2012 Conference

The SCCS-Bangalore 2012 (third edition) conference was held from 2nd-4th Aug. 

SCCS-Bangalore started in 2010 with a focus on South and South-East Asia over the last two years, but this year the scope was expanded to include students studying conservation in Africa as well. This year about 360 people attended the conference, with 25 foreign participants from 14 countries. There were about 20 student talks and 70 poster presentations. We had a stringent quality control process such that only good studies were presented at the conference. We received 200 abstracts that were evaluated by at least two external reviewers and two internal reviewers. We selected about 90 abstracts that were assessed to be of fairly good quality and selected the 20 best abstracts to be presented as talks. We continued with the tradition of having a single talk session (no parallel sessions) at a time with 15 minutes for each talk. 

Highlights of Select Talks

Students talked about various conservation issues including ranging of elephants in Africa, problems faced by turtle conservationists in Sri Lanka, problems with hunting and logging in North East India and several aspects of fisheries. Other students have assessed perception of people to conservation issues, some looked at demographic patterns of frogs and birds in different parts of India, looked at human-animal conflict and examined wildlife corridors in different parts of the world. 

Plenary Speakers

This year we had three excellent scientific plenaries by Vidya Athreya, Aaron Lobo and David Wescott. All three talks were very well received by students and other participants. 

Public engagement at SCCS: 

SCCS Bangalore believes in engaging with the public on key conservation issues. Towards this SCCS organized several events that were open to the public. These include talks, discussions and workshops.

There were public plenaries on all the three evenings of the conference. The first Ravi Sankaran Memorial Lecture was held in collaboration with the Ravi Sankaran Foundation and was delivered by noted historian and conservationist Dr. Mahesh Rangarajan. This talk was held in memory of Dr. Ravi Sankaran, one of India's prominent conservation biologists.

The renowned science writer David Quammen, author of landmark books like Song of the Dodo, spoke about conservation and science from tigers to viruses, taking the students on a tour of his explorations with various scientists across remote parts of the globe. Quammen, is the recipient of awards like the John Burroughs Medal, the New York Public Library/Helen Bernstein Award, and (in Britain) the BP Natural World Book Prize.  His book has been on the top of New York Times Book Review.  Mr. Quammen also interacted with students separately on popular science writing through two SCCS workshops. Bittu Sahgal from Sanctuary Asia spoke to students about his experiences with India's foremost conservation magazine - Sanctuary Asia. 


This year the Who's Who session to facilitate interaction between students and conservation practitioners elicited good response. Twenty eight institutions/organizations registered for the Who's Who session and was appreciated by the students.


This year we had 19 workshops, with five of them being repeated and three panel discussions (Beyond Science sessions): 


Conducted By

Introduction to ArcGIS and modelling: introductory pack

Alice Hughes

Science as story: communicating scientific material to a general audience

David Quammen

The craft of compelling communication

Geoff Hyde

Introduction to GIS with quantum GIS

Ravi Bhalla and V. Srinivas

Elements of good study design in ecology and conservation

Kavita Isvaran and Advait Edgaonkar

How R you doing? Using the R platform for managing and analyzing ecological datasets

Raman Kumar and Geetha Ramaswami

Basic statistics

Suhel Quader

Conservation photography

Kalyan Varma

Conservation genetics

Shomita Mukherjee , Uma Ramakrishnan and Subhankar Chakraborty

Network analysis

Ferenc Jordan

How to take the best of a research article – reading and summarizing

R. Nandini and Muralidharan M.

Advanced R and advanced statistics

Umesh Srinivasan

Ecological restoration

Divya Mudappa and T.R. Shankar Raman

Rapid rural appraisal techniques for conservation-livelihood research: an introduction

Asmita Kabra





Wildlife research ethics and compassionate conservation

Moderated by: T. R. Shankar Raman and Divya Mudappa

Preventing and handling ethical problems in research

Moderated by: Rahul Siddharthan

Tourism in wildlife areas: debating practice and policy

Moderated by: Aditi Chanchani

We had workshops on a range of hard and soft skills including study design, three levels of data analysis workshops and three software-tools based workshops. We also had scientific reading, writing and presenting skills workshops along with a popular writing workshop. There were three panel discussions, one of this on the role of eco-tourism which also discussed the recent Supreme Court stay order on tourism in core areas of Tiger Reserves. The other two panel discussions were on ethics of research - one on academic ethics (publications, citing previous work and the like) and another on handling/ capture, collection of animals and the ethics related to these which also engages with the field of compassionate conservation. These panels were organized by other academicians from diverse backgrounds and institutions. 


This year SCCS Bangalore with the Ravi Sankaran Foundation and Inlaks Foundation, jointly hosted the first Ravi Sankaran Memorial Lecture. The lecture was delivered by Dr, Mahesh Rangarajan. 

Collaborative workshop, Datathon at SCCS

This year we organized the first collaborative workshop at SCCS. The all-night Datathon, attended by approximately 30 people was a data visualization workshop in association with the Western Ghats Portal and Current Conservation magazine. The workshop involved the very vibrant Bangalore-based geek community who worked together with conservation students to use open source data to produce visualizations on conservation and ecology.  The workshop showcased several speakers who covered a spectrum of topics before the audience broke off into smaller groups to explore the provided datasets.


SCCS had invited external referees to evaluate all student talks and posters. All talks were evaluated by a single panel while different groups of referees evaluated posters in different themes.

The awards for this years best talks and posters are listed below:

Best poster award: Nicholas Murray

Best poster runner-up: Vanjulavalli Sridhar 

Best poster second runner-up: (shared) Ashwin Vishwanathan, Arjun Srivathsa, Trishant Simlai and Mahi Puri

Best talk award: Umesh Srinivasan

Best talk runner-up: Bhanu Sridharan

Best talk second runner-up: Jeanetta Selier



02 AUG 2012

03 AUG 2012

04 AUG 2012

0800 – 0830

Registration (1 hour)

Registration (30 min)

Registration (30 min)

0830 – 0900


Plenary – Aaron Lobo: What The Catch Brought In: On Bycatch And Other Incidental Matters

Plenary – David Westcott: Movement Matters in Ecology and Conservation Management

0900 – 0930

Inauguration (30 min)



0930 – 1030

Plenary – Vidya Athreya: You Ain't Nothing But A Sugarcane Cat: Conservation Of Leopards In A Human Dominated Landscape

Student talks (Human-Animal Conflict – 4 talks) (15 min each)

0930-0945 Rohit Naniwadekar: Synergistic effects of hunting and logging on seed dispersal cycle in north-east India.

0945-1000 Abhijeet Bayani: Crop raiding by wild herbivores at TATR

1000-1015 Gajaba Ellepola: Turtle conservation in East Sri Lanka

1015-1030 Jeanetta Selier: Range shifts in an elephant population

Student talks (Conservation Policy – 4 Talks) (15 min each)

0930-0945 Vena Kapoor: Exploring the phenomenon of geographical clustering and collaboration in the biodiversity and conservation sector

0945-1000 Divya Karnad: Perceptions affect sustainable fisheries

1000-1015 Muralidharan Manoharakrishnan: How much research is required before giving an alarm bell for conservation?

1015-1030 Sapna Jayaraman: Measuring the effectiveness of Marine No-take reserves in protecting fish populations

1030 – 1050

Refreshments (20 min)

Refreshments (20 min)

Refreshments (20 min)

1050 – 1200

Student talks (Demography and behaviour – 4 talks) (15 mins each)

1050 – 1105 Anne Heloise Theo: Mixed Species Foraging By Reef Fish

1105 – 1120 Binoy V. V.: Impact of an exotic invasive piscine species on the shoaling decisions of a freshwater fish, the climbing perch

1120-1135 Umesh Srinivasan: Demographic responses of understorey birds to logging-induced habitat degradation

1135-1150 Julien Fattebert: Conservation restores natal dispersal behaviour and population linkage in a large carnivore

Student talks (Landscape conservation – 3 talks) (15 min each)

1050 – 1105 Odbayar Tumendemberel: Gobi bear genetic analysis

1105 – 1120 Alolika Sinha: Assessing the importance of corridors in Kaziranga- Karbi Anglong Landscape, Assam, India.

1120-1135 Tharanga Aluthwattha: Impact of spatial and temporal variations of water chemistry on plankton, invertebrate and wetland bird distribution.

Student talks (Diversity – 4 Talks) (15 min each)

1050 – 1105 Sneha Dharwadkar: Comparing Species composition of amphibians in the natural and human-dominated landscapes in southern Western Ghats

1105 – 1120 Roshmi Rekha Sarma: Assessing geographical distribution patterns of anurans of the Western Ghats

1120-1135 Bhanu Sridharan: Tracking the tides

1135-1150 Danah Marie Purificacion: Faunal diversity in Luzon, Philippines

1140 – 1200


Who's who (60 mins)


1200 – 1240

Posters (Session: Ecology – 40 mins) (12 posters)


Posters (Session: Diversity and distribution – 60 mins) (18 posters)

1240 – 1310

Lunch (50 min)

Lunch (50 min)


1300 – 1330



Lunch (30 min)

1330 – 1600

1.Geoff Hyde: The Craft Of Compelling Communication (Venue: JN Tata Seminar Hall A)

2.Kavita Isvaran & Advait Edgaonkar: Elements Of Good Study In Ecology And Conservation (Venue: Lecture Hall 7)

3.David Quammen: Science as Story: Communicating Scientific Material to a General Audience (Venue: JN Tata Seminar Hall B)

4.Ravi Bhalla & V.Srinivas: Introduction To GIS With Quantum GIS (Venue: KSCST)

5.Raman Kumar & Geetha R: How R U Doing? Using The R Platform For Managing And Analyzing Ecological Datasets (Venue: Lecture Hall 5)

6.Alice Hughes: Introduction to ArcGis and modelling workshop (Venue: JN Tata Seminar Hall C)

Panel Discussion: Wildlife Research Ethics And Compassionate Conservation Moderated by T. R. Shankar Raman (on stage) and Divya Mudappa (audience) (JN Tata Main Hall)

1.Kalyan Varma: Conservation Photography (Venue: JN Tata Seminar Hall A)

2.Shomita Mukherjee, Subhankar Chakraborty & Uma Ramakrishnan: Conservation Genetics (Venue: Lecture Hall 7)

3.Ferenc Jordan: Network Analysis (Venue: JN Tata Seminar Hall C)

4.R. Nandini: How To Take The Best Of A Research Article: Reading And Summarizing (Venue: Lecture Hall 6)

5.Umesh Srinivasan: Advanced R And Advanced Statistics (Venue: KSCST)

6.Divya Mudappa & TR Shankar Raman: Ecological Reforestation (Venue: JN Tata Seminar Hall B)

7.Suhel Quader: Basic Statistics (Venue: Lecture Hall 5)

Panel Discussion: Preventing And Handling Ethical Problems In Research Moderated by Rahul Siddharthan (JN Tata Main Hall)

1.Asmita Kabra: Rapid Rural Appraisal Techniques For Conservation – Livelihood Research: An Introduction (Venue: JN Tata Seminar Hall C)

2.Suhel Quader: Basic Statistics (Venue: Lecture Hall 5)

3.David Quammen: Science as Story: Communicating Scientific Material to a General Audience (Venue: JN Tata Seminar Hall B)

4.Geoff Hyde: The Craft Of Compelling Communication (Venue: JN Tata Seminar Hall A)

5.Ravi Bhalla & V.Srinivas: Introduction To GIS With Quantum GIS (Venue: KSCST)

6. Advait Edgaonkar: Elements Of Good Study In Ecology And Conservation (Venue: Lecture Hall 7)

Panel Discussion: Tourism in Wildlife Areas: Debating Practice and Policy Moderated by Aditi Chanchani (JN Tata Main Hall)

1600 – 1620

Refreshments (20 min)

Refreshments (20 min)

Refreshments (20 min)

1620 – 1700

Posters (Session: Habitat, landscape conservation, invasives, carbon storage and taxonomy -40 mins) (14 posters)

Posters (Session: Behaviour, tradition, perception, human impacts, data sharing and community conservation – 70 minutes) (25 posters)

Plenary (open to public) – Bittu Sahgal: Seeking Sanctuary: Three Decades Of Protecting Paradise

1700 – 1730

Who's who session (30 mins)



1730 – 1800

Plenary (open to public) – Ravi Sankaran Memorial Lecture: Mahesh Rangarajan: Conservation as if democracy mattered


Prize distribution and closing remarks

1800 – 1900


Plenary (open to public) – David Quammen: Virus To Tiger: The Conservation Challenges Of Inconvenient Beasts


1900 – 2100



Datathon: Visualisations with open source data (until 12 midnight)