Inlaks Ravi Sankaran Conservation Fellowship Intern 2019: Preeti Sharma
This week we present to you the 2019 Inlaks Ravi Sankaran (RS) Conservation Fellowship Intern Preeti Sharma. She will be joining the One Health Research Group at the University of Melbourne in the pursuit of discovering innovative techniques for the conservation of amphibians.
I come from the capital city Delhi. Growing up in the crowded metropolis, made me always yearn to be close to nature. All these years my window to nature has been amphibians. I am always fascinated by the bewildering biodiversity of these cool customers, which led me to pursue my Bachelors in Applied Zoology from University of Delhi.
Subsequently, I completed my Masters in Wildlife Science from Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun, and received the prestigious Alan Rodgers Fellowship to conduct the first telemetry study on an Indian amphibian species, Duttaphrynus melanostictus to study their movement responses with respect to road network in Western Ghats.
In addition to the evil quartets of habitat loss and pollution, diseases are looming threats to Indian amphibians which intrigued my attention over these years. Wildlife disease, a global issue is an emerging field growing in importance due to increasing drivers of disease emergence such as globalisation. Enigmatic decline of amphibians from pathogens like Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) and Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal) already has contributed to the extinction of evolutionary distinct species such as gastric brooding frogs of Australia and many more across the globe. The importance of Bd in India is still under investigation and in this vein, I firmly propose an urgent need for a plan in action to detect the demonic ‘virulent strain of Chytrid” in India.
I am privileged to be the Inlaks RS Conservation Fellowship Intern for 2019 and thank the foundation to allow me to practice my academic knowledge in wildlife with larger international community and gain invaluable research exposure. This fall I will join the One Health Research Group at the University of Melbourne to work with the pioneers who discovered Chytrid fungus (Berger et al 1988) and develop my capacity and skills for the conservation of amphibians.