My research interests lie at the intersection of conservation biology, avian ecology and natural history. I aim to work towards advancing conservation efforts on the ground, using creative solutions backed by scientific research. A few of my current research projects are highlighted below.
Hiding in Plain Sight: Using Historical Data to Inform Avian Conservation in the Western Ghats
India's rich history of scientific exploration provides an opportunity to tap into a plethora of historical datasets available to inform biodiversity conservation.
In this project, I will quantify the response of avifauna to a century of landscape changes in the Nilgiris and the Anaimalais of the Western Ghats. Using data from historical maps, satellite images, diaries of ornithologists and journal articles within a statistical framework, I aim to identify areas of conservation importance for avifauna in the future. This project is being carried out in collaboration with academic institutions, non-governmental organizations and science communicators.
A feasibility study for this project was completed in August 2018 and I am currently awaiting funding to carry out this study.
Conservation through Sounds: Using a novel tool to evaluate forest restoration efforts in the Anaimalais
Increasing anthropogenic pressures of deforestation and forest degradation are threatening the natural heritage of the Western Ghats biodiversity hotspot. A novel solution lies in the use of acoustics to inform biodiversity conservation. Using non-invasive audio recorders along a gradient of forest regeneration, I aim to evaluate forest restoration efforts across the Anaimalais. This project will be carried out in collaboration with the Nature Conservation Foundation.
A feasibility study for this project was completed in June 2018 and in 2019, I received a small research grant from the Rufford Foundation to carry out this study. For more details on a long-term acoustic monitoring study across central India and the Western Ghats, click here.
pyResearchThemes: A open-source and open-access tool to identify research themes
The last decade has seen an increasing amount of published papers in literature across all scientific disciplines, thereby making it harder to identify focal areas of research. A typical literature review will involve combing through hundreds of published papers before any broad synthesis can be made. In collaboration with Sarthak J Shetty, a novel tool is being developed that can scrape scientific journals for abstracts, identify frequencies of keywords across these abstracts, extract insights from this data using a topic modeling framework and visualize the same. This free-for-all tool is currently being stored here (still in development).
To test an application of this tool, we ask: What are the key research themes in the field of Conservation Biology? and how do these conservation associated research themes vary across biodiversity hotspots?
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