gloom. But just a few days later, as the smoky skies of Vancouver began to clear up, environmentalists found a reason to cheer.

About 1,500 delegates representing environmental ministries, youth, women, Indigenous Peoples, and civil society gathered in the coastal city to promise a slew of actions to save the planet’s biodiversity. One of them came

Expected ship traffic to LNG Canada port could see whale deaths also rise

In September 2022, researchers at BC Whales, a Canadian research nonprofit studying cetaceans in the north of British Columbia province, gasped when they saw a drone image of a humpback whale known as Moon. Each summer, she regularly visited the many meandering waterways in the region with her calves, along with hundreds of other humpbacks, feeding in the food-rich, tranquil waters. But this time, she looked different.

Moon’s spine was crooked and her back half was paralyzed, probably after bei

How to make the leap into industry after a PhD

You can also search for this author in PubMed Google Scholar

Spoorthy Raman is a freelance science and environment journalist in St. John’s, Canada.

Landing that first job in industry requires planning, homework and networking — and a bit of soul-searching.

Melanie Zeppel stepped off the academic path to become a data scientist in industry. Credit: Stephen Jackson

Plant physiologist Melanie Zeppel had heard that hard work, a good publication list and securing highly competitive postdoctoral

Progress is slow on Africa’s Great Green Wall, but some bright spots bloom

The southern fringes of the Sahara are dynamic. As rainfall varies, land patches on the edge chop and change between green and arid brown. Human activities, like overgrazing, deforestation or poor irrigation, further degrade some of the already arid parts of the Sahel, resulting in desertification. As the planet heats up, changes in rainfall patterns can cause longer dry spells on the southern boundaries of the Sahara, stretching the desert further down, and affecting nearly a million people and

Snakebite: India’s silent killer

Inherently shy, snakes can turn defensive when disturbed or threatened. The slithering reptiles then bite by injecting a cocktail of toxins at the intruder through their fangs. Based on the species of snake, the toxins can over time cause respiratory paralysis, bleeding, breakdown of muscle fibres, shocks, organ failures, and death. It only takes a few hours to sniff out human life with a snake bite.

Studies estimate that each year, about five million snake bites occur around the world, while 8

Volunteers, First Nations work to bring back a disappearing oak prairie

On the eastern edge of Victoria, British Columbia, abutting the Salish Sea, sits Uplands Park, spanning about 30 hectares, or 74 acres, amid the bustling municipality of Oak Bay. Although an urban park, it lacks manicured lawns, ornamental flowers or asphalted walkways — quintessential elements of modern-day urban parks.

Instead, the landscape is sprinkled with stunted, gnarled and crooked oak trees. A few shrubs of snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus) and ocean spray (Holodiscus discolor), and som

For urban poor in Global South, nature-based solutions have always been a way to get by

We live in a rapidly urbanizing world, with half of humanity now concentrated in cities.

Without adequate and affordable housing, more than a billion people live in informal settlements or urban slums, which lack essential infrastructure and services such as sanitation and secure land tenure.

As the climate changes, people living in these informal areas are increasingly at risk.

“Informal settlements are some of the areas that are disproportionately affected by disasters,” says urban research

What it means to practise values-based research

Max Liboiron’s academic career criss-crossed science a few times before finding an interdisciplinary home in geography. Growing up in the rural hamlet of Lac la Biche in northeastern Alberta, Canada, where university education wasn’t common, Liboiron dreamt of being a scientist. But in 1998, when they began undergraduate science studies, they became disillusioned with their university’s push towards industrial applications of science and so gravitated towards fine arts instead. After earning a b

Habitat loss due to tourism in the Western Ghats pushes endangered frogs to the edge

The picturesque Munnar in Kerala, with its lush green tea gardens carpet rolling hills, sits at the south of biodiversity hotspot that is the Western Ghats. Coffee and cardamom plantations intersperse the tea gardens, giving this lofty range the name Cardamom Hills. Groves of eucalyptus, black wattle and acacia — trees grown for firewood and timber — are peppered within these plantations.

Patches of shola forests — stunted tropical montane forests which once covered all these hills — lie scatte

Tourism boom in Kerala’s Western Ghats threatens to wipe out habitat of endemic frog species

Nestled within the lofty Cardamom Hills, which forms part of the Western Ghats Unesco World Heritage Site, lies the picturesque town of Munnar in Kerala. Lush green tea gardens carpet the rolling hills of the Western Ghats, a biodiversity hotspot, interspersed by coffee and cardamom plantations. Groves of eucalyptus, black wattle and acacia – trees grown for firewood and timber – are peppered within these plantations.

Patches of shola forests – stunted tropical montane forests which once covere

Biodiversity map reveals conservation priority areas

The need to protect various living forms, many of which are disappearing at an unprecedented rate, is often an afterthought in today’s human-centric world. Although our well-being strongly depends on the health of our environment, measures to protect the natural world are met with sluggish actions.

“The only effective way to conserve biodiversity is to integrate conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and human welfare,” says ecologist Kamaljit S Bawa, Founder of Bengaluru-based Ashoka

As tourism booms in India’s Western Ghats, habitat loss pushes endangered frogs to the edge

Nestled within the lofty Cardamom Hills, which forms part of the Western Ghats UNESCO World Heritage Site, lies the picturesque town of Munnar in the southern Indian state of Kerala. Lush green tea gardens carpet the rolling hills of the Western Ghats, a biodiversity hotspot, interspersed by coffee and cardamom plantations. Groves of eucalyptus, black wattle and acacia—trees grown for firewood and timber—are peppered within these plantations.

Patches of shola forests—stunted tropical montane fo

Shining the Light on Baby Crabs

It’s a gray summer evening on Galiano Island, a long strip of land about 1.5 kilometers across at its narrowest. Home to nearly 1,400 people, it is one of the 200-odd islands and islets in the Gulf Islands archipelago dotting the Salish Sea between Vancouver Island, British Columbia, and the mainland coast. The air here at the wooden pier in Whaler Bay on the island’s southeast end is heavy and moist, tinged with a whiff of boat fuel and old wood, and infused with sea salt. Amid a lineup of moto

The other face of fear

In the past couple of months, I have written about what fear might look like in our pets. Fear is complex. Fear is understudied. Fear is often misunderstood. As humans, we find it uncomfortable to talk about fear, and it takes enormous effort to deal with it and overcome our fears. A cockroach can scare me to death even today — no matter how many I have seen in my life, and despite my understanding that they can do no harm. What hopes do we have in understanding fear in our pets, who don’t speak

PNG youths’ loss of tradition is bad news for hunting — but also for conservation

With two-thirds of the country draped in dense, tropical rainforests, Papua New Guinea is home to diverse wildlife, including several marsupial species, flightless cassowaries, and vibrant birds-of-paradise. Just as diverse are the cultures of its people, who have inhabited the land for nearly 50,000 years, first as hunter-gatherers and later as agriculturalists.

Today, more than 85% of the country’s population live in rural and remote areas, where subsistence hunting is still a part of life. P

Indigenous funding model is a win-win for ecosystems and local economies in Canada

• First Nations in the Great Bear Rainforest and Haida Gwaii of Canada, have successfully invested in conservation initiatives that have benefited ecosystems while also increasing communities’ well-being over the past 15 years, a recent report shows.
• Twenty-seven First Nations spent nearly C$109 million ($79 million) toward 439 environmental and economic development projects in their territories, inclu

Here's how deforestation is raising the risk of wildfires in Borneo

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Deforestation fans fire risk in Borneo as temperatures rise

The dry season of 2015 was a devastating one for Indonesia, with around 100,000 fires engulfing thousands of hectares of tropical rainforests and carbon-rich peatlands on the islands of Sumatra, Borneo and New Guinea.

The infernos, strengthened by dry weather caused by El Niño, raged for months, in the process emitting more carbon dioxide than a year’s worth of US economic activity. The haze spread so far it threatened public health not just in Indonesia, but also in Singapore, Malaysia and Tha

Mining the sea floor: Implications for biodiversity

An air of urgency permeates the offices of the International Seabed Authority (ISA), the international agency in Kingston, Jamaica, tasked with regulating mining-related activities on the ocean floor. Overlooking the Caribbean Sea through their windows, representatives from the 168 member states are scrambling to finalize the Mining Code, a rule book that will govern the commercial extraction of deep sea minerals.

For over a decade, different organs of the ISA have been working toward framing r
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