A week in the Heart of India

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by Srinivas Rao – Last month, I got an opportunity to be a part of Field Biology Course, teaching  VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) sampling in field including a brief introduction into VOC analysis using GCMS techniques held at Pachmarhi, Madhya Pradesh, India.

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Santosh Rajus and myself giving a presentation on VOC Sampling Analysis

Pachmarhi is a hill station in Madhya Pradesh within central India. Pachmarhi comes under the Pachmarhi Cantonment Board of the Indian Army and is called popularly as “Satpura Ki Rani” (Queen of Satpura) and stands at an altitude of 1067 metres having iconic landscapes.

The whole week was awesome with sessions involving introductions to e-Bird, Seasonwatch, Vegetation sampling techniques, Moth trap sampling, Trapping rodents, Birdwatching-where we got to see and identify different kinds of birds such as the Red vented bulbul, Black drongo, Indian robin, Hume’s warbler, Indian yellow tit, Greenish warbler, Kingfisher, Brown headed barbet, Common myna, Woodpecker, Small minivet, Peacock, Vultures etc.

On the last day we had an opportunity to explore Satpura Forest Range. It was about 5 hours trekking deep into the forest where we all got exposed to different vegetation types and landscape ecology of Satpura forest range.  We had the chance to see animals in their natural habitats. We saw a few footprints of tigers, but couldn’t spot them.

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This forest provides habitat to several flora and fauna from fungi to evergreen Sal trees.

Finally, I would like to thank Dr. Shannon B Olsson and Dr. Uma Ramakrishnan for giving me an opportunity to be a part of thisField Biology Course, Dr. Dhruba Sharma-Program Manager, and DBT-Chemical Ecology Program for funding, and last but not least Mr. Anup Prakash, Field Director for great hospitality at Pachmarhi Field Station.

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