Narayana Balakrishnan Nair did his PhD (1955) and DSc (1965) from University of Madras. He worked as Head, Department of Aquatic Biology and Fisheries (1968-80), Dean, Faculty of Science (1976-78), University of Kerala; and CSIR Emeritus Scientist (1991- ).
Academic and Research Achievements:Nair has brought to light the taxonomy, functional morphology, embryology, reproductive biology, digestive physiology and ecology of organisms concerned with biodegradation of cellulose in aquatic habitats. He elucidated the biology of several species of shellfish and fin fish, their pathology and aquacultural techniques. He made noteworthy contributions to the ecology of tropical wetlands and their conservation; and ecology of marine algae, mangrove and sea grasses. He is considered an expert on biodeterioration of cellulose materials in aquatic environment. He authored three books: Text Book on Marine Ecology (MacMillan), Discovery of the Ocean (NCERT), and Paristhithivignanam (Ecology) (Government of Kerala).
Other Contributions:Based on his report on Marine Resources Management in Kerala, the state government imposed the epoch-making `Ban on Monsoon Trawling’ resulting in the conservation of the shrimp resources along the south-west coast of India. He served as Chairman of the Indo-Dutch Mission for the Kallada Environmental Action Programme (1991), and State (Kerala) Committee on Science & Technology and Environment; and Secretary, Department of Science, Technology and Environment, Kerala (1986-91). He served as INSA Council Member (1978-80), Chief Editor of the journal Aquatic Biology (1980-86) and Member of the Editorial boards of 8 journals.
Awards and Honours:Dr Nair was conferred the Chandrakala Hora Memorial Medal by INSA (1988), Jawaharlal Nehru Fellowship (1982), SS Bhatnagar Prize (1971), UGC National Lecturership (1979), All India Congress of Zoology Gold Medal (1980), and Padma Shri (1984). He was elected Fellow of the Zoological Society of London, Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore, National Academy of Sciences (India), Allahabad, Zoological Society of India, Marine Biological Association of India, and National Academy of Agricultural Sciences, New Delhi (Founder Fellow).