Research Areas

Research in our group is focused on generating information and developing methods to support conservation decision making in tropical aquatic ecosystems. Our work cuts across multiple disciplines from taxonomy to evolutionary biogeography, fisheries management and conservation policies, and range from local to global scales. Over the last 16 years, much of our projects have focused on the conservation issues surrounding the freshwater fishes of the Western Ghats region (part of the Western Ghats – Sri Lanka Biodiversity Hotspot), but recent work has expanded to the complete aquatic spectrum from hill streams to estuaries and coastal waters to coral reef ecosystems.                                               

Current research is focused on the following themes:

  • Taxonomy, systematics and evolutionary biogeography of South Asian freshwater fishes 
  • Small-scale inland fisheries and its impacts on biodiversity and livelihoods 
  • Protected areas and freshwater biodiversity conservation
  • Extinction risk and the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™
  • Subterranean biodiversity of the Western Ghats
  • Conservation of mahseer fishes of the Indian subcontinent
  • Ecophysiology of freshwater fish
  • Taxonomy and systematics of poorly-known marine taxa
  • Conservation of syngnathUnmesh Katwate (PhD student)
    Thesis title: Systematics and evolution of small barbs (family: cyprinidae) of the Western Ghats
    Keywords: Puntius, Dawkinsia, Pethia, Taxonomy, Anatomy, Haludaria
    Google Scholar; Research Gateids 

Research Opportunities 

We are interested to hear from enthusiastic young scholars looking for opportunities to further their research career in aquatic biodiversity conservation. Currently, there is no vacant PhD position and new openings are expected only in 2020/2021. Potential postdoctoral applicants with excellent critical thinking, analytical and written skills are welcome to discuss opportunities for funding through various national/international fellowship programs. Postdocs will have the option to work on their own research questions or join one of the many ongoing projects that the group is currently interested in. Candidates may contact the PI to discuss potential ideas. Undergraduate and graduate students of life/environmental sciences can apply for summer training and internship for 1-2 months (longer periods also possible). There are also potential volunteering opportunities with existing PhD student projects, especially in the areas of marine and freshwater conservation for which enquiries may be addressed directly to the candidate whose work is of interest.