Workshop list

Day One Workshops (14:00 – 16:30 pm)

Title Description Lead organiser Other resource person Min. Capacity max. capacity
Too Much or Too Little? Understanding Tourism Carrying Capacity “Too Much or Too Little? Understanding Tourism Carrying Capacity
The relationship between tourism and conservation has always been complex and layered: tourism could aid and sustain conservation, yet, it could also pose a challenge for conservation itself. Perhaps, the questions we need to ask to unravel this conundrum are, ‘how much tourism is good’ and ‘what kind of tourism is good’?The concept of Tourism Carrying Capacity developed as a response to this question and provided a way to assess the tolerance level of resources and limits of use beyond which degradation or negative impacts occur at a tourist destination. It evolved from an understanding that every place has multiple dimensions such as ecological limits of the area, the economic benefits or loss from tourism, the social and cultural relationships between the people and the environment and the political participation of the local people in decisions about both tourism and conservation.The panel will bring together a wide range of people with expertise in wildlife conservation and community based conservation, who all have grappled with the multiple questions that tourism poses. The panellists will try to unpack the relationship between tourism and conservation and examine if assessing Tourism Carrying Capacity is necessary, the policies and practices that are in place and the considerations that need to be kept in mind for such an assessment.”
Nayana Udayashankar 4 Panelist 10 100
Writing for Researchers One may be doing dazzling research in the lab or in the field, but it is pointless if he/she cannot communicate it effectively. Communication in science typically takes the form of the written word. Most scientists spend a considerable amount of time and energy writing – they write research papers, review articles, grant proposals, reports, and more. Unfortunately, in spite of the importance communication in research, it is not part of the curriculum in most science and engineering programmes. The brief workshop seeks to fill this gap. Karthik Ramaswamy 10 40
Using mobile-based tools for field surveys This workshop will introduce participants to the advantages of using mobile-based data collection tools to conduct surveys and collate data, as compared to traditional pen-and-paper based methods. The participants will be taught how to set up their own surveys and cloud servers, how to convert their own paper-based surveys into web-based surveys and how to visualise the collected data. Shashank Srinivasan 15 20
An introduction to DNA metabarcoding and its applications for studying biodiversity DNA metabarcoding is an emerging technology and is fast becoming the tool of choice in the 21st century for fundamental research and large-scale biomonitoring. Essentially it involves distinguishing between a number of species of interest based on small fragments of DNA that show high interspecies but low intraspecies variability. When combined with high-throughput sequencing, it provides a very efficient and cost-effective tool for varied applications such as assessing biodiversity from environmental samples (i.e. eDNA) for varied taxa and habitats (e.g. soil microbes, marine species, freshwater species, gut microbiota), diet of species and bioindication. Being multidisciplinary in essence, it also involves combining expertise from various complementary fields such as theoretical and field ecology, taxonomy, molecular ecology and bioinformatics. Adopting such a multidisciplinary approach is critical for not just producing and analysing the data, but also for generating a robust data set while minimising and accounting for various biases that can creep in at any stage of the workflow-field data collection, laboratory processing and bioinformatic analysis. This workshop aims to introduce the participants to this promising tool and discuss potential uses, implementation and limitations using relevant examples. Mousumi Ghosh 10 15
Elements of Study design Ecology is a challenging field as there are varieties of factors that affect a system of interest individually or in concert. While these make ecology an interesting field, it also leaves ample scope for poor inferences primarily due to bad study design. This workshop aims to provide students with a basic hands-on approach to designing a robust study before beginning field work. It will also educate students to be aware of the source of variation, sampling unit, the scale of inferences and the biases that can potentially arise in a study. Rohit Naniwadekar 10 15
Underwater bioacoustics: the art and science of recording and studying animal behaviour using sound Sound is a powerful medium through which aquatic animals exchange information with one another and with their surroundings. Animals that have evolved to live in close association with water often rely on sound for communication, forging, and navigation and therefore it is crucial to understand how underwater sound shapes the behaviour and ecology of aquatic animals. Often, underwater animals are elusive and difficult to study and hence acoustic studies can provide a robust method for studying such animals. This workshop will focus on introducing participants to the underwater “soundscape” and how one can study the behaviour of animals. We will begin by exploring both marine and freshwater systems through sound, and the adaptations different taxa (fishes, cetaceans and sirenians) show in the production and reception of sound. We will then explore the range of questions one can ask regarding the behaviour of animals and discuss appropriate acoustic tools for answering such questions. Lastly we will focus on how to analyse underwater acoustic data, and the possible repercussions of a noisy world on the behaviour of aquatic animals. Mayukh Dey 10 20
Anti-snare walks for combating wildlife crime Snares are made out of strong metal wire nooses, which tighten around a trapped animal’s limbs or other body parts. This dangerous but highly effective mechanism is being used widely for hunting animals across India and other countries. WTI identifies snares and metal jaw traps as a serious threat to the survival of wildlife and has developed and deployed techniques to eradicate them. The workshop will provide basic training on types of snares, how to locate and remove them. Jose Louies & Nagaraj Bhatt 5 50
Art & Activism Art, graffitti, music and dance are integral tools of social change, of speaking truth to power, and for simple communication. Activism itself has elements of art, be it the simple act of civil disobedience communicated as an image — Gandhi picking up salt; the lone student in front of the tank in Tiananmen Square — or the chant of slogans with the rhythm of the march. This workshop will explore how art and activism intersect and lend to each other. Nityanand Jayaraman 30
Using Theater and Drama in Conservation awareness As an conservationist , there is a constant need for outreach and awareness campaigns by individuals and organisations working in the Conservation space . The audience could be children , adults or families . The workshop aims to connect conservation and the stakeholders using the art of theatre and drama . The workshop will talk about the body and voice and how creating simple plays/sketches /anecdotes to drive the idea better and more effective . Drama could be used to raise questions and curiosity amongst the audience and public . The workshop will explore flora and fauna using the human body and voice and see how we can use theatre and drama to make flora and fauna simple and connectable Vikram Sridhar 10
Bioacoustics in conservation An introduction to the recording and analysis of sound, produced by biological organisms, or affecting them. We will cover both active and passive acoustic recordings, as well as examples of their applications. Emphasis will be placed also on standard methods to analyze acoustic data, as well as common pitfalls and examples of good practice to use when recording. Finally, discussions will include examples of how this field has contributed to the field of conservation. Anand Krishnan, Samira Agnihotri, Viral Joshi and Isha Bhopardikar. 10 30
Power in (of) Qualitative Methods: Conservation Research with Human Communities Conservation research, practice and outcomes critically depend on engaging with human communities, in diverse social and cultural landscapes. Human action in relation to environment is guided by our ability to think, imagine and form meaningful relationships with other humans and the non-human world. At the same time, it is constrained and shaped by social structures and institutions, most notably by relationships of power and inequality in society. Conservation challenges, such as PA management, ecological restoration and human-wildlife conflict, must be understood in this context.

This interactive workshop will introduce participants to qualitative research methods that are valuable in making sense of this inter-related complexity of social worlds and human action. Qualitative research paradigm follows a distinctive approach to the nature of our social reality (ontology) and how we can create valid theoretical knowledge about this reality (epistemology). Qualitative research builds on this approach to understand and explain life-worlds and actions of human beings in different contexts, whether the forest guard in a village, the elderly leader of a pastoral community or the corporate manager who is an amateur birdwatcher and wildlife enthusiast.

This workshop will draw upon research in fields like political ecology and environmental anthropology to demonstrate the value of qualitative methods in conservation research and practice. The advantages and challenges of two key methods and interviews and participant observation will be explored in due course. Using interactive methods and role play, the workshop will discuss the significance of bias, value judgments and the hidden transcripts in research with human subjects.

Budhaditya Das 10 20
Politics of conservation law This workshop is geared towards students interested in understanding the legal system that governs conservation practice, and the politics behind these governance systems. We will be engaging with the overall legal framework, as well as going into depth with a few different laws across different systems, such as coastal and marine, forest, protected area and wildlife, biodiversity-related etc.
While we will be focusing on the specifics of the laws itself, a greater focus will be on the politics of the laws: the history of the laws and why they came into existence; the debates and conflicts around them; how they affect different actors in the space etc.
Through the use of case studies and experiences of the resource persons in working with different stakeholders in the conservation space, we hope to be able to deepen how conservation scientists and students view the politico-legal space around conservation.
Stella 8 20
Wildlife rehabilitation: An integrative approach to wildlife conservation In India, the mode of conservation largely stems from Compassion and thus India practices largely a model of Compassionate Conservation. The recent upscale in the incidences of Human-Wildlife Conflict is threatening the very fabric of our conservation ethos. The reason why India has managed to hold on to so much of wildlife unlike all other Southeast Asian countries is because of this very practice of Compassionate Conservation. This workshop is largely a boot camp on what Wildlife rehabilitation is and how it relates to this Compassionate Conservation of Wildlife. Wildlife rehabilitation has been long thought as only a welfare based activity and implicated to be doing more harm than good. However, with use of case studies and practical experiences the workshop will highlight the usefulness of Evidence Based and Scientifically executed process of wildlife rehabilitation as an important tool for conservation. Apart from the actual convergence to science, the workshop will exemplify the integrated approach from all fields of wildlife (including biology, ecology, behavior, wildlife health, animal welfare and social sciences, etc.) to achieve the goals. Some basics of wildlife rehabilitation will also be covered. Abhishek Narayanan 10 25

Day Two Workshops (9:00 am to 16:30 pm)

Title Description Lead organiser Other resource person Min. Capacity max. capacity
Systems Thinking and Modelling for Sustainability Research Originating at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), System Dynamics (SD) is a computer modeling method which models stocks, flows, internal feedback loops and time delays to understand the dynamic behavior of complex systems over time. Compared to traditional methods, this type of simulation approach studies the dynamic, evolving, cause-effect interrelations and information feedbacks that direct interactions in a system over time. SD is often characterized as a ‘strategy and policy laboratory’ as it provides a means to test the effects of various strategies and policies in a system. The method is especially useful for policy design and evaluation, for developing insights into complex problems and for developing decision support systems. SD is very well suited for addressing sustainability issues, as they inherently deal with interrelated and interdependent environmental, social and economic systems. in the field of sustainability, there are many examples where the application of SD has been found useful, a few examples being: modelling human-environment interactions, ecosystem services, water resources, ecological economics, ecological dynamics, sustainable fisheries, climate policies, social-ecological systems, energy systems and urban carrying capacity. Mihir Mathur Kabir Sharma 10 25
Introduction to Quantum GIS The workshop is for people new to GIS and remote sensing and aims to provide a quick hands-on introduction on an open source, easy to learn software: Q-GIS. The workshop runs through basic elements of GIS and remote sensing using canned datasets including geo-referencing, digitising, vector based research tools, and map-making. Laptop with latest version of Quantum GIS installed. We expect participants to have a working installation and won’t have time to assist with this. Shivani Agarwal Gowri Uday 10 15
Writing Grants and Fellowships in Ecological Sciences Researchers in biodiversity conservation and ecological sciences need to raise money throughout their career from national and international organizations for conducting their research. Additionally, they often need to apply for fellowship in India and abroad (i) to learn new techniques, (ii) to conduct independent research and (iii) to attend relevant conferences and workshops within and outside the country.
The field of ecology and conservation sciences is constantly evolving and has become highly inter and trans-disciplinary in nature during the last few years. Although, academic achievements, research experience, publications and strength of the proposal are the most important criteria for selection but supplementary documents do provide strong support for the application. As formal course on fellowship or grant writing is still not very common at academic/research institutes across India, hence this workshop will provide a holistic idea about fellowship and grant process.
Sabuj Bhattacharyya Dr Monika Kaushik, Ambedkar University 10 40
Image processing for animal census and movement studies Camera traps, aerial imagery vehicles and top-mounted cameras are becoming popular modes of data collection in wildlife and ecological studies. Videos and images captured using these approaches aid in the studies of space-use patterns, animal movement, and animal census. This mode of observation can help us gather Spatio-temporal data at unprecedented detail and thus aid in answering a novel set of questions that were previously difficult to address. However, when collected data is huge it becomes difficult to manually extract useful information from the videos/images. For eg, identifying animals in the images captured from camera traps, locations of individual animals within a group, fine-scale movement trajectory of an animal or even identifying a particular type of flower or vegetation from the images. These tasks can be automated up to some extent using techniques from Computer Vision field.

In this workshop, we will be covering case-scenario for which video or image-based data collection can be useful and then some basic concepts from computer vision field which can be used to extract meaningful information from the images. we will also cover the concepts of some of the available software for animal detection and how to choose the software for a particular type of data.

Akanksha Rathore Vishwesha Guttal, Preethi Rajshekaran 6 20
How R you doing? Using the R platform for managing and analyzing ecological datasets For statistical analyses, computing and graphics researchers are increasingly making use of R – an open source platform. R has gained popularity among ecologists and conservation scientists as an effective platform that efficiently enables them to carry out almost all routine and advanced analyses. The workshop ‘How R you doing?’ will serve as a primer to introduce participants to the statistical and graphical capabilities of R and prepare them to start using R independently. Raman Kumar NA 5 20
New-age mechanisms to achieve non-protected area focused conservation “In the last 50 years, global conservation practices, resource allocation and plans have all seen a disproportionate and lopsided focus on large mammals (elephants, whales, rhinos, pandas, tigers) and other charismatic species (birds such as Great Indian Bustard, Bald eagles, flamingos, cranes and storks and vultures; reptiles such as King Cobras, Pythons and Sea Turtles; et al.). As a result, the importance, roles and rights of these creatures have been compromised. Also the overall information available about these smaller, less charismatic and seemingly benign creatures has been abysmal, pushing some of them over the brink.

This lopsided approach has also led to absurd and sometimes illogical legal, social, political and management interventions. There have been drastic actions too, such as sanctions for culling, classification as vermin species or ignoring their ecological signification during EIAs and creation of environment management plans (EMPs). Top of the list would be creatures that provide important ecological services such as pollinators (bees, butterflies, birds, bats, etc); scavengers and decomposers (fungi, snails, ants, and millipede); pest control and minor predators (Odonates, scorpions, centipedes, frogs, snakes, bats). Studies on endemic and localised (small range) species is also limited, especially in case of plants and marine invertebrates.
This full day workshop will focus on identifying the lacunae and finding or developing appropriate resources and mechanisms to increase public awareness and engagement, options/avenues for research and conservation funding, available media, publications, outreach mechanisms and networks as well as newer ideas of achieving non-protected area focused or hotspot-based conservation.

This workshop will also include a complete session on conservation breeding for non-charismatic species and role of urban biodiversity in the big picture.”

Anand Pendharkar NA 16 30
Winning the game of publishing research papers “Publications in peer-reviewed journals remain the single most often used criterion to evaluate researchers, now often supplemented with citation counts and impact factors. Publishing papers can be a game of snakes and ladders but a well-prepared manuscript submitted to an appropriately chosen journal will find more ladders and fewer snakes in its path. The session seeks to explain the detailed instructions journals expect their authors to follow and covers the following topics in detail.
• Correct use of SI units and organizing data into tables
• Mechanics of citations and references
• A systematic approach to becoming a more effective writer”
Yateendra Joshi NA 12 20
Euphaea – Odonatology Theory and Practice Odonatology concerns with the study of Order: Odonata, Class: Insecta. Odonates are amongst most fascinating insects to study in terms of their evolutionary biology and ecology. These aquatic insects are hemimetabolous and respond to habitat modifications, hence widely used as ecological indicators. Odonata conservation is intimately connected with wetland conservation. Entomology studies, in general, do not find a strong appeal in mainstream conservation because of ‘megafauna attraction,’ and hence we propose a workshop on odonates to attract young minds to one of the neglected but flagship taxa in conservation. As a team, DragonflySouthAsia, we have been conducting long workshops from past six years throughout India. The workshop typically includes talks on evolutionary biology, taxonomy, behavioral biology, habitat ecology of odonates, techniques in Odonatology, and conservation. The proposed workshop at SCCS-BNG will cover all the topics mentioned above, including a field visit. The workshop will have a strong citizen science element, wherein students will be introduced to citizen science portals, participate in real-time data additions, and its applications. The workshop will include interactive games that aid learning taxonomy, general ecology, and conservation. Last year, we conducted Odonatology workshops at SCCS & YETI 2018, which were extremely successful. The workshop aims at attracting students to study entomology by introducing them to odonates and other insects, and equip them with enough material so that they participate in research and conservation. Pankaj Koparde Prosenjit Dawn, Neha Mujumdar 20 50
‘All Things Turtles!’ An introduction to freshwater chelonians of India. Awareness on the rich freshwater turtle and tortoise diversity India has to offer, is often lacking among the research community, often in Herpetologists themselves! This workshop is for researchers and students who intend to gain and share information on freshwater turtles and tortoises of India. It includes various interactive modules covering topics such as freshwater turtles and tortoise taxonomy, freshwater ecology, population biology, conservation, rescue and rehabilitation and citizen science. The workshop design aims to familiarize participants with hands on identification of all species of turtles in India, along with information on their life history, and survey techniques. Training on turtle rescue and rehabilitation will be provided by a renowned and experienced veterinarian to enable participants to deal with emergent rescue situations. By enlightening people about the role of citizen science in research and conservation biology, participants will be encouraged to actively participate and execute future projects on freshwater turtles and tortoises of India. Anuja Mital Sneha Dharwadkar, Dr. Abhijit Das, Dr. Disha Sharma, Dr. Hari Krishnan, Ayushi Jain, Sabiha Khan 20 30
How to train your computer? “By all means today’s personal computers are one of the powerful computing tool ever made. This workshop showcase a set of tools and exercises to train that dragon!. Which may enhance its apprenticeship in scientific work, challenging both in terms of computing and data scale, such as in Conservation Sciences. Scientific presentation style used by Galileo Galilei, time travelling with life boats are some of the tools and exercise going to be used for the training while we interact with computer in Python!.

Python programming language is an easy to read and learn computing language. Its open source nature and wide usage gives rise to strong base of libraries and tools to address any complex and data intensive real world problems. Open source python distribution such as Anaconda simplifies creation of working environment. Tools like Jupyter notebook enhance the work flow which is intuitive, easy to share and collectively learn faster on data analysis using Python. This workshop intent to give introduction to these advantages of Python along with operating system virtualization and version controlling system for programming. It takes demonstration and do it yourself tasks on geospatial data, the workshop hopes to generate interest and show learning pathway for student to comfortable with Python programming language.

The workshop is comprised of three components, in which first component introduce the concept of operating system virtualization, version controlling and literal programming with Python environment and work flow setup. Second component discuss about the Python’s applications in Vector data analysis and visualisation, third component on raster data with discussion on using Application Programming interface (APIs) for data sources such as of Google earth engine.”

Nishadh K A NA 10 20
Basics of Ant Taxonomy and Ecology This course is for anyone interested in picking up skills in Ant Taxonomy and wants to understand the Interesting world of Ants. The course is very basic and is intended for anyone and everyone, even if you know only Red and Black Ants. Pronoy Baidya NA 15 18
Social science methods in Conservation Research Conservation scientists hailing from ecological sciences background face the problem of applying social science-based qualitative and quantitative methods to their conservation research questions. Current conservation biology courses within India do not allow deeper engagement with the social sciences discipline, making it difficult for students to grapple with highly relevant conservation science ‘problems’ such as fire, hunting, extraction of forest products, deforestation, land-use change and urbanisation. This course on social science methods is therefore specifically targeted at conservation students and researchers, originating from a primarily ecological /biological sciences background, who will be exposed to a comprehensive range of social science research methods. The workshop will be divided into three parts: In the first section, we will introduce the different concepts and jargons that one typically comes across in social science research methods. Section two will look at a range of both qualitative and quantitative methods, with a focus on framing appropriate research questions and hypotheses, sampling designs and data-collection techniques (questionnaire, participant observation, participatory and ethnographic tools).The last section will introduce the participants to various analytical techniques including database management and basic statistical frameworks for both quantitative and qualitative data, enabling them to make sense of the data and make valid interpretations and conclusions. Rajkamal Goswami Ovee Thorat 25 30
Science of Making Conservation Work Scientists in disciplines of conservation biology, ecology, natural resources, environmental science, and other similar ones working at the forefront of understanding natural processes and using that information to protect them are divided in voicing their informed opinions when it comes to conservation advocacy. At times, this leads to paralysis and inaction that risks marginalizing the contribution of science to public policy. While some researchers may want to engage in the conservation of particular landscapes or species, mitigate human-wildlife conflict, many researchers regularly come across violations, unwarrantedand illegal activities in the areas they work in. However, these scientists may lack skills to actively or passively participate in conservation advocacy.
This workshop, by WCS-India team and people from other experts consisting of conservationists, forest officers, biologists and legal experts attempts to demystify the art of conservation advocacy by understanding the legal provisions, learning to engage with government agencies, working through special committees, educating and involving elected representatives and community leaders. Case studies would be presented and breakthrough groups would brainstorm on identifying and assessing conservation challenges, building a narrative, conceiving a conservation advocacy strategy and understanding possible pitfalls and solutions.
Imran Siddiqui Mridula Vijairaghavan, Prakriti Srivastava, Tarun Nair, Journalist, Ecologist 20 50
Conservation Genomics Over the past several decades, conservation science has benefited tremendously for using genetic tools. In recent times, there has also been a technological revolution in the ability to generate large quantities of genome-wide data fast and relatively cheaply. Can conservation science benefit from this technological advance?
This workshop will explore the basics of conservation genomics. In the first two hours, we will try to define what conservation genomics is, and how it is distinct from conservation genetics. Further, we will use examples of projects and questions (brought by participants) to explore whether conservation genomics appears appropriate. In the second session of 2 hours of the workshop, we will split into two groups: those interested in whole-genome studies and those interested in SNPs and RAD-seq (participants will decide on the day of the workshop). In each of these groups, we will explore what data looks like, what analyses entail and so on. We will conclude with a half an hours’ discussion about what maybe the best way forward.
Participants will be requested to come with an idea of what kinds of questions they might be interested in exploring.
Meghana Natesh Anubhab Khan, Vinay sagar 10 15
Plant ID It is easy to get intimidated by seemingly complex botanical terms and scientific names that are hard to remember. Luckily, neither of these are essential for identification of plants. For those of you who think that all plants look alike, you will be amazed by the incredible number of morphological characters they exhibit, that help us distinguish one species from the other. All it takes is a little curiosity and a keen eye for careful observation of the right characters.

The process of identifying plants is similar to that of solving a mystery. Every plant exhibits a wide range of morphological features that can be viewed as signatures of each species. A combination of such features makes every species unique. These features act as clues to solving the mystery, the mystery of decoding plants affinities and relationships. Our job then as a detective is to merely follow a fixed sequence of inquiry, which is simply a step wise process that guides us as an investigator from one clue to the other, helping us eliminate competing hypothesis at every step and taking us closer to the identity of the species.

In this workshop we will familiarize ourselves with this process of deducing/inferring the affinities of a plant, and learn some basic botanical terminology. The workshop is designed for students who are genuinely interested in the art of identifying plants or need to familiarize themselves with plant identification techniques, as a part of addressing a larger question of interest. At the end of the workshop we hope to change the way you look at plants by offering you a different perspective towards approaching new and unfamiliar plants.

The workshop will have two components- first, the classroom component where we will learn the basics of plant identification, the process of inference, and elimination. Second, the field component where we will try and tackle the challenges of observing plants in the field. Participants interested in enrolling for this workshop need not have any prior knowledge of botany. If you are interested in plants and are eager to learn the art and techniques of identifying plants, then you are an ideal candidate for the workshop.

Navendu Page 5 20
Paint-a-way (mural) This workshop focuses on the importance of creative communication for science and conservation in today’s world. The session will actively involve the participants where they will create an artwork such as mural bringing together a few prominent themes of the conference such as diversity and representation into one cohesive unit. As a precursor to this activity, we will set the ball rolling by obtaining a general consensus for the basic outline of the artwork, which I shall create before the conference. This mural can be painted over the days of the conference, or during one long workshop as an inclusive and fun session involving an exchange of ideas amongst the participants. Manini Bansal Shruti, Nidhi 10 15
Creating Conservation narratives in an age of misinformation “We are in an age of misinformation. At a time when even the veracity of basic facts is in question, conservation too is affected by false narratives that thrive on political propaganda or other agendas. In this time, it becomes even more imperative to learn the challenges and power of creating the correct narratives. This panel discussion aims to deconstruct some of the biggest threats to science-based conservation—these include the mythologization of science and biology, the bogey of so-called ‘Nationalism’ threatened by ‘foreign funding’, the question of science versus policy and abiding narratives such as environmental clearances are a hurdle to economic growth.
The discussion aims to be critical, constructive, and giving suggestions for the way ahead.”
Neha Sinha 5- 7 people on Panel 200
Role of technology in conservation “The panel for this session will comprise representatives from the nascent conservation technology industry in India. The panelists will discuss their work, their business and impact models, their motivations for working in this sector and the ethical frameworks underpinning their work. This will be an interactive session, with a large part being answering questions from the audience.
Shashank Srinivasan 15 30

Day Three Workshops (14:00 – 16:30 pm)

Title Description Lead organiser Min. Capacity max. capacity
Introduction to conservation genetics and genomics This workshop is aimed at providing a brief overview of the fundamental concepts of population genetics and will benefit participants with an basic understanding of various fields including evolutionary genetics and molecular evolution. Moreover, it will also help to expand the knowledge of genetics and its application in delineating the diversity of natural populations. Further, this will bolster pertinent research areas and their output, in terms of understanding finer structures within natural populations, spatio-temporal changes in allele frequencies and preservation of biological diversity through appropriate management measures. Some of the topics that will be covered in this workshop will be: Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium; stability of gene (allele) frequencies under Mutation, Migration (Gene flow) and Non-random mating; Stability of gene (allele) frequencies under Genetic Drift and Selection; Over and Under dominance; Mutation-Selection Balance and Heritability. Ranajit Das 10 25
Conserving cultures: behavioural variations within and across species Current discourse focuses on biodiversity conservation, or on the conservation of genetic diversity within species. But what about behavioural diversity? Across taxa, species that may not be at risk display unique and distinctive behaviours that beg for a new definition of “charismatic species”. Within species as well, individuals or groups show significant variations in behaviours including alternative reproductive tactics, multiple mating systems, personality differences and alternative foraging strategies. Some of these variations could be culturally transmitted, while the basis for others may be genetic or developmental. These variations could influence how individuals and populations adapt to anthropogenic pressure; hence they are important for conservation. Through this workshop, we aim to explore these ideas through conceptual discussions and case studies, and illuminate the links between behavioural diversity and conservation. Samira Agnihotri, Priya Iyer 20 40
Interacting with Data for Beginners: exploratory analysis in R “It is important to know your data with all its errors, quirks, and trends, before starting formal statistical analysis. Exploring the data prior to using statistics will help confirm assumptions, detect erroneous values, and provide useful insights for formal analysis. However, nobody can directly comprehend voluminous spread of rows and columns filled with numbers and categories. Instead, we can pull out parts of data to construct summaries in the form of tables and graphs. Such representations of the data provide clear and intuitive ways to gain personal clarity and facilitate communication with peers.
This workshop will focus on tools for data handling and visualization. Participants will explore data using different types of graphs, such as frequency histogram, box plots, and scatter plots. The hands on session will rely strongly on the R statistical environment and make full use of its command line interface. Participants who are not acquainted with R will receive additional material before the workshop to familiarize with its interface and basic workings.
The workshop will cover following broad topics:
1. Using summaries for sanity check
2. Plots with single variable
3. Plots with two and more variables
4. customizing symbols, legends, axes, and other elements
5. constructing plots like a sentence or argument
(using grammar of graphics through the ‘ggplot2’ package)6. exporting publication quality graphs”
Aniruddha Marathe 15 20
Writing successful grant applications The writing style and format used in preparing grant applications is different to that used in other forms of writing for conservation science. This workshop will demonstrate a successful grant writing structure and introduce you to a template and other resources that can help organise information in an application so that project context, importance and contribution are clearly communicated. We will also discuss how to find grants suitable for your study. Andrea Phillott 10 25
Tell Tale Science: Visualising Research The workshop will teach participants the skills required to translate scientific research into accessible visual forms. Working specifically with the medium of posters, participants will go through exercises to create visually exciting and contextually relevant posters for different scenarios, such as conference posters and community outreach. The workshop will introduce them to basic graphic design principles through hands on exercises, which they can further use wherever they may need to visually communicate their research. Kabini Amin 10 20
The challenges of coordinating conservation efforts for threatened vultures and other endangered bird species. Drawing on experience from globally threatened birds where a diverse set of players need to work together, and how this has been approached for Asian Vultures (through creation of a consortium SAVE and IUCN Vulture Specialist Group), and with reference to other examples including for Northern Bald Ibis, the workshop explores the successes and the short-comings of these approaches and opens up discussion for potential replication more widely and whether there are other ways that could enhance the success. Although these examples are birds, these approaches are probably equally applicable for other taxa where there are multiple interested parties and the need to engage local, national and international players in order to identify and achieve priority conservation objectives. Chris Bowden 10 40
Making effective presentations “Facing a live audience to present your ideas and the results of your experiments or field studies is a skill that is seldom taught to researchers but needs to be. From defending a doctoral thesis to presenting a project proposal, today’s research increasingly depends on presentations at meetings and conferences as a means of communication. The workshop offers proven techniques to get technical information across to a live audience, and answers these and similar questions.
• Is there a formula to calculate the right font size?
• How do I know whether I am speaking too fast or too slowly?
• How long should I hold each slide of text for the audience to read it?”
Yateendra Joshi 12 No
Get rid of jargon! What is the cardinal rule of science communication? Ditch the jargon. As simple as that sounds, science communicators everywhere will agree that it is easier said than done. To that effect, we have devised an inventive workshop meant to help you perceive and communicate science not just creatively but also accurately. From understanding what goes into a good research summary to creating visual ways of conveying the same, the workshop activities will blend art and science into one inspiring jargon-free session. Manini Bansal 16 20
Building Networks of Wildlife Warriors: harnessing local potential to achieve global conservation impacts Conservation networks can scale our ability to monitor biodiversity and respond to threats, as well as serve as platforms for exchanging knowledge, sharing experiences, and contributing professional skills in case of wildlife emergencies. In this workshop, we will discuss forms of networks and how they can be harnessed for different purposes, and address how to build partnerships and long-term relationships for operational sustainability of a network. This workshop will also impart insights on how networks can be designed to be relevant to local participants while being driven by a larger conservation impetus. Local motivations and participation are essential for the success of any activity, and it is necessary for the local participants to become a part of decision making to embed stewardship. We will explore the fundamental building blocks for a strong network with learnings from WTI’s Emergency Relief Network, Green Corridor Champions and Roadwatch Network, conceptualized along the lines of a citizen-science initiative and will demonstrate how we can engage different types of participants through different technologies. The participants will be divided into working groups to incubate ideas for developing a program to monitor and respond to both immediate and long-term threats to wildlife. The participants can also share their experience of community networks, and framework conditions that may foster relationships and promote collaborations. Upasana Ganguly, Ankita Gupta, Abhishek Narayanan and Jose Louies. 15 30
Craft for Conservation “Overall – Building perspective on the role of craft based livelihoods in furthering the conservation agenda.
– Making a Case for Crafts in Conservation
-Pedagogy/ies for working on an Integrated Model of Craft and Conservation
-Green Technology and Solutions in the Craft Sector
-Understanding intersectionalities between Crafts and Conservation and exploring areas for joint action
Preety Sharma 15 20
Citizen Science for ecology in India Experiences, opportunities, challenges “One method of scientific research which has taken off in ecology in the Indian context is Citizen Science, where a number of projects have been initiated by scientists and researchers in active collaboration with citizens. In some senses this is a response to a more general normative call for the citizen to be actively included in doing the science, in assessing S&T, in evaluating relevance and impact.
‘Citizen Science’ is particularly interesting because here the division between the ‘expert’ scientist and the ‘ordinary’ citizen is sought to be blurred even further. Here the citizen also does the science, the expert and the ordinary are both scientists, and the knowledge that is generated is generated by them jointly.
What we seek to do in this panel at SCCS is to create a platform for engagement with and discussion on ‘Citizen Science’ initiatives in ecology in India – to understand the various dynamics involved, to see how data and knowledge is created, to see the interface between the traditional categories of the expert and the ordinary, to understand the motivations of the scientific community in initiating these projects and of the citizens in participating/contributing/collaborating, also to see what, if any, policy and on-field impacts does this participation by citizens results in.
The idea, as the sub-title of the panel suggests, is to explore the experiences, opportunities and challenges of doing citizen science in India in environmental and ecological studies!”
Pankaj Sekhsaria, Naveen Thayyil, Vivek Coelho, Geetha Ramaswamy, Sanjay
Molur, Priyanka Iyer.
National Geographic Society Grant Seminar The National Geographic Society is a nonprofit scientific and educational organization that pushes the boundaries of exploration to further our understanding of our planet and empower us all to generate solutions for a more sustainable future. The aim of the workshop is to introduce the various Grant opportunities of the National Geographic Society to SCCS participants, including for early career applicants. The focus areas of the NGS funding are: wildlife, changing planet and human journey. The workshop will provide an overview of current funding opportunities and previous/current grantees will present their NGS projects. Yannick Kuehl 20 100
Communicating Conservation Effectively and Sustainably What is the conservation message emerging from your writing, films, photography  and communication? Is it socially sustainable? Mordecia 15 50

Day Four Workshops (14:00 – 16:30 pm)

Title Description Lead organiser Other resource person Min. Capacity max. capacity
Machine Learning and Deep Learning for Ecologists “With an increased focus on climate change and biodiversity, there is a lot of ecological data available from varied sources like citizen science, bird/mammal surveys, and camera trap images. Traditional statistical methods are limited in handling such a variety and quantum of data. Statistical modelling is about finding patterns and relationships between variables and the significance of those patterns. Today’s ecological data has a lot of variables and finding specific patterns across many these variables is very difficult with traditional statistical modelling. Machine learning models not only help with clustering the sample data over many variables but can predict an outcome given a new example data. Secondly the availability of multimedia data like acoustics, images and video opens a new set of challenges that can be addressed quite easily with Deep learning algorithms!
Despite these advantages of Machine / Deep learning models, there has been a slow adoption of these techniques in ecology. This could be addressed by increasing the awareness of these techniques among ecologists and by building collaboration between ecologists and machine learning / deep learning community.
This workshop aims to provide a simple introduction to Machine learning and deep learning models and a few potential applications in Ecology that can be considered. We will also highlight a few interesting applications from across the world to provide a flavor of the power of ML/DL. At NCF we have used Deep learning for classification of animals from camera trap images. We will provide the methodology used and its effectiveness along with a demo of the model in action!”
Kannan AS Abinand, Amriti 20 30
Language and Ecology – Communicating Nature Through Local Languages “South Asia is as rich in biodiversity as it is in linguistic diversity. However, as a colonial legacy publications on natural history and conservation issues are mostly in English. It is essential to engage with the grass-roots public and relevant stakeholders (such as legislators, media persons, forest department) on conservation issues in local languages. This would help them to better understand the subject. This will also help the naturalists, conservationists and wildlife biologists to create awareness among wider sections of the public. There is a close link between language and conservation movement. Hence, it is essential to encourage students to communicate conservation science through vernacular languages.
In this workshop we will introduce students through an interactive lecture on importance of using local languages, challenges in writing and translating into local languages, aspects to consider while translating ecological concepts, importance of documenting and redeeming traditional nomenclature and coining new scientific terminologies. We also briefly discuss about the current status of nature writing in different Indian languages. As a part of this workshop we would also ask the participant to produce a write-up in their language on the subject of their interest and give information on how and where to publish it.”
P Jeganathan NA 30 50
Neutral Theory and its application in conservation genetics “The Neutral Theory was first presented by Motoo Kimura in 1968 and till date is considered to be one of the best null models of molecular evolution. The workshop will discuss the application of Neutral Theory in conservation genetics. The workshop will provide hands on experience in various neutrality tests such as Ka-Ks, HKA, MK, Tajima’s D, and Extended Haplotype Homozygosity (EHH). The workshop will discuss how these neutrality tests can be effectively employed to determine the signatures of recent/past selective
sweeps (soft and hard), balancing selection, and background selection in various modern-day populations especially among vulnerable wildlife populations with apparent inbreeding.”
 Ranajit Das NA 10 25
The study of Animal behaviour and its applications for conservation This workshop provides participants with an introduction into the study of animal behaviour, with activities and discussions that illustrate quantitative approaches to observing behaviour, as well as implications of the field for conservation. Nishant Srinivasaiah Samira Agnihotri, Shreekant Deodhar 20
Basics of Photography This workshop is for people who are keen in using camera for their data collection or communication but have very little working knowledge of photography. This workshop will focus on the basics of photography right from technicalities to basic composition. Prasenjeet Yadav 25 30
Why we need to foreground Nature in our urban lives to ensure Conservation? POONAM BIR KASTURI 8 15
Field-based experiments for Plant-Insect interaction studies This workshop is targeted at participants who would like to conducted field-based observations and experiments in order to investigate various aspects of plant-insect interactions. This will expose participants to techniques available to collect floral volatiles, measure herbivory pressure, pollination experiments, experiments to investigate to plant-insect interactions in a simulated global warming set-up, etc. Joyshree Chanam 15 30
Integrating Animal Cognition and Conservation Science Every moment sense organs of animals living in the natural habitats are bombarded with information. Depending upon the kind of sensory systems and cognitive abilities gifted by the evolution to their species response of the individuals towards a stimulus may range from simple kinesis to an action based on complex decision making. Hence, the cognitive abilities of a species – perception, information processing, learning, memory, decision making, etc. – play a vital role in determining the strategies utilized for coping with the pressures exerted by the constantly modifying environment on it. However, cognitive capacities of a species being the product of selection pressure experienced during the course of evolution, novel cues such as the Human Induced Rapid Environmental Changes (HIREC) or exotic heterospecifics could be decoded wrongly by the cognitive apparatus of the animal leading to the expression of behaviours not relevant to the situation. In many contexts, such behavioral modification could work as an ‘evolutionary trap’ leading to the extermination of the individual from its environment. The present workshop will introduce popular concepts and tools and techniques being utilized for studying animal cognition and the attempts made to apply the results of such studies for enhancing the efficacy of in situ and ex situ conservation programs, management of animal-human conflict and mitigating the threat of alien invasive species. V V Binoy Dr. Vishwanath Varma 50 60
(Mis)understanding cultural differences: a key to (un)successful conservation practice This Live Action Role Play (LARP) explores cultural differences across two fictitious cultures – and discusses the participants findings and conclusions in regards to how they might impact on our conservation practice. Ian G Bride 18 20
Analysing count data – fitting and interpreting Generalised Linear Models (GLMs) Many questions in ecology and conservation science involve count data, such as the number of individuals of a species, the number of species (species richness), counts of behaviours performed by animals, counts of events such as crop damage, counts involving binary data (sex ratio, disease incidence, survival, mortality etc.) and so on. How do we analyse and make sense of such data? Regular linear models, like regression and ANOVA, do not perform well with count data. However, there is a class of powerful models, Generalised Linear Models (GLMs), that works very well with such data. GLMs are now commonly used to analyse count data in ecology and conservation science. In this workshop, we will focus on understanding, modelling and arriving at conclusions to questions in ecology and conservation science that involve count data. We will aim to (i) get an intuitive understanding of the sampling processes that generate count data; (ii) fit and interpret GLMs to count data; and (iii) discuss common pitfalls to analysing count data and ways to overcome them. This session will involve both discussions of the way these models work and hands-on experience in fitting and interpreting them using the software R. kavita 7 20
Corridor/Connectivity Conservation “Expanding infrastructure networks, land-use change and anthropogenic development have been fragmenting natural landscapes across the globe. Vast swathes of natural landscapes have been converted into fragments embedded in a human-modified landscape. Such fragmentation impacts movement of many species, disrupting several ecological and evolutionary processes. Conserving and restoring corridors that link fragmented habitats are hence critical to protect wild populations and ecological processes.
Corridors that maintain connectivity range from a few meters wide mitigation structure across a busy road to large corridors that stretch tens or hundreds of kilometers across multiple land-use types and jurisdictions. Corridor conservation requires collaboration between a wide range of groups including conservationists, local communities and infrastructure planners, among others. Their priorities may not always be aligned with each other. Hence planning and implementation are not trivial tasks. Support from local communities, political buy-in, land-tenure and jurisdictions are crucial considerations for corridor conservation in rapidly changing, multiple use landscapes.
In this symposium, conservation practitioners will share stories from different corridors across India. The speakers have been engaging with the government agencies, working with local communities and sometimes even fighting legal battles to ensure conservation of corridors. They will highlight social, political and legal aspects of corridor conservation and share their success stories as well as the challenges they continue to face.
Prachi Thatte Ambika Sharma, Mrunal Ghosalkar, Hiten Bhaishya, Sanjay Gubbi 10 50
Anuran Bioacoustics: A hands on workshop “This workshop will focus on anuran bioacoustics. At
present, India has over 400 species of frogs and toads, among which we known about acoustical record of about 60 species (15% of the total anurans in
India). The workshop provides an overview of anuran bioacoustics in the world, status in India and on standard format and method for acoustical analysis and recording. This module provides hands on training in standard methods for
recording and analyzing anuran calls. Overall objective of the workshop is to illustrate the use of bioacoustics as an important tool in the monitoring and
conservation of anurans, as anurans are among the most threatened and fast
disappearing group of vertebrates in the world.”
Gururaj KV 20
The complexity and variety in human large carnivore interactions in India “Our team members have been studying human large carnivore interactions in varied landscapes of India namely Himachal Pradeesh (where lot of leopard and human deaths occur every year), Northern West Bengal (where workers in tea estates get into conflict scenarios with leopards and elephants, Mumbai (which is an unique Urban habitat where leopards come in contact with city dwellers) and from western Maharashtra and northern Karnataka (where we have negative interactions between wolves and nomadic pastoralist / herders).
Because of the varied experience each of us gets from their respective fields we would like to share the same with other young researchers who want to take this conservation issue further.The objectives of the workshop are:1. To sensitize students to the sheer complicated nature of these interactions.
2. Share our experience about stake holder involvement and engagement in the conflict scenario and how it helps.
3. Role played by awareness in resolving the human – wildlife conflict scenario (a case study of Mumbai)All this will be achieved by power-point presentations, group discussions and role plays.”
Nikit Surve 20 30