Species Recovery Plan for Semecarpus kathalekanensis. Funded by Department of Biotechnology (DBT) New Delhi.
In this project, we used the niche modeling tool, DIVA-GIS to predict the habitat suitable for Semecarpus kathalekanensis in the Western Ghats, South India. Semecarpus kathalekanensis is an endemic species of the Myristica swamps, an endangered habitats in the Western Ghats. In order to predict the likely distribution of the S. kathalekanensis in the Western Ghats, using the ENM models such as DIVA-GIS we predicted the distribution of these endangered habitats (Myristica Swamps) in the Western Ghats. Based on these predictions, we were able to successfully discover at least 8 new swamps in the Western Ghats. In one the swamps in the Mavinagundi region, we have discovered one new population of Semecarpus kathalekanensis. Species recovery of S.kathalekanensis into newer type habitats requires a detailed understanding of the genetic structure of the existing populations. Since S. kathalekanensis is a dioecious species, it is imperative to identify male and female plants at the seedling stage so as to maintain the required sex ratio in the newer populations. With this background, an attempt was made to identify unique fingerprints of male and female individuals using appropriate molecular markers and to generate baseline information on inter and intra-population genetic variability of S. kathalekanensis. We also have developed species specific microsatellite markers in Semecarpus kathalelekanensis, and assessed the genetic variability of the species in different populations in the Western Ghats.