South Asia is home to a rich endemic biodiversity. Studies of many components of this biodiversity are not only interesting in their own right but are also needed for global perspectives on the origins and evolution of animal, plant and fugal groups that have more cosmopolitan distributions. However, much South Asian biodiversity is poorly known and understudied such that there is much more remaining to be discovered (and opportunities for exciting discoveries). I will give some examples of recent biodiversity research in South Asia. Beyond the biology per se I will also highlight and discuss obstacles to biodiversity research in South Asia from a historical perspective. I will suggest that, at least in some areas, there are strong indications of substantial advances in science quality associated with the maturation of a new generation of biodiversity scientists.
Mark Wilkinson is a British Evolutionary Biologists. He is currently Head of Vertebrates in the Department of Life Sciences at the Natural History Museum having previously lectured at the Universities of Bristol and Glasgow. He holds honorary and visiting professorships at University College London and the Free University of Brussels, is a Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences and is President-Elect of the Systematics Association. He has been conducting and encouraging research on the caecilian amphibians of South Asia for more than 20 years and has spent many months there pursuing collaborations with many South Asian scientists.
Mark Wilkinson, Life Sciences Department, Natural History Museum, London