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FQRNT Internship 2014: An opportunity to learn about unique ecosystem from Western Ghats, India

I am a PhD student in Biology department, Concordia University. In the summer of 2014, I did 5 months internship at School of Ecology and Conservation, UAS, Bangalore and Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and Environment (ATREE), Bangalore, India. My doctoral thesis is focused on understanding the patterns of evolutionary diversification of Myristicaceae members within the Indian subcontinent. I employ combination of molecular phylogenetic, population genetic and GIS tools to track colonization history and diversification of Myristicaceae members within Indian subcontinent. Basically, this internship helped me to get trained in GIS tools such as species distribution modelling, landscape genetics analysis tools and field survey techniques which are important for my PhD project. Moreover, I had an opportunity to work with my Indian colleagues.

Thanks to QCBS, this internship also gave me an opportunity to go for extensive field work in Western Ghats, India to collect plant samples of Myristicaceae for phylogenetic and population genetic analysis. I basically collected plant samples of Gymnacranthera canarica, a Myristicaceae member endemic to Myristica swamps of Western Ghats. Myristica swamps are very unique and highly threatened ecosystem in Western Ghats, dominated by plants of Myristicaceae (Gymnacranthera canarica and Myristica fatua) and they have unique adaptation for flooding environment such as knee root and stilt root. These Myristica swamps harbors rich biodiversity including endemic flora and fauna and also play a major role in conserving ground water. However, their origin and diversification across Western Ghats remain unknown. Using Gymnacranthera canarica as a model system from Myristica swamps, I am trying to answer few questions related to origin and diversification of Myristica swamps across Western Ghats.

Fieldwork in Myristica swamps, Southern India

My internship in India was very productive and gave me an opportunity to learn new techniques which are important to accomplish my PhD. Moreover, it gave me an opportunity to visit my family in India and work along with my Indian Professors and colleagues in the field. Finally, there are hundreds of sweet memories to recall during this internship but there are few here captured in snaps.

Me with my collegues and field assistants in Myristica swamps.

Me with my collegues in Sherdurney Wildlife Sanctuary, Kerala.

Post date: August 27, 2014


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