Chatur Ullu Lab has multiple field sites, where our research is conducted. Since, we are located at Pune, a lot of our recent research is centered at the Pune city and its vicinity. Few of our important field sites are the Northern Western Ghats, Andaman Islands, Central India, Marathwada Region, and Pune City.
Northern Western Ghats
The Western Ghats are one of the global biodiversity hotspots and a UNESCO World Heritage site, exhibiting a great diversity in life forms, cultures, and landscapes. The strategic geographical position of the city of Pune, on the edges of the Western Ghats, allow us easy access to ghats for conducting our research.
There is so much to write on the Sahyadri mountain ranges, that hid n number of endemic taxa. Visiting the mountains every single time is a fulfilling experience. As a kid and young researcher I spent many years criss-crossing Sahyadris. Perhaps, its an addiction, but indeed a healthy one!
I spent two years studying bird and Odonata diversity of the Sahyadri Tiger Reserve and many other areas in Konkan, in my early career days. The forests of the Sahyadri Tiger Reserve (STR), include Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary, Chandoli National Park, and intervening buffer areas. During this research, we reported many odonate species not earlier known from Maharashtra State.
Any wildlife researcher will fall in love with Andaman Islands, as he/she puts foot on the soil of these mystique islands. I am no exception. Andaman & Nicobar groups of Islands are a treasure of cultural and bio-diversity.
I mainly worked on North Andamans during 2010-2011, and that is when I fell in love with owls.
In 2017, we did a short expedition to the islands, to report many new spatial records of odonates from the islands, and reported some worrisome observations regarding forest degradation and agricultural pollution.
The forests, seascape, people, and culture of the islands is unique! The vastness of information makes us feel small as we look up! The islands inspire me to write!
I spent many years studying owls of the central India and during my study I came across some of the stunning landscapes! Dry deciduous and scrub forests are a prominent feature of central Indian landscape. These forests are not greatly appreciated by people as they lack obvious “green”, except in Summer.
The yellow of forests and blue of the skies make an unforgettable combination. The forests may be dry and lifeless, they are strongholds of two enigmatic species, the Royal Bengal Tiger and Forest Owlet, apart from many more!
In recent years, we started a dragonfly mapping project in the Marathwada Region (central Maharashtra), which is prone to draughts. This project is funded by Prakriti Research Fellowship.
During many field trips, we came across the hidden diversity of the landscape. The Marathwada Region is home to a cultural diversity of immense importance (Ajanta-Ellora Caves – UNESCO World Heritage Site).
The Pune City
The city of Pune has been a hub of ecological research in the western India. The city is situated on the edges of the Western Ghats and is surrounded by hills.
Over the years, the city has grown in size and continues to engulf nearby wilderness areas and hills, as it expands. There is a growing concern in citizens regarding degradation of habitat and increased pollution. Many groups are involved in conservation of natural resources within the city limits, we as a team also do our bit!
We have conducted several projects within the city limits and currently involved in many projects concerning Odonata and birdlife of the city. The city provides a good open lab for pursuing many small research projects. Our main project is mapping diversity along urbanization gradient.