IISc Bangalore discovers five species of vine snakes

New Delhi :
Researchers at Indian Institute of Science, Banglore’s (IISc Bangalore) Centre for Ecological Sciences (CES) have discovered 5 new species of Asian vine snakes. The research was led by a former student of IISc, Ashok Mallik. Malik & the team carried out several field visits across the country to collect data & samples to understand the diversification of vine snakes.

Pre-urban areas has only added new dimensions to the species –

Though vine snakes are common in the country, especially the dry regions and Western Ghats, finding new species in the Pre-urban areas has only added new dimensions to the species. According to the report, the researchers found four distinct small-bodied and short-nosed species: the Northern Western Ghats vine snake (ahaetulla borealis), Farnsworth’s vine snake (ahaetulla farnsworthi), Malabar vine snake (ahaetulla malabarica) and Wall’s vine snake (ahaetulla isabellina) in the Western Ghats’ forests. They also found the long-nosed vine snake (ahaetulla oxyrhyncha) in the lowlands and drier parts of peninsular India. This snake is much larger and is morphologically distinct.

Different species that needed more analysis –

Researchers at Indian Institute of Science, Banglore’s (IISc Bangalore) The research was conducted by Ashok Kumar Mallik, Achyuthan N Srikanthan, Saunak P Pal, Princia Margaret D’Souza, Kartik Shanker and Sumaithangi Rajagopalan Ganesh. The researchers said that though vine snakes looked similar, there were different species that needed more analysis. While each species has been named by researchers based on the regions from where they have been found, in the case of ahaetulla farnsworthi, it has been named after famous scientist Dr Hubert Farnsworth.

Named the Western Ghats species as-ahaetulla sahyadrensis –

The team concluded that there are six vine snake species in total which they stated after studying the morphological distinctions between the brown vine snake, found in the Western Ghats, to the one found in Sri Lanka. To end any confusion, they named the Western Ghats species as-ahaetulla sahyadrensis.

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MIT Senior Meghan Davis named 2022 Mitchell Scholar

New Delhi :
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Senior Meghan Davis has been selected as one of the 12 winners of the George J. Mitchell Scholarship’s Class of 2022. After graduating next spring with dual majors in biological engineering and urban planning, Meghan Davis will pursue Master’s in global health at Trinity College in Dublin.

Current research on cardio-oncology –

An interdisciplinary researcher, Davis is committed to tackling health inequities faced by vulnerable and marginalized communities. Recently, she pursued a mixed-methods approach to understanding the cardiovascular disease disparities in urban Black women and interventions that can be implemented to reduce these disparities. In her current research on cardio-oncology, she is investigating the cellular mechanism of doxorubicin treatment in the laboratory of Professor Laurie Boyer in the Department of Biology. The social side of her research, conducted in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, focuses on breast cancer in Black women and is being done in collaboration with local community health organizations centered on empowering Black women.

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