Bhagyashri Shanbhag obtained BSc, MSc and PhD (Zoology) (1977), all from Karnatak University, Dharwad. She joined Karnatak University as Lecturer in Zoology (1981) and continued to work there as Professor. Availing Commonwealth Fellowship (1994-95), she worked at Roslyn Institute, Edinburgh. She was also Visiting Scientist at National Institute for Basic Biology, Okazaki, Japan (1999).
Academic and Research Achievements: Shanbhag made outstanding contributions to reproductive and behavioral ecology of lizards using Calotes versicolor as model. She confined both laboratory and field studies in elucidating reproductive events and socio-sexual mechanisms controlling reproduction. She was successful in raising and breeding C. versicolor in captivity for the first time in India. Her studies showed how the lizards' trade-off energy for manipulation of clutch and egg sizes, oviductal egg retention under unfavorable conditions for as long as 6 months, embryonic diapause and mechanism of egg retention by lowering the body temperature and by the secretion of progesterone by adrenal gland (rather than from the ovaries) facilitating oviductal egg retention thereby providing the first experimental proof to the "stress induced evolution of viviparity" hypothesis. These finding opened a new avenue of research in thermal biology of reptiles. She also made significant contribution to behavioral ecology of Sitana ponticeriana and Psammophilus dorsalis by shedding light on population density, activity pattern, perching behavior, territoriality and language of communication. She has mentored six students for their PhD.
Awards and Honours: Professor Shanbhag is recipient of the Young Scientist Award by Karnataka Association of Advancement of Sciences, Bangalore (1984). She is the recipient of UGC National Hari Om Ashram Trust's Jagdish Chandra Bose Award for Life Sciences (2007). She is a Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore and National Academy of Science India, Allahabad.