QE: Discovery, evolutionary ecology, and conservation of rare endemic frogs in Western Ghats, India (Seshadri Kadaba Shamanna, 5/10, 3.30pm)

Department of Biological Sciences, NUS
Qualifying Examination

Discovery, evolutionary ecology, and conservation of rare endemic frogs in Western Ghats, India
Speaker:          Seshadri Kadaba Shamanna (Graduate Student, Dept. of Biological Sciences, NUS)
Date:               5 Oct 2015, Monday
Time:               3.30pm
Venue:            Conference Room-II (S1, Level 3, mezzanine)
Supervisor:     Asst Prof Bickford, David Patrick

Abstract: –

Amphibians are facing increased threats of extinction and population declines. With about 40% of all amphibians already threatened globally, conservation action is imperative. But formulating effective conservation interventions is a challenge because of several knowledge gaps in species’ ecology and behaviour. The Western Ghats of India is a biodiversity hotspot known for an impressive adaptive radiation of frogs. In the last decade, over one hundred new species have been discovered and yet, information about natural history and ecology for most species is sparse and/or anecdotal. In my thesis, I bridge the knowledge gap by uncovering new behaviours and species, understanding the radiation in an evolutionary ecology framework, and finally, highlight the need for conservation action for the rich amphibian diversity in India. Specifically, (1) I will highlight the important role played by natural history observations in enabling the discovery of a novel reproductive behaviour in amphibians (2) Use tools like integrative taxonomy, citizen-science and engagement, and ancient DNA from museum specimens to discover and/or re-describe new species of frogs. (3) Undertake the first quantitative study to understand reproductive behaviour in frogs of South Asia and shed light on the adaptive significance of parental care behaviour and lastly, (4) I will identify threats and challenges, and formulate conservation strategies for rare and endangered frogs in the Western Ghats.

 All are welcome

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