The loss of quality habitats due to anthropogenic causes like overpopulation, habitat degradation, and climate change demands the urgent attention of biologists. The focus of our project is thus the study of the megadiverse fauna and flora of Sri Lanka. The primary focus, however, is the largely unchartered fields of invertebrate and small plant biodiversity. The invertebrate fauna of our country remains largely unexplored, with most studies originating during the colonial period. Most studies on the flora of Sri Lanka are incomplete. Arthropod diversity estimates can be useful as indirect assays of ecosystem function or productivity or as direct estimators of ecosystem responses to human-induced change. The groups of our focus are pseudoscorpions, spiders, bees and orchid, groups of high conservation necessity.
Most research projects commenced in or around June 2009. The study of goblin spiders was initiated in 2012. The studies on bee behavior were initiated in 2014. Most projects focus on the collection and characterization of soil invertebrates with a worldwide focus. Currently, we are undertaking fieldwork in various part of the island. The methodology includes traditional alpha taxonomic as well as molecular methods.
One postdoctoral scientist, one research assistants and several volunteers from all over the island are being trained as part of these projects. Research collaborations have been established with local as well as international research institutes (University of Rajarata, Sri Lanka; University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka; University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka; University of New Hampshire, USA; University of Arizona, USA; Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig, Germany).
Ms. N. Kanesharatnam
Mr. N. P. Athukorala