Forest ecology- eco-physiology- taxonomy
Successional dynamics in Eucalyptus plantations:
As a part of the Field Course in Conservation Science- 2016 conducted by the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology & the Environment (ATREE) at Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Researve (KMTR), I worked on understanding the changes in both, the structural and functional aspects of naturally regenerating native forests beneath older Eucalyptus plantations over time.
Thermotolerance of tropical herbs:
At the Indian Institute of Science Education & Research (IISER)- Pune, along with Urmi Poddar and Dr. Deepak Barua, I worked on understanding the thermotolerance of selected tropical herbs across different functional groups. We then also correlated this thermotolerance with leaf functional traits. More details here.
As an outcome of a collaborative venture, we could clarify the confusion between two geophytic Euphorbias found in Maharashtra. Based on a thorough review of relevant literature, we recommended that Euphorbia panchganiensis to be treated as a synonym of Euphorbia khandallensis. Our paper has served as a valuable start point for delimiting the geophytic Euphorbias in India.
In 2015, a variety of Jatropha nana was described from West-Bengal based differences in root morphology and stipules. Based on first-hand observations and a thorough literature review, I concluded that this variation is also observed in the type (or original) species. Hence I merged this new variety into the type. Such mergers have important implications for the conservation of the species.
New species to science!
Along with Dr. Navendu Page, I described Miliusa malnadense- a new species to science from the wet evergreen forests of the Kudremukh National park in Karnataka Western Ghats. Full paper here. See media coverage of this discovery here, here and here
Apart from describing and reviewing species, taxonomy also includes nomenclature studies. Simply naming plants is'nt enough, there are several rules that must be followed in doing so and each name must be based on a 'type' or a reference specimen. During my masters project, I assigned a 'lectotype' to Jatropha nana since the holotype could not be traced.
Fergusson College’s Botany Department has a rich herbarium collection with more than 2000 specimens. For more information of the herbarium collections click here. This article also gives short biographical sketches of key botanists that were associated with the herbarium.
We successfully registered the Fergusson College Herbarium (with the acronym ‘FCP’) at Index Herbariorum, hosted by the New York Botanical Garden. Fergusson was the first college in the city to register its collections with Index Herbariorum, and second college in the state. Details of the herbarium can be found here
Specialty of the herbarium: ''It consists of about 150 historic, rare sheets that might have served as the materials for Cooke’s flora (1903-08). The herbarium also has over 700 sheets that form materials for the campus flora collected chiefly by V. D. Vartak (rest specimens collected from the Fergusson campus are currently at AHMA). Several other miscellaneous specimens that form vouchers for many local floras are present.''- as mentioned on the Index Herbariorum website.