Wogan (Eco-Evo-Omics) Lab
Sneha Dharwadkar

Sneha Dharwadkar

Leith’s softshell turtle clicked by David Raju

I am a herpetologist from India with work experience in conservation, education and research. I have worked in different parts of India on herpetofaunal studies, especially on turtle conservation, and various conservation education projects.

I worked on freshwater turtles and tortoises for rescues and rehabilitation work which got me digging for more information on them, only to find that turtles and tortoises of India are poorly studied! Freshwater turtles and tortoises fascinate me due to their natural history, diversity in body size, ecological adaptations, morphology and cultural significance. Moreover they are  highly threatened and are often exploited via illegal trade. I wanted to work towards conservation and spread awareness about these neglected animals and thus I co-founded Freshwater Turtles and Tortoises of India (FTTI). I am also a member of IUCN Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group (TFTSG). For my PhD thesis, I am interested in looking at phylogeography of softshell turtles of Nilssonia spp across different riverine ecosystems of India. I intend to study patterns of dispersal and diversification within the species in light of their large geographical range, albeit patchy and rapid human modification of their habitats. I am especially interested in the phylogeography of the Deccan softshell turtle (N. leithii) in India and to assess the relative influence of historical climate, geology, environmental, and anthropological factors on its populations. 
I am an avid birder and I occasionally paint, some of which surprisingly turn out good! You might be subjected to constant humming and sometimes a bit of singing when around me. For a sneak peek into my work and other unrelated (quite random) things in life, check out my instagram and twitter.