Prof. Mahesh Sankaran, an ecologist at the NCBS, was recently elected to the Indian National Science Academy (INSA). Prof. Sankaran heads the Biodiversity and Ecosystems Ecology Research Laboratory, and his expertise is in community and ecosystems ecology. He shared, "It is indeed an honour and a privilege to be elected an INSA fellow. I have been fortunate to work with an amazing group of students, colleagues and collaborators over the years who have contributed immensely to my own growth and professional development, and to be based in an institution that has encouraged and unstintingly supported ecological research of the kind that I do. It is also very heartening to see ecologists being increasingly recognised by the Indian scientific community for their contributions."
The INSA was established in January 1935 with the objective of promoting science in India and harnessing scientific knowledge for the cause of humanity and national welfare. Prof. Sankaran joins the ranks of several other scientists from NCBS who serve the INSA, including Prof. Gaiti Hasan (Vice-President, Fellowship Affairs), Prof. R Sowdhamini, Prof. Satyajit Mayor, Prof. Upinder Singh Bhalla, and Dr. Uma Ramakrishnan.
This election draws more attention to ecology in academia, Prof. Sankaran added, "Now, more than ever, there is a need to mainstream ecological thinking into our undergraduate and post-graduate curricula, and build a strong cadre of future professionals to tackle the many pressing issues that we are facing including biodiversity loss, land degradation, and climate change."
Prof. Sankaran's lab works on understanding how interactions and feedback between climate, biogeochemistry, fires, and herbivory influence the structure, composition and stability of ecosystems and the cycling and sequestration of nutrients. They also study how projected changes in climate such as increasing variability of rainfall, increased frequency of droughts, increasing aridity in the tropics, nitrogen and phosphorus deposition, and rising CO2 will impact ecosystem function, stability and services.
Read more about his research here: https://www.ncbs.res.in/faculty/mahesh