I am interested in understanding the relationships between non-charismatic species like bats and people in agroforestry systems. Support for conservation of bats is generally limited in India – mainly due to misconceptions, cultural beliefs and limited scientific knowledge, despite their important ecological functions. Bats are good examples of the complexities inherent to biodiversity conservation in human-dominated landscapes, as they can be both beneficial and harmful to people in different contexts. Hence, assessing the implications of ecosystem functions of bats and local ecological knowledge are crucial for bat conservation.
For my PhD research at ATREE, I aim to study ecosystem services generated by frugivorous and insectivorous bats in agroforestry systems of the Western Ghats, India.
In addition, I am keenly interested in the sensory ecology of animals. My work on insectivorous bat ecology primarily includes non-invasive acoustic methods to record bat ultrasound in the field, to understand their foraging habitat use. I am also involved in studies on echolocation of river dolphins and underwater acoustics. Other academic interests include community ecology, animal movement and landscape ecology, evolutionary biology, biogeography, chronobiology, and conservation education.
M.Sc. in Genomics (2009), Centre for Excellence in Genomic Sciences, Madurai Kamraj University, Madurai
B.Sc. in Biochemistry, Zoology, Microbiology (2007), Bangalore University, Bangalore
Scientific publications (* = corresponding author)
Deshpande, K.*, Vanak, A. T., Devy, M. S. & Krishnaswamy, J. (2022) Forbidden fruits? Ecosystem services from seed dispersal by fruit bats in the context of latent zoonotic risk. Oikos. 2022(2): e08359. https://doi.org/10.1111/oik.08359
Deshpande, K.*, Kelkar, N., Krishnaswamy, J. & Sankaran, M. (2021) Stretching the habitat envelope: Insectivorous bat guilds can use rubber plantations, but need understorey vegetation and forest buffers. Frontiers in Conservation Science. 2:751694. https://doi.org/10.3389/fcosc.2021.751694
Dey, S., Choudhary, S. K., Dey, S., Deshpande, K. & Kelkar, N. (2020) Identifying potential causes of fish declines through local ecological knowledge of fishers in the Ganga River, eastern Bihar, India. Fisheries Management and Ecology. 27(2): 140–154
Deshpande, K.* & Kelkar N. (2019) Environmental influences on acoustic divergence in Rhinolophus bats of the Western Ghats-Sri Lanka region. BioRxiv.
Kelkar, N., Dey, S., Deshpande, K., Choudhary, S. K., Dey, S. & Morisaka, T. (2018) Foraging and feeding ecology of Platanista: an integrative review. Mammal Review. 48(3): 194 –208
Deshpande, K.*, Gangal, M. & Kelkar, N. (2016) First record of a bat from the Lakshadweep archipelago, southwestern India. Mammalia. 80(2): 223–225
Deshpande, K.* & Kelkar, N. (2015) Acoustic identification of Otomops wroughtoni and other free-tailed bat species (Chiroptera: Molossidae) from India. Acta Chiropterologica. 17(2): 419–428 (https://bioone.org/journals/acta-chiropterologica/volume-17/issue-2/1508...)
Deshpande, K.* & Kelkar, N. (2015) How do fruit bat seed shadows benefit agroforestry? Insights from local perceptions in Kerala, India. Biotropica. 47(6): 654–659 (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/btp.12275)
Soisook, P., Struebig, M., Noerfahmy, S., Bernard, H. Maryanto, I., Chen, S-F., Kuo, H-C., Deshpande, K., Bates, P. J. J., Sykes, D. & Miguez, R. P. (2015) Description of a new species of the Rhinolophus trifoliatus-group (Chiroptera: Rhinolophidae) from Southeast Asia. Acta Chiropterologica. 17(1): 21–36
Deshpande, K.* (December 2022) നിപ്പയും, വവ്വാലും, സഹവാസമെന്ന സങ്കല്പവും. Malayalam translation by Sreedevi D. and Susruthan (Ala editors). (https://alablog.in/issues/51/coexisting-with-fruit-bats-malayalam/)
Deshpande, K.* (May 2022) Article in "Bhavatal" - the only Marathi magazine on environment. "वटवाघुळांकडे नेमके कसे पाहायचे?" भवताल मासिक, मे २०२२ अंक, पृष्ठसंख्या ४ - ७.
Deshpande, K.* (April 2022). Coexisting with fruit bats in the shadow of Nipah virus. Ala, A Kerala Studies Blog. (https://alablog.in/issues/44/coexisting-with-fruit-bats/)
Deshpande, K.* (April 2022). Fruit bat-people interactions: benefits, costs, or risks?, Oikos Journal Blog (https://www.oikosjournal.org/blog/fruit-bat-people-interactions)
Deshpande, K.* (2020). Live with bats or kill them? There is a third option even during coronavirus crisis (https://theprint.in/opinion/live-with-bats-or-kill-them-third-option-dur...)
Deshpande, K.* (2019). Landscapes of fear, landscapes of hope - Part 1 (https://ayrnstories.wordpress.
Deshpande, K.* (2017). A rare bat speaks out (Link: https://www.atree.org/node/149)
Deshpande, K.* & Kelkar N (2016). Seeds from the sky: bats gift seeds and reduce labour costs for plantation farmers in Kerala, India. (Link: https://fsd2020.wordpress.com/2016/11/09/seeds-from-the-sky-bats-gift-se...)
Friend or foe? The way bats disperse seeds benefit farmers: Study. The Hindu. (https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/friend-or-foe-the-way-bat...)
Grants/ fellowships/ awards
Second Rufford Small Grants for Nature Conservation (2021), UK. (https://www.rufford.org/projects/kadambari-deshpande/under-the-bats-wing...)
Best oral presentation - second prize and conference fellowship, at FSD2020 - 7th International Conference on Frugivores and Seed Dispersal. Corbett landscape, India.
Student Research Scholarship for Global Bat Conservation Priorities, Bat Conservation International (2019), USA. Project title: Forbidden fruits? Understanding tradeoffs between seed-aggregation benefits and costs of disease risk from fruit bats.
Special recognition award: Verne & Marion Read Bat Conservation Honor (2019), USA.
Ravi Sankaran Inlaks Small Grants (2017-18), India.
Project title: Evaluating bat-generated ecosystem services to agroforestry systems of India's Western Ghats
Course fellowship by University of Southern Denmark for SNAK PhD summer course in Acoustic Communication (2017), Denmark
Edda G. Sehgal travel grant by ATREE for SNAK PhD summer course in Acoustic Communication (2017), Denmark
WWF-India Small Grants (2014-15). Project title: Assessing ecological impacts of commercial agro-forestry plantations on forest-dependent insectivorous bat species in the southern Western Ghats, India.
Idea Wild Equipment Grants (2013-14), USA. Project title: Assessing ecological impacts of commercial agro-forestry plantations on forest-dependent insectivorous bat species in the southern Western Ghats, India.
Rufford Small Grants for Nature Conservation (2011-12), UK. (https://www.rufford.org/projects/kadambari-deshpande/assessing-diversity...)
Summer Research Fellowship (SRFP - 2008), IAS, Bangalore; INSA, New Delhi; NASI, Allahabad, India. Project titles: Foraging behaviour in tadpoles of the Indian burrowing frog Sphaerotheca breviceps, preliminary studies as an evidence for ideal free distribution (IFD) and Study of developmental stages in Anurans.
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