I. Biogeography: Studying the Distribution of Species Across Space
II. Biogeography and Speciation in Indian Mountain Ranges
Part I: Biogeography: Studying the Distribution of Species Across Space
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Everywhere we look we can observe the immense diversity in nature. But how does biodiversity occur in the first place? Dr. Uma Ramakrishnan studies biogeography, the field that analyzes biodiversity across space. In her first talk, Ramakrishnan explains factors that shape biodiversity, and shows that biodiversity is higher in tropics, islands, and mountain ranges.
In her second talk, Ramakrishnan describes the biogeography of the Himalaya and the Indian mountain ranges. Her laboratory studies how gaps in mountain ranges can drive the speciation of birds. By analyzing the DNA of 24 species of birds, Ramakrishnan’s laboratory showed that deeper gaps in the mountain range generated higher levels of speciation and biodiversity of birds. Their research may help us to identify and prevent threats to biodiversity hotspots.
Dr. Uma Ramakrishnan is a professor at the National Center for Biological Sciences (NCBS) in Bengaluru, India. Her passion for ecology and evolutionary biology led her to complete a bachelor’s degree in Physics, Chemistry and Math. Ramakrishnan obtained her PhD on population genetics from the University of California, San Diego and continued her postdoctoral training at Stanford University. She joined the faculty at NCBS in 2005, where her laboratory uses genetic data to understand how changes in the ecosystem affect biodiversity. Her laboratory has pioneered methods to study the population genetics of tigers by studying their fecal samples. She is also interested in understanding how geography affects the biodiversity in mountain bird communities.
For her scientific contribution in the field of conservation biology, she received the Parker/Gentry Award in 2016, and was awarded the Core Fulbright Visiting Fellowship in 2015. Learn more about Ramakrishnan’s research at her lab website.
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