Research Scholar, High Altitudes
MSc, University of St Andrews
My fascination with the natural world began in the forests of the Western Ghats, when I used to visit these areas during my summer vacations. I first got involved in wildlife research in India by volunteering with various conservation organisations in my undergraduate days. I completed my Bachelor's in Microbiology, Zoology, and Chemistry from the St Joseph's College of Arts and Science in Bangalore. To further my interests in wildlife research, I pursued a Masters in Environmental Biology from the University of St Andrews in Scotland.
My previous research experience includes studying the acoustics of the Northern Bottlenose Whales in Iceland; estimating species richness of amphibians in the Payamino region in the Amazonian Ecuador; and studying amphibians in changing land-uses in the Annamalai hills. I previously worked as the conservation coordinator in NCF's high altitude programme. During this time I worked on a variety of conservation issues and on conservation education, in the Trans-Himalayas .
My current research interests are in the area of ecosystem service use in the Indian Trans-Himalayas.
- Journal Article2017The value of ecosystem services in the high altitude Spiti Valley, Indian Trans-Himalayahttps://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoser.2017.10.018Download
PDF, 645 KB
The high mountain ranges of South and Central Asia are increasingly being exposed to large-scale development projects. These areas are home to traditional pastoralist communities and internationally important biodiversity including the endangered snow leopard Panthera uncia. Development projects rely on economic cost-benefit analysis, but the ecosystem services in the high Himalayas are poorly understood and are rarely accounted for. As a first step to fill this gap, we identified the main ecosystem services used by local people in the Trans-Himalayan Spiti Valley (7591 km2), a region important for conservation of snow leopards and high mountain biodiversity, and undertook an economic valuation. Stakeholders identified a range of services, though these were dominated by provisioning services identified by 90% of respondents. Only 5.4% of the respondents recognised regulatory services and 4.8% recognised cultural services. The mean economic value of provisioning services was estimated at US$ 3622 ± 149 HH−1 yr−1, which was 3.8 times higher than the average annual household income. Our results underscore the need to account for ecosystem services in the cost-benefit analyses of large-scale development projects in addition to assessments of their environmental and social impact.
- Popular Article2017The fascinating world of fungiThe Hindu in School, 22 October
- Report2017Valuation of Ecosystem Services in Snow Leopard Landscapes of AsiaMurali, R., Lkhagvajav, P., Saeed, U., Kizi, V.A., Zhumbai-Uulu, K., Nawaz, M.A., Bhatnagar, Y.V., Sharma, K., Mishra, C. 2017. Valuation of ecosystem services in snow leopard landscapes of Asia. Snow Leopard Trust, Nature Conservation Foundation, Snow Leopard Conservation Foundation, Snow Leopard Foundation Kyrgyzstan, and Snow Leopard Foundation Pakistan. Report Submitted to the Global Environment Facility (GEF) funded United Nations Development Program (UNDP) project on Transboundary Cooperation for Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Conservation.
- Popular Article2015Nono: king of the mountainsThe Hindu in School, 18 March
- Poster2014Fungi of the Western Ghatssupported by Critical Ecosystem Partnership FundDownload
PDF, 177 MB
Cyathus, Amanita, Coprinus, Schizophyllum, Cordyceps, Omphalotus
- Popular Article2013Strange fish in familiar watersThe Hindu in School, 14 August
- Popular Article2013Lantana I.A.S. (Invasive Alien Species)The Hindu in School, 7 August
- Popular Article2013A morning with ‘Bloated Stomach’The Hindu in School, 8 May
- Popular Article2012The land of the fungusThe Hindu in School, 15 August
- Journal Article2012Streamside amphibian communities in plantations and a rainforest fragment in the Anamalai hills, IndiaJournal of Threatened Taxa 4: 2849–2856.Download
PDF, 3.44 MB
Stream amphibian communities, occupying a sensitive environment, are often useful indicators of effects of adjoining land uses. We compared abundance and community composition of anuran amphibians along streams in tea monoculture, shade coffee plantation, and a rainforest fragment in Old Valparai area of the Anamalai hills. Overall species density and rarefaction species richness was the highest in rainforest fragment and did not vary between the coffee and tea land uses. Densities of certain taxa, and consequently community composition, varied significantly among the land uses, being greater between rainforest fragment and tea monoculture with shade coffee being intermediate. Observed changes are probably related to streamside alteration due to land use, suggesting the need to retain shade tree cover and remnant riparian rainforest vegetation as buffers along streams.