- Popular Article2013Bringing back a commonerThe Hindu in School, 27 February
- Dataset2013Data from: Influence of gaze and directness of approach on the escape responses of the Indian rock lizard, Psammophilus dorsalis (Gray, 1831).Dryad Digital Repository. doi:10.5061/dryad.1h551
Contains both raw data and analysis scripts. Permanent link to the dataset and scripts on Dryad:
- Poster2013Poster designed to carry out awareness programs regarding human-leopard conflictMarch 2013Download
JPG, 1.17 MB
Leopard outreach activities are carried out based on the locations identified through conflict monitoring activity. This poster specifically designed to address conflict issues is distributed to communities to minimize anxiety and help in conflict reduction.
- Popular Article2013Three different voicesThe Hindu in School, 17 July
- Journal Article2013Antelope mating strategies facilitate invasion of grasslands by a woody weed.Oikos. 122(10): 1441-1452.Download
PDF, 357 KB
Intra and interspecific variation in frugivore behaviour can have important consequences for seed dispersal outcomes. However, most information comes from among-species comparisons, and within-species variation is relatively poorly understood. We examined how large intraspecific differences in the behaviour of a native disperser, blackbuck antelope Antilope cervicapra, influence dispersal of a woody invasive, Prosopis juliflora, in a grassland ecosystem. Blackbuck disperse P. juliflora seeds through their dung. In lekking blackbuck populations, males defend clustered or dispersed mating territories. Territorial male movement is restricted, and within their territories males defecate on dung-piles. In contrast, mixed-sex herds range over large areas and do not create dung-piles. We expected territorial males to shape seed dispersal patterns, and seed deposition and seedling recruitment to be spatially localized. Territorial males had a disproportionately large influence on seed dispersal. Adult males removed twice as much fruit as females, and seed arrival was disproportionately high on territories. Also, because lek-territories are clustered, seed arrival was spatially highly concentrated. Seedling recruitment was also substantially higher on territories compared with random sites, indicating that the local concentration of seeds created by territorial males continued into high local recruitment of seedlings. Territorial male behaviour may, thus, result in a distinct spatial pattern of invasion of grasslands by the woody P. juliflora. An ex situ experiment showed no beneficial effect of dung and a negative effect of light on seed germination. We conclude that large intraspecific behavioural differences within frugivore populations can result in significant variation in their effectiveness as seed dispersers. Mating strategies in a disperser could shape seed dispersal, seedling recruitment and potentially plant distribution patterns. These mating strategies may aid in the spread of invasives, such as P. juliflora, which could, in turn, negatively influence the behaviour and ecology of native dispersers.
- Journal Article2013Can wetlands maintained for human use also help conserve biodiversity? Landscape–scale patterns of bird use of wetlands in an agricultural landscape in north IndiaBiological Conservation 168: 49-56. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2013.09.016
Wetlands in tropical agricultural landscapes are maintained largely by local institutions explicitly for human use, which is assumed to deter biodiversity. Conservation efforts have been biased towards protecting large wetlands that are assumed to be adequate to conserve the majority of species of focal taxa, usually birds. These assumptions remain untested, and landscape-scale conservation planning for wetlands is largely absent, as is a generalised understanding of wetland use by focal taxa. We designed a landscape-scale survey to understand patterns and processes determining beta diversity of birds using agricultural wetlands in south-western Uttar Pradesh, India where wetlands have experienced prolonged and intensive human use for several centuries. Observed bird species richness (99 species in 28 wetlands) is the highest known for any agricultural landscape in south Asia signifying that even intensive human use of wetlands does not necessarily deter their ability to retain biodiversity. Birds exhibited strong scale
dependent wetland use underscoring the need to conserve wetlands of varying sizes and at varying densities on the landscape. Beta diversity was due largely to species turnover (0.877) with minimal effect due to nestedness (0.055) suggesting that conserving a few large wetlands will not adequately meet goals of conserving the majority of wetland bird species. Prevailing assumptions regarding biodiversity conservation in tropical agricultural wetlands require being revised, and a landscape-scale approach that incorporates ecological realities is needed. Incorporating local institutions alongside formal protectionist methods offer a potential win–win situation to maximise conservation of biodiversity in tropical agricultural wetlands.
- Journal Article2013Records of small carnivores from in and around Namdapha Tiger Reserve, Arunachal Pradesh, India.Small Carnivore Conservation 49: 1-8.Download
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For most of Northeast India’s diverse assemblage of small carnivores, direct observations and ecological information are limited. Opportunistic direct observations and camera-trap records from 2008 to 2013 in eastern Arunachal Pradesh recorded 11 small carnivore species of the 20 likely to occur. Observations included the first confirmed Small-toothed Palm Civet Arctogalidia trivirgata sighting from India; dietary observations of five species and hunting of two species.
- Popular Article2013Fungi forayThe Hindu, Young World, 29th January 2013.
Jeganathan, P. (2013). Fungi foray. The Hindu, Young World, 29th January 2013. http://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/kids/fungi-foray/article4353151.ece
- Journal Article2013Influence of gaze and directness of approach on the escape responses of the Indian Rock Lizard, Psammophilus dorsalis (Gray, 1831).Journal of Biosciences. 38(5): 829–833.Download
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Free download from J. Biosciences webpage:
Animals often evaluate the degree of risk posed by a predator and respond accordingly. Since many predators orient their eyes towards prey while attacking, predator gaze and directness of approach could serve as conspicuous indicators of risk to prey. The ability to perceive these cues and discriminate between high and low predation risk should benefit prey species through both higher survival and decreased energy expenditure. We experimentally examined whether Indian rock lizards (Psammophilus dorsalis) can perceive these two indicators of predation risk by measuring the variation in their fleeing behaviour in response to type of gaze and approach by a human predator. Overall, we found that the gaze and approach of the predator influenced flight initiation distance, which also varied with attributes of the prey (i.e. size/sex and tail-raise behaviour). Flight initiation distance (FID) was 43% longer during direct approaches with direct gaze compared with tangential approaches with averted gaze. In further, exploratory, analyses, we found that FID was 23% shorter for adult male lizards than for female or young male (FYM) lizards. In addition, FYM lizards that showed a tail-raise display during approach had a 71% longer FID than those that did not. Our results suggest that multiple factors influence the decision to flee in animals. Further studies are needed to test the generality of these factors and to investigate the proximate mechanisms underlying flight decisions.
- Journal Article2013Long-Term occupancy trends in a data-poor dugong population in the Andaman and Nicobar ArchipelagoPLoS One. 8(10): e76181
Prioritizing efforts for conserving rare and threatened species with limited past data and lacking population estimates is predicated on robust assessments of their occupancy rates. This is particularly challenging for elusive, long-lived and wide- ranging marine mammals. In this paper we estimate trends in long-term (over 50 years) occupancy, persistence and extinction of a vulnerable and data-poor dugong (Dugong dugon) population across multiple seagrass meadows in the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago (India). For this we use hierarchical Bayesian dynamic occupancy models accounting for false negatives (detection probability,1), persistence and extinction, to two datasets: a) fragmentary long-term occurrence records from multiple sources (1959–2004, n = 40 locations), and b) systematic detection/non-detection data from current surveys (2010–2012, n = 57). Dugong occupancy across the archipelago declined by 60% (from 0.45 to 0.18) over the last 20 years and present distribution was largely restricted to sheltered bays and channels with seagrass meadows dominated by Halophila and Halodule sp. Dugongs were not found in patchy meadows with low seagrass cover. In general, seagrass habitat availability was not limiting for dugong occupancy, suggesting that anthropogenic factors such as entanglement in gillnets and direct hunting may have led to local extinction of dugongs from locations where extensive seagrass meadows still thrive. Effective management of these remnant dugong populations will require a multi-pronged approach, involving 1) protection of areas where dugongs still persist, 2) monitoring of seagrass habitats that dugongs could recolonize, 3) reducing gillnet use in areas used by dugongs, and 4) engaging with indigenous/settler communities to reduce impacts of hunting.
- Popular Article2013A morning with ‘Bloated Stomach’The Hindu in School, 8 May
- Popular Article2013Not so deserted, after all!The Hindu in School, 6 November
- Popular Article2013Death in the hillsIndian Express, The Sunday Express Magazine
Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) had made its way into the mountains from the plains of Pasighat in Arunachal Pradesh. The worst affected were the semi-domesticated mithun (Bos frontalis) that were dying out even as their owners watched helplessly. Each day, as one more animal was found dead in the forest or beside the road, another few were seen salivating profusely from the mouth as the infection spread rapidly.
- Book Chapter2013Bonnet macaque Macaca radiataPages 148-169 in A J T Johnsingh and N Manjrekar (editors) Mammals of South Asia, Volume 1, Universities Press, Hyderabad
- Popular Article2013Shooting down bharalENVIRONDownload
PDF, 2.6 MB
Talks about exploring a remote valley in Kinnaur and a fascinating sighting of bharal or blue sheep
- Book Chapter2013Anthropogenic Influences on Macaque Populations and Their Genetic ConsequencesPages 209 to 224 in S. Radhakrisna and A. Sinha (editors) The Macaque Connection: Cooperation and Conflict between Humans and Macaques, Springer, New Delhi.Download
PDF, 338 KB
Human–macaque interactions constitute a complex phenomenon influencing perhaps the biology of the macaque more profoundly than ours. At the population level, humans tend to influence the distribution, demography, immunology and even behaviour of the macaque species they interact with though none of these interactions are ever simple. These works at different levels, interacting, in turn, with other environmental factors and most of these impacts are likely to have genetic consequences over the long term. In this chapter, we reviewed available literature on anthropogenic impacts on macaque populations. We should, however, stress that our current state of knowledge, unfortunately, suffers from a serious lack of insight into such genetic impacts. There is, therefore, a dire need for long-term genetic monitoring programmes to understand the effect of anthropogenic factors on the dispersal and demography of different macaque species.
- Journal Article2013Role of Tibetan Buddhist Monasteries in Snow Leopard ConservationConservation Biology. DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12135
- Journal Article2013Globalization of the Cashmere Market and the Decline of Large Mammals in Central AsiaConservation Biology 27: 679-689
- Book2013The Macaque Connection: Cooperation and Conflict between Humans and MacaquesSeries: Developments in Primatology: Progress and Prospects, Vol. 43, Springer, New Delhi
Most successful among the non-human primates in terms of geographical distribution and adaptability to ecological habitats, macaques have existed for many thousands of years in close contact with modern humans, the only primate more successful than them. Centuries-old literary works attest to the fact that macaques have always been an intrinsic part of human lives and imaginations. In their interactions with humans, macaques play multiple roles that often transcend the boundaries of categorization. They are often, simultaneously, wildlife and domestic pets, sentient beings and experimental subjects, crop-raiding pests and religious symbols. In many parts of the tropics, macaques are an economic resource for human communities, as they provide meat and money through tourism and the animal trade. Equally, they cause much damage and bring about great economic losses due to their crop- and house-raiding tendencies. A more recent cause for alarm has been the possibility of transmission of diseases to humans due to contact with macaques. Across Asia, macaques, perhaps more than any other animal species, exemplify the multiple facets of synurbization and the conservation problems of commensal species. Humans and macaques associate in rather remarkable ways, and this volume explores the tone and nature of those human-macaque connections by focusing on various forms of interactions between macaques and humans, change in human attitudes vis-à-vis macaques over the ages, cultural views on macaques, human-macaque conflict and its conservation implications. Its holistic perspective of the myriad aspects that illustrate the singular relationship between men and macaques makes it essential reading not only for primatologists and anthropologists but also for anyone interested in the intricacies of human-animal relations.
- Journal Article2013Green turtle herbivory dominates the fate of seagrass primary production in the Lakshadweep islands (Indian Ocean)Marine Ecology Progress Series. 485:235-243
Historical global declines of megaherbivores from marine ecosystems have hitherto contributed to an understanding of seagrass meadow production dominated by detrital path- ways — a paradigm increasingly being questioned by recent re-evaluations of the importance of herbivory. Recoveries in green turtle populations at some locations provide an ideal opportunity to examine effects of high megaherbivore densities on the fate of seagrass production. We conducted direct field measurements of aboveground herbivory and shoot elongation rates in 9 seagrass meadows across 3 atolls in the Lakshadweep Archipelago (India) representing a gradient of green turtle densities. Across all meadows, green turtles consumed an average of 60% of the total leaf growth. As expected, herbivory rates were positively related to turtle density and ranged from being almost absent in meadows with few turtles, to potentially overgrazed meadows (ca. 170% of leaf growth) where turtles were abundant. Turtle herbivory also substantially reduced shoot elongation rates. Simulated grazing through clipping experiments confirmed this trend: growth rates rapidly declined to almost half in clipped plots relative to control plots. At green turtle den- sities similar to historical estimates, herbivory not only dominated the fate of seagrass primary pro- duction but also drastically reduced production rates in grazed meadows. Intensive turtle grazing and associated movement could also modify rates of detrital cycling, leaf export and local carbon burial, with important consequences for the entire seascape.