Arthropods

Principal Investigator:
Dr. K. A. Subramaniam (Zoological Survey of India)
Co-Investigators:
Dr. Girish Kumar (Zoological Survey of India)
Dr. Jaffer Palot (Zoological Survey of India)
Dr. P. M. Sureshan (Zoological Survey of India)
Dr. Sameer Kumar Pati (Zoological Survey of India)

Insects make some of the most informative and sensitive indicators of climate change. For a long-term monitoring program to study the effects of climate change on biological diversity and ecosystem functioning, the following characteristics are essential to incorporate. The insect groups should be broadly interconnected in ecological communities and ecosystems, sensitive indicators of environmental and ecological change, relatively conspicuous and easy to sample, taxonomically and ecologically well-studied with standard sampling methods, and ecologically diverse with variety of life history strategies. Thus, the following target insect groups will be included: 

  1. Social insects from the Hymenoptera, especially Bees that are important pollinators, and ants that are numerically dominant and diverse group of insects in most terrestrial ecosystems. 
  2. Butterflies and select families of Moths (Lepidoptera) that are dominant invertebrate herbivores, prey to diverse predators, show high diversity and endemism, and high host-plant and habitat fidelity.
  3. Cicadas and Lantern flies (Hemiptera) that are known for their periodicity and/or dependence on seasonally changing climatic conditions.
  4. Dragonflies and Damselflies (Odonata) for aquatic ecosystems because of their high endemism, high habitat and landscape specificity, and complex life history.

Research on insect groups will focus on phenology of insects and associated plants, population monitoring to study seasonal and yearly fluctuations in population sizes, and impact on reproductive biology.