Research Areas

Diversity, distribution and evolution of freshwater fishes

The Western Ghats region is  an exceptional hotspot of freshwater fish diversity and endemism with over 300 species (60% endemism), including several biogeographically unique lineages. Despite over 200 years of exploration and research, the ichthyofauna of the region continues to be poorly known, and is beset by the ‘Linnaean’, ‘Wallacean’ and ‘Darwinian’ shortfalls. Our research in this area has led to the description of eight new species, one new genus and a unique family of freshwater fish to science, besides solving long-standing taxonomic and phylogeographic issues.

 

Freshwater biodiversity and inland fisheries

res4Rivers of Western Ghats, support poorly known commercial and subsistence fisheries. High human population density including the presence of several marginalized forest-dwelling communities, and their congregation along the banks of major rivers has resulted in a very high dependence on endemic and threatened species. Using a combination of biological, socioeconomic and management methods, we try to understand the extent of human dependence on freshwater biodiversity in Western Ghats, and develop strategies for their sustainable use.

 

Conservation assessments, extinction risk and the IUCN Red List

The IUCN Red List is one of the world’s most comprehensive data-base on the extinction risk and conservation status of species. Information on the Red List status of species are important for policy implementation and decision making at the global, national, and regional levels. Our work in this area specifically involves coordinating efforts to update the IUCN Red List database on the status of freshwater fishes of the South Asia region in collaboration with the South Asia Office of the IUCN SSC/WI Freshwater Fish Specialist Group.