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Becoming Dr Nitya

24 January 2019

Becoming Dr Nitya

Celebration time as Nitya defends his thesis in the Department of Botany & Zoology at Stellenbosch University. Congratulations Nitya!

Nitya studied completed his BSc. (Hons.) in Zoology from University of Delhi (2008-11) and his MSc in Wildlife Science from the Wildlife Institute of India (2011-13), where he studied the impact of invasive spotted deer on understory reptiles in the Andaman archipelago.


Nitya Mohanty emailed me in September 2015 asking about the possibility of conducting PhD studies on the newly discovered Indian Bullfrog on the Andaman Islands. Nitya arrived in Stellenbosch in August 2016 (see here), and quickly put together his proposal to study the impact and management of bullfrogs. Since then, Nitya split his time between field work on the Andaman Islands (see my blog on my visit here), and writing and analyses in Stellenbosch. Along the way he’s visited Scottish Islands (see here), and Irish lowlands (see here) to attend conferences, and won the CIB popular writing competition (see here). He’s attended various meetings as well as one MeaseyLab Retreat (see here).

Some at the CIB are especially fond of Nitya.

John R.U. Wilson wrote:

Mohanty, N.P. 2019. The invasive Indian bullfrog Hoplobatrachus tigerinus on the Andaman Islands: Evaluating drivers of distribution, density, and trophic impact of an early stage invader. PhD Thesis. Stellenbosch University

Novel invasions require immediate attention to determine the intensity of their impacts and drivers of their spread. The non-native Indian bullfrog was first recorded on the Andaman Islands in 2013, but this study discovered that the invasion started around 2001. Impacts include predation of and competition with endemic vertebrates by adult frogs, while in an experiment, its tadpoles exterminated all local larvae. Modelling the population stressed the importance of translocations by islanders, and thereby the potential for this species to spread to currently uninvaded areas. Innovations in this work will help in reacting to future novel invasions.

From time to time, Nitya wakes up and shouts down to Wanjee to do some more sampling. Field work is really tough in the Andaman Islands!

  Frogs  Lab
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