Research Projects : ONGOING

Butterfly Attractant for Pollination and Ecosystem Health
P. I.: Dr. Ankur Patwardhan, Co-I. : Dr. Tejaswini Pachpor
Funding Agency: Elsevier Foundation - ISC3 Green and Sustainable Chemistry Challenge
Grant amount: 25000 EURO
Duration: 2019-2021

Peacock's Tale: can human-animal vicinity lead to sustainable mutual benefits and peaceful co-existance?
P. I.: Dr. Dhanashree Paranjpe
Funding Agency: Dept. of Biotechnology, Govt. of India
Grant amount: 88 Lakhs
Duration: Dec 2015- Nov. 2020

Research Projects : COMPLETED

Ecosystem Service Assessment from Northern Western Ghats of Maharashtra’
PI: - Dr. Ankur Patwardhan
Funding Agency : Ministry of Environment and Forests (MOEF)
Grant : Rs. 34.31 Lakhs
Duration : 2012-2017


Present project primarily focuses on assessment of various ecosystem services from sacred forests of Maharashtra. The forests will be assessed from provisioning, regulatory and cultural service point of view. Biodiversity assessment, Watershed, Pollination, Carbon Sequestration and utilitarian values of these forests will be assessed.

Ecological assessment and determination of endophytic diversity of marine macroalgae (Seaweeds) from the Western Coast of Maharashtra
PI: - Dr. Ankur Patwardhan
Co-PI- Dr. Mugdha Bakshi
Funding Agency : BCUD
Grant : Rs. 2.70 Lakhs
Duration : 2013-2015


The projects aims at assessing macroalgal diversity in the tidal region along the Western coast of Maharashtra with respect to the surrounding environmental physical parameters and understanding distribution and abundance pattern of flora and fauna associated with the macroalgal isolates & prepare database for the study area. Further, it aims at isolation and study of diversity patterns of macroalgal endophytes.

Inventorization of provisional ecosystem services of selected Sacred Natural Sites (SNS) through community participation from northern Western Ghats of Maharashtra - a biodiversity hotspot.
PI: - Ms. Monali Mhaskar
Mentor:- Dr. Ankur Patwardhan
Funding Agency : DST – WOS (B)
Grant : Rs. 8.24 Lakhs
Duration : 2013-2015


The project deals with the identification of provisional services of ‘Sacred Natural Sites’ (food, medicine and biomass) and understand role of local community in management of these ‘Sacred Natural Sites’. The data generated would be applied to for better environment protection to aid systematic conservation planning with the help of local community.

‘Identification of critical areas of conservation concern using RS-GIS technique from northern Western Ghats of India'.
PI: - Dr. Ankur Patwardhan
Funding Agency : ISRO-UoP
Grant : Rs. 10.87 Lakhs


Identification of biodiversity rich areas within an eco-region has become a national priority in the wake of Biodiversity Act (2004). Effective action in this context calls for an understanding of ‘spatial distribution’ of the ‘conservation value’ of the forests besides knowing their vegetation types. The proposed study will primarily focus on how we have addressed this by preparing (a) biological richness maps and (b) thematic maps using GIS and RS tools. A protocol for developing such maps and its application to the Sahayadri Tiger Reserve along with Reserve Forest patches will be the focus of the research.

‘Application of GIS-RS in Mapping and Conservation of Threatened Medicinal Plant Species from northern Western Ghats of India’. Funded by: ISRO-UoP 
PI: - Dr. Ankur Patwardhan
Funding Agency : ISRO-UoP
Grant : Rs. 7.27 Lakhs


Present project primarily focuses on threatened medicinal plant species in the Pune, Satara and Kolhapur districts of northern Western Ghats of Maharashtra. Species were short listed using IUCN Red Lists, Conservation Assessment and Management Plan (CAMP), habitat specificity and trade potential. For each of the short listed species, four types of ‘thematic maps’ were developed using RS-GIS tools. These include; (i) NDVI maps (ii) Forest Cover Map (iii) Google earth map and (iv) Prediction map. Mass multiplication protocols have been standardized for prioritized species.

'Camptothecin (CPT) distribution in Nothapodytes nimmoniana and Ophiorrhiza rugosa : Endangered medicinal species from Western Ghats of India.'
PI: - Dr. Ankur Patwardhan
Co-PI- Dr. Mugdha Bakshi
Funding Agency : BCUD, Univ. of Pune
Grant : Rs. 2.00 Lakhs


Camptothecin alkaloid is well known in cancer cure. It is essentially a plant based alkaloid. Present project studies variation in Camptothecin across plant parts and habitats from threatened species such as Nothapodytes nimmoniana and Ophiorrhiza rugosa from Western Ghats of India

Industry, NGO and Biodiversity Department tie-ups.

Biodiversity survey of SRPF group II area, Wanowri
Present study gave a good documentation and state of the art picture of biodiversity profile of SRPF group II area and highlighted the importance of Paramilitary Establishments in conservation of flora and fauna.

Rapid Biodiversity Survey of Volkswagen India, Pvt. Ltd., Chakan.
Present study gave a snap-shot of state of the art picture of biodiversity of the VW area and systematic documentation coupled with measures for enhancement and protection will prove to be a prudent step towards ‘environment protection and green initiative’

Rapid biodiversity survey of Kelshi, Anjarle and Velas.
Present project deals with baseline Biodiversity survey of Kelshi, Anjarle, Velas for further interventions regarding ecological protection. Main components of this activity were status of Mangrove Belts, survey of rockpools and mudflats in relation to macroalgae and marine macrofauna and meiofauna in intertidal zone of both sandy and rocky beach on these sites.

Recognized Research Guides

Dr. Ankur Patwardhan Plant Ecology, Diversity and Conservation
Dr. Anand Padhye Animal Ecology and Diversity
Dr. Nivedita Ghayal Plant Interactions
Dr. Niranjan Patil Microbiology
Dr. Dhanashree Paranjpe Animal Behavior and Ecology

Students who were awarded Ph.D.

Dr. Makarand Pimputkar
Title :
Ecological Studies on two commercially important species –Salacia chinensis Linn. and Saraca asoca (Roxb.) de Wilde from Western Ghats of Maharashtra". 

Dr. Ashwini Keskar
Title :
Diversity, Distribution Patterns and Molecular Phylogeny of hill stream loaches (Cypriniformes: Balitoridae, Cobitidae) along the environmental gradients of the Northern Western Ghats

Dr. Nikhil Modak
Title :
Ecology and Molecular phylogeny of leaping frogs (Anura: Ranixalidae) from Northern Western Ghats of India with their conservation implications.

Ms. Shruti Paripatyadar
Title : The study of aquatic Heteroptera (true bugs) in the Western Ghats of Maharashtra:

Research Scholars currently pursuing Ph.D. at the centre

Amruta Joglekar

Title : Characterization and germination studies of seeds of selected wild woody plants from Amboli forests of Northern Western Ghats.

Research Interest- Amruta’s PhD study deals with measuring seed characters like seed mass, seed shape, seed length, breadth etc of wild woody plant species of Amboli forests. She is also planning to conduct germination studies and natural regeneration of selected wild plant species. She is guided by Dr. Ankur Patwardhan.

She is also involved in natural resource management and sustainable development studies in tribal belt of Central India with people participation.

Email :    

Mr. Mukul Mahabaleshwarkar

Title : Designing Integrated Conservation and Management Strategy for Sacred Groves in Pune District (Maharashtra, India)

Mukul is post-graduate in Environment sciences. He has also completed Masters in Business Administration with specialization in Operations Management. He is currently pursuing Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences. He is Certified Lead Auditor for Environmental Management Systems (ISO 14001:2001) and Certified Assessor for CII - EXIM Bank Award for Business Excellence. Mukul has over seventeen years’ experience of working with NGOs and Corporate, with focus on natural heritage, natural resource management, sustainability and green technologies. His core areas of interest are ecosystem services, biodiversity, strategy, policy, communication and multidisciplinary research. He has authored and contributed to number of scientific and popular articles.Mukul has been associated with RANWA for over 20 years. He is member of executive committee at INTACH Pune Chapter and coordinates natural heritage projects. He also mentors national and international graduate students.

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Ms. Kranti Waghmare

Title : Eco Friendly Management of Invasive Weeds through their application in pest control

Kranti Kamlakar Waghmare is the Second Rank holder of Savitribai Phule Pune University in Environmental sciences in her Graduation. She is post graduate in Environmental science from Department of Environmental Sciences of SPPU. Currently she is pursuing PhD in Environmental sciences titled as Eco Friendly Management of Invasive Weeds through their application in pest control. Her core area of interests are GIS and Remote sensing, Ornithology, biodiversity and conservation of water. She has been teaching Environmental Studies in Modern College of Arts, Commerce and Science, Shivajinagar as a visiting faculty since two years. She is a speaker of Board of Extra Mural Studies, SPPU.

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Ms. Smita Jambhali

Title : Studies on decentralized and site specific phyto-treatment to the domestic waste water from Sangli, Maharashtra.

Smita Vinay Jambhali has completed her post – graduation and Master of Philosophy in the subject Environmental Sciences from Shivaji University and Goa University respectively. She has been qualified SET in Environmental Sciences and also completed B.Ed. Currently she is pursuing Environmental Sciences. Smita has over fourteen years of experience of teaching in the field of Environmental Studies. She has worked with Department of Environmental Sciences, Shivaji University, Kolhapur, as a lecturer. From last thirteen years she is working as lecturer and incharge of Environmental Studies, in Deccan Education Society,Pune’s, Willingdon College, Sangli. Her core areas of interest are Environmental Chemistry, environmental instrumentation, conservation of natural resources including biodiversity, sustainable development and eco-village. She has contributed in Text-book of Environmental Studies which is published by Shivaji University, Kolhapur. She has also worked as the member of BOS sub-committee for Environmental Studies in Shivaji University and in the review committee of Balbharati, Pune, for the changed text-book of Environmental Education for XI-Std. She has delivered numerous guest lectures on environmental awareness. She is Executive member of Society for Environment and Sustainable Development, New Delhi and also Life member of Vijnana Bharati.

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Mr. Gaurang Gowande

Title : Molecular phylogeography, distribution and thermal profiles of Calotes versicolor and Draco dussumieri in Peninsular India

Gaurang’s research focuses on the systematics, molecular phylogenetics and phylogeography, and thermal biology of Indian reptiles. Currently, he is working on the systematics and thermal ecology of a few representatives of the Dragon Lizards of India. Gaurang is also a visiting faculty at the Department of Biotechnology, Fergusson College, Pune, where he teaches subjects related to biodiversity at the Graduate and Post-Graduate level.


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DST Women Scientist

Monali Mhaskar

Monali has completed her graduation in Botany and masters in biodiversity before assisting on a ISRO-UoP project related to ‘Application of RS-GIS in Conservation of medicinal plants’. She was also a team member of national level project on plant resources of Western Ghats supported by DBT, India. Her keen interests in learning about RS-GIS techniques, helped her to secure a prize at SCCS held at IISc, Bangalore. She was also instrumental in designing modules related to biodiversity studies. She also possesses a working knowledge of database management. Her research interests include assessment of biotic and abiotic drivers shaping species interactions.

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Project Assistant

Priyanka Dange

Priyanka has done her Bachelor’s in Biotechnology and Master’s in Biodiversity from Abasaheb Garware College. Currently she is working as a Project Assistant under Dr. Dhanashree Paranjpe, Ramalingaswami Fellow, on a research project titled as: Impact of human vicinity on Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus) populations in terms of feeding habits, reproductive behaviours, communication and demographics and the impact of peafowl on local economies in different localities across India. The project is funded by DBT, Govt. of India. Her research interests are Ecology, Evolution, Molecular Biology and Genetics.

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Pooja Ghate

Pooja Ghate completed her Masters in Biodiversity. She worked on Characterisation of seed and fruit traits of wild woody plant species from Amboli, Dist. Sindhudurg, Northern Western Ghats of Maharashtra. Currently she is working as a Project Assistant on project titled as ‘Biodiversity assessment, conservation and awareness’. She has keen interest in forest and seed ecology, plants-animals interactions.

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