Manipur University‘s senior most professor and head of the department of life sciences Prof Waikhom Vishwanath was named as non-official member of the Research Advisory and Monitoring Committee (RAMC) of Zoological Survey of India (ZSI), a premier Indian institute in zoological research and studies to promote the survey, exploration and research of the fauna in the country.
Under Secretary of Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change Abhijit Roy issued an office memorandum in this regard on September 27, according to reports available here.
Prof Vishwanath is said to be the only committee member from an institution in Northeast India among the 17-member RAMC with Director General Dr SC Gairola of Indian Council of Forestry Research & Education, Dehradun as its chairman.
The RAMC which was reconstituted on September 24 will identify the thrust areas and recommend research priority of ZSI as per vision 2020 document of the institute besides formulating research programmes including conservation priority for endangered and threatened fauna.
RAMC will also review research programmes, conservation and management, capacity building, review on status & maintenance of national zoological collection emeritus scientist scheme.
Prof Vishwanath who has been actively engaged in the taxonomy and systematic of the freshwater fishes of the Eastern Himalaya with financial assistance from different funding agencies of India has discovered more than 70 new species of fishes so far; produced two dozen PhD degree holders, published more than 120 research papers and 4 books on fish taxonomy.
Six year ago, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has named Manipur University’s Prof Vishwanath along with a senior researcher Dr Rajeev Raghavan of Kerala among 19 members Freshwater Fish Specialist Group to study 18 region (freshwater) of the world.
Thus both of them became the first Indians to serve as the co-chairs for the South Asia region to assess the new fish species as per IUCN’s red list, identify research, management and conservation priorities for fresh water fishes and their habitats, related advocacy activities by promoting and carrying out conservation and research actions and communication by providing two annual updates of regional activities for FFSG website to create awareness about fresh water fish species for four years.