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Name Professor Mahesh Sankaran
(Professor Mahesh Sankaran)
FNA ID P21-1886
Address National Centre for Biological Sciences, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Bellary Road,
City Bengaluru
Pin Code 560065
Country India
Gender Male
Specialization Global Change Biology, Savanna ecology, Land degradation, Dynamics of nutrient and energy transfer, Biodiversity-ecosystem function relationships, Conservation Bio
Service in the Council
Qualification Ph.D.
  Year of Election 2021  
E-mail mahesh@ncbs.res.in
Personal Website https://www.ncbs.res.in/faculty/mahesh

Mahesh Sankaran received his MSc (Tech) Computer Science from BITS, Pilani, India (1988) and an MS in Zoology & Wildlife Biology from Auburn University, Auburn, AL, USA (1993). He received his PhD in Biology from Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY, USA (2001) under the guidance of Prof. S. J. McNaughton for his work on the effects of fire and herbivory on plant community dynamics in the southern Western Ghats. He then moved as a post-doctoral fellow to the Centre for Population Biology, Imperial College at Silwood Park, UK, where he looked at the effects of large grazing herbivores on belowground processes in African savannas. He worked as a Research Scientist to the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory (NREL), Colorado State University, CO, USA (2002-2006), studying the large-scale determinants of tree community structure in African savannas. In 2006, he moved to the University of Leeds as a lecturer in Biology. Since 2009, he has been a faculty at the National Centre for Biological Sciences, TIFR, Bengaluru.\r\n\r\nAcademic and Research Achievements: Dr. Sankaran’s early work addressed a long-standing debate in ecology as to whether savannas – biomes characterized by the co-dominance of both trees and grasses – are natural or anthropogenically derived ecosystems. His work showed that across a gradient of increasing rainfall, savannas switch from being water-limited ‘stable’ systems to disturbance-mediated ‘unstable’ systems. Interestingly, the threshold at which savannas switch from being ‘resource-controlled’ to ‘disturbance-controlled’ differs between savannas on different continents, suggesting that despite their structural similarity, savannas on different continents are in fact functionally different. More recently, Dr. Sankaran’s research has focused on a range of Indian ecosystems, including forests, savannas and grasslands, to understand how anthropogenic activities and global change drivers such as increased temperatures, droughts and nutrient deposition patterns are impacting the stability and functioning of these ecosystems. \\r\\n\\r\\nOther Contributions: Dr. Sankaran was a Coordinating Lead Author for the Land Degradation and Restoration Assessment of the Intergovernmental Science Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES 2018), a review editor for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report on Climate Change and Land (2019), and served as a section lead for the IPBES-IPCC co-sponsored workshop on Biodiversity and Climate Change (2021). He has served on the Editorial Board of several national and international journals including Journal of Ecology, Biotropica and Conservation and Society.\r\n\r\nAwards and Honours: Dr Sankaran received the Infosys Prize in Life Sciences (2021), SERB Distinguished Investigator Award (2018), Alexander Gourevitch Memorial Award, Syracuse University (2001), and the Joseph L. Fisher Dissertation Award, Resources for the Future, Washington, DC (2000).

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