Abstract: Describing diversity and its causes is a long-standing pursuit in ecology and evolutionary biology. Recent models have combined the effects of environment and species ranges to create null models of distribution, which can be compared with empirical patterns of diversity at large spatial scales, but these fail to take local scale diversification into account. Our knowledge of diversification, and diversity itself, remains incomplete for many taxonomic groups, due both to an incomplete knowledge of taxonomy and incomplete sampling. We used a grid based approach, incorporating principles of biogeography, to sample frogs, lizards and snakes across the Western Ghats range in peninsular India . Morphological and molecular data were then combined with fine scale geographical distribution data to delimit lineages in these groups. The method resulted in 200 to 300 % increases in lineages for several genera of frogs and lizards. Lineage diversification and evolutionary history can thus be included in models that seek to explain diversity patterns at large spatial scales.
Biography: Kartik is Associate Professor at the Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. He is primarily interested in the distribution of diversity at various levels of organisation, from genes to ecosystems, and at various spatial scales. He works on the community ecology and biogeography of various taxa, including marine invertebrates, fish, amphibians, reptiles and birds, in both terrestrial and marine systems. He also works on the biology and conservation of sea turtles including olive ridley turtles in Orissa, leatherback turtles in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and green turtles in the Lakshadweep Islands. He is a former President of the International Sea Turtle Society, Founding Editor of the Indian Ocean Turtle Newsletter and Current Conservation, and Editor of Conservation and Society. He is a Founding Trustee of Dakshin Foundation, which aims to inform and advocate conservation and natural resource management through inter-disciplinary research and action.