Academic Committee

Dr. Anant Pande
Programme Head - Marine Megafauna

Anant has a PhD in Wildlife Science from Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun. His doctoral research focused on understanding breeding patterns and genetic connectivity between distant breeding populations of climate-dependent Antarctic seabirds. He has previously worked upon a multitude of marine taxa including Antarctic krill, dugongs, pelagic seabirds and baleen whales. He also served as a key team member in developing the National Biodiversity Targets, revision of National Biodiversity Action Plan and reviewing Marine Protected Area network in India.  

Anant joined the WCS-India Marine Program in November 2021 and will work to develop strategies to quantify and mitigate marine megafauna bycatch along selected sectors of Indian coastline.  


 

Dr. Arjun Srivathsa
Programme Head - Dhole Project

Arjun joined WCS–India in 2012. He obtained his Master of Science degree in Wildlife Biology and Conservation from the graduate program offered by NCBS–WCS in 2012. He obtained his PhD from the University of Florida, USA in 2020. His doctoral research focused on conservation ecology of dholes. He is currently a DST INSPIRE Fellow at the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS–TIFR) and an Affiliate Scientist with WCS–India.

Arjun’s past and on-going collaborative projects include studies of carnivore ecology, applied conservation research, human-carnivore interactions, country- and region-scale conservation prioritizations, and methodological approaches to wildlife population monitoring across multiple landscapes in Asia. He is a member of the IUCN SSC Canid Specialist Group, the IUCN Dhole Working Group and an Associate of the Indian Academy of Sciences. He is also a professional artist and cartoonist, specializing in creating conservation-themed artwork for nature education and science communication.


 

Dr Devcharan Jathanna
Programme Head - Carnivore & Herbivore Ecology & Conservation

Dr Devcharan Jathanna initially joined WCS-India in 1998 and has worked on the ecology of large carnivores and their prey since then. He handles study design, data analysis, and scientific publication-related activities. Along with Killivalavan Rayar, he oversees the field research and data processing, for WCS-India's long-term research on large carnivores and their prey. He also provides technical support to other research programmes within WCS-India, coordinates with national and international research collaborators develop proposals towards raising funds, obtaining permits and facilitating collaborations with partner institutions, and helps put together donor and technical reports. He also trains WCS research staff in various aspects of field research and data analysis, teaches courses, and guides students at the WCS-NCBS MSc Programme in Wildlife Biology & Conservation. 

Dev, as he’s known to friends and colleagues, received his MSc in Wildlife Science from the Wildlife Institute of India in 2001, and his Ph.D. from Manipal University in 2016. His doctoral research focused on generating the understanding of the biology and ecology of Western Ghats small carnivore species that are relevant to their conservation, using a diversity of approaches. He is proficient in distance sampling, capture-recapture modeling, occupancy estimation, other statistical modeling, as well as study design and field data collection protocols for these different analytical approaches. Dev has extensive experience in designing and conducting academic courses, technical workshops and field training programs, for field research staff, MSc & Ph.D. students and faculty in India, southeast Asia and central Asia, since 2006.


 

Dr. Vishnupriya Sankararaman
Conservation Ecology Scientist

Vishnupriya initially joined WCS-India in 2012 as a Research Assistant, after receiving a Master's degree in Wildlife Biology and Conservation from the National Centre for Biological Sciences and WCS-India. She later received a PhD in Ecology from Penn State University in 2022. Her doctoral dissertation focused on understanding amphibian community structure across spatial scales in agroforest landscapes of the Western Ghats. 

Her interests lie in understanding multi-dimensional and conflicting issues of biodiversity conservation and economic goals in agriculture. With her training in quantitative ecology, she uses modeling approaches such as community occupancy models, optimization models and decision-making tools in informing sustainable management practices for biodiversity conservation on private lands.

Vishnu is passionate about studying a wide range of species, including freshwater fishes, amphibians, and birds. She finds her greatest joy in walking along the leech infested streams of the Western Ghats, and so she continues to find ways to work in that landscape.


 

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