Arajush Payra | Ph.D. Student

Arajush is crazy about insects. He is involved in the Western Ghats Odonata Project. He is a great field worker and can get lost in the forests! He has 20+ publications to his credit. When not on the field, he prefers eating biryani followed by dozing off.

Debangini Ray | Ph.D. Student

Debangini Ray is an interdisciplinary ecologist who believes strongly in citizen science action and storytelling as a medium for science communication. She has previously worked with TSA-India, Aaranyak, WCS-India and ATREE, and is presently working with Marine Flagships program at Dakshin Foundation. Her brainchild is The False Trail, a platform where citizens share their observations on urban wildlife. She has a Master’s degree in Ecology, Environment, and Sustainable Development from Tata Institute of Social Sciences and a PG Diploma in Environmental Law and Policy from NLU. Her other interests lie in books and movies, photography, nature journaling, caffeine, cats, and owls!

Ameya Deshpande | Research Assistant

Ameya is passionate about wildlife documentation. After his bachelors, he completed a certificate course in photojournalism. He is a current student of MIT-WPU Pune. He sort of heads the fieldwork section of CUL. He is a great field-worker, photographer, and can not live without Irani Chai!

Saumitra | Project Trainee

Saumitra is currently pursuing his Masters in Ecology from Pondicherry University. His interests lie in behavioral ecology and evolutionary biology, revolving primarily around reptiles as a model system. You will frequently find him roaming around in the northern western ghats at night searching for herps. He is also an avid wildlife photographer and enjoys watching and documenting birds and butterflies. With CUL he is involved in projects on Frogmouth and owls – both nocturnal taxa to match Saumitra’s lifestyle!

Swara Bakshi | Phylogeny Intern

Swara is a M.Sc. Environmental Science with MIT-WPU Pune. She is involved in our DST-SERB project on the Molecular Phylogeny of Endemic Odonates of the Western Ghats. Swara is an avid birdwatcher and is interested in natural history and ecology. While traveling, she likes to grab the window seat and overthink throughout the journey!

Team Pritha

Four students of M.Sc. Data Science, MIT-WPU Pune are associated with CUL on a project titled “Pritha: an all integrated species distribution modeling tool for conservation managers”. Mithilesh, Atharva, Aakanksha, and Bhaven are working on a software that will make it easy to predict species distributions. These guys work in back-end, therefore, their photos are not available!

Gokul Madhav | Intern

Gokul is a third-year BS-MS student from IISER Berhampur, majoring in Biological Sciences. He is interested in interdisciplinary research with a
focus on ecology, evolution, wildlife biology, and conservation. He reads non-fictions from history to
philosophy and science. With CUL, he works on the WG Odonata project.

Nimish Subramanian | Intern

Nimish is a postgraduate student currently pursuing a Master’s degree in biodiversity from AGC, Pune. The humbling sense of wonderment he got from birding eventually led him to discover and follow his passion for research in evolutionary ecology. He is also interested in programming and writing (from popular science articles to poems about life!) and cannot survive without coffee!

Aditya Date | Intern

Aditya is a final year undergraduate student of Fergusson College, Pune. He has an immense love for insects and puns and is interested in studying ecology and animal behavior in the future. Currently, he is working with the ChaturUllu team on the Western Ghats Odonata project.

Tejas Mehendale | Project Trainee

Tejas is pursuing Master’s degree in Biodiversity, Wildlife, Conservation and Management from University of Mumbai. He has a keen interest in wildlife biology, with special appreciation for the world of insects, particularly Odonates, their diversity and behaviour. He also enjoys documenting and uploading his findings on citizen science portals.


  • Hrishikesh Karandikar: Project Assistant
  • Madhur Rathi
  • Divyanshu Pawar: Project Coordinator, Symbiosys Climate Change Center
  • Sourav Dutta: Carbon Analyst, KrypC Bangalore
  • Hrishikesh Dhapate
  • Madhura Agashe: BioGeoSys Lab, National Institute of Science Education and Research ( NISER), Bhubaneshwar
  • Rubina Rajan
  • Swagata Das: Pursuing masters
  • Apeksha Darshetkar: Educator with Center for Wildlife Studies (CWS)
  • Arjit Jere: Ph.D. Candidate, University of Alabama, Huntsville Campus, USA
  • Nikhil Joshi: Independent educator, Pune
  • Vaidehi Gujarathi: Landscape architect, Tree Public, Pune
  • K. Dolsy David: Research Fellow at WCS, Mumbai
  • Preethi Srinivasan: Research Fellow, BNHS
  • Yash Damania: Software Engineer, Volkswagen India, Pune
  • Abhishek Wahane: Research Intern, NITI Aayog, New Delhi
  • Swaroop Nayak: Technology analyst, Deloitte USI Risk & Financial Advisory
  • Prasath Selvaraj: JRF, SACON, Coimbatore
  • Yash Chaudhari: Trainee Data Scientist, Abzooba India Infotech Pvt Ltd
  • Aakriti Bhat: TCS, Mumbai
  • Aditya Hundekari: ZS Associates, Pune
  • Shravan Paralikar: Independent Researcher

Former Interns

  • Yogesh Kalebere
  • Archita Londhe
  • Yash Khare
  • Sakshi Chakve
  • Aditya Khochare
  • Aishwarya Kasar