Academic

New publication: Review of Indian amphibian conservation genetic studies

India harbors high amphibian diversity. More than 80% of amphibians are endemic and have a narrow range of distribution. For most Indian amphibians, information on their genetic diversity is lacking. In this study, we have reviewed the overall trend in amphibian studies in India with specific focus on conservation genetics. Overall, out of 173 studies, there were only 14 studies that dealt with conservation of amphibians through genetic tools, while only five studies estimated genetic diversity and gene structure.

Snake venom study reveals troubling shortcomings in antivenom therapy in India

Commercially available antivenoms in India can be ineffective in treating bites from certain medically important yet neglected snakes, a study conducted by the Evolutionary Venomics Lab (www.venomicslab.com), has shown. These so called the ‘neglected many’, are snakes whose bites are harmful to humans, yet remain poorly studied.

New publication: Past climate change and the diversification of geckos from Peninsular India.

geckos

Around 33.5 million years ago, during the Eocene–Oligocene period, there was an abrupt shift towards a cooler drier climate. This resulted in a corresponding shift in biological diversity globally. In Peninsular India, the study of fossil pollens suggests a shift from wet rainforest vegetation to dry and seasonal species during this period. However, the grassland and open habitats that dominate the region today expanded relatively recently as a result of the Late Miocene aridification ~ 11 million years ago.

New species of tree crickets from Mexico named after CES alumna Natasha Mhatre

tree cricket

The Otomi tree cricket (Oecanthus mhatreae sp. nov.) which was recently described from the tropical deciduous forests of central Mexico has been named after a former CES student – Dr. Natasha Mhatre.  

Natasha gives us a behind-the scenes peek into how a part of the natural world came to bear her name. Read the full story here: https://twitter.com/NatashaMhatre/status/1167118606125195264

New publication: Morphological diversification of geckos from Peninsular India

Morphology

Studying adaptive radiations, such as Darwin's finches from the Galápagos Islands, can give us key insights into generalities of ecomorphological diversification. This paper from the Karanth lab examines morphological diversification in Hemidactylus geckos from Peninsular India that occur in a wide range of microhabitats. 

New publication on how Asian elephants make decisions about their diet

Contrary to the expected hypothesis that crop-raiding elephants in a human-dominated landscape will exhibit higher stress, the authors found that the stress levels were lower than expected, and it could be due to access to the superior quality of diet (as shown by higher NDVI and faecal Nitrogen content). 

Salient findings of the study: 

  1. Lower levels of faecal glucocorticoid metabolites (as a proxy of stress) in crop-raiding elephants, than the elephants in protected forests. 

New publication on Asian Elephant Thanatological behaviour

This paper deals with how wild Asian elephants react towards the injured, dying and dead conspecifics.  The branch of science that deals with understanding the reactions of individuals towards dead or death is termed 'Thanatology'. This is the first documentation on Asian elephants thanatological behaviour. 

Link to publication: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10329-019-00739-8 

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