About Dr. Varad Giri
Varad Giri mainly works on the conservation of caecilians and lizards of the Western Ghats, India. His work is mainly focused on conducting intensive surveys in less explored areas to understand the diversity, distribution and conservation issues of the species and their habitats.
Highly skilled in his work, Varad has published in innumerable national and international journals, is credited with the rediscovery of the Jeypore Indian gecko after 135 years and has described till date, 30 new species of amphibians and reptiles from India. He is also credited with the discovery of the first Asian species of amphibians that bear live young. Apart from these achievements, he has also inspired world-famous colleagues and students to name two newly discovered species after him – the snake Dendrepahis girii and the gecko Cnemaspis girii. Having trained and worked at the iconic Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) for over ten years, he has brought his skills to NCBS, where he currently works as a post-doctoral fellow.
Giri’s current work not only includes the establishment and organisation of the herpetology section in the Collections Facility here; he is also actively working to revise and create morphological keys for identifying reptiles and amphibians. “Morphological taxonomy as a field has not evolved as much as other fields of biology in India. I think it is important to update this field by describing variations in old characters, and investigating new characters; for example, microscopy of stained tissue and skeletal traits for species identification in herpetology. I am also trying to develop keys that will allow even people with no background in the life sciences to identify reptiles and amphibians atleast to the Genus level”. Through the online courses he has conducted and networking sites like Facebook, Giri has collected a group of amateur herpetologists who often help with his work. His enthusiasm for the work he does is infectious, and Giri inspires others to follow his example in this field.