Varun Raghunandan Torsekar

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Name: Varun Raghunandan Torsekar

I was ‘Born into Biology’, so to speak, with my parents and several relatives being medical doctors. I hated maths with a passion (still do). I was almost pre-destined to be one more doctor in the family tree. But in high school, it dawned on me that I was just too lazy to be one. This epiphany was further reinforced by abysmal performances in different pre-medical entrance examinations that I appeared for. Since I’ve always had a peripheral interest in the animal world, I decided to give Zoology a shot. It was while pursuing my B.Sc. from the University of Bombay that I developed an interest in ecology and realised that I could actually earn money by being a wildlife biologist. Following a M.Sc. in Widlife Science at WII, Dehradun and a brief stint as a volunteer at the Bombay Natural History Society, I joined the Ph.D. program at IISc in 2008.

In general, I am intrigued by the phenomenon of speciation and the issue of cryptic species. Specifically, I am interested the evolutionary and biogeographic history of certain endemic anuran groups of the Western Ghats, their relationships with each other, and the factors that drive speciation in these groups. For my Ph.D., I am working on the evolutionary history of the frog genus Nyctibatrachus from the Western Ghats. I also keep track of topics associated with the conundrum of declining amphibian populations.

Selected Publications: 

Gower, D., Giri, V., Torsekar, V.R. , Gaikwad, K., & Wilkinson, M. 2013. On the taxonomic status of Gegeneophis nadkarnii Bhatta & Prashanth, 2004 (Amphibia: Gymnophiona: Indotyphlidae). Zootaxa 3609 (2): 204–212

Torsekar, V.R. 2006. Wildlife Facts: Global Amphibian Declines. Wildlife Institute Newsletter, Summer 13 (2): 8

Kartik Shanker