Staff Reporter

YETI 2009 is a student-driven experiment

BANGALORE: The J.N. Tata Auditorium hummed with the fervent exchange of ideas from all over the country as the “Young Ecologists Talk and Interact” (YETI) conference kicked off here on Thursday.

Organised collectively by six ecological institutes and departments including the Centre of Ecological Sciences (CES) at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc.), the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) and the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and Environment (ATREE), YETI 2009 is an entirely student-driven conference to create a platform for young ecologists to meet and interact.

The three-day conference has brought together students pursuing their doctoral studies, or those who have completed it recently, from 20 States so they can showcase their work, and even enter into possible collaborations.

“Students from 220 different institutions have registered, and as of now we have 250 people as part of the audience and participants,” said M.O. Anand, member, organising committee. M. Muralidharan, who has completed his master’s in Wildlife Sciences from the Wildlife Institute of India in Dehradun, presented a portion of his dissertation on the Olive Ridley turtles and the human pressure on turtles. He said: “This is a really good chance for students in related subjects to meet one another.” Satish B.N., who presented his work on coffee-based agro-forestry and livelihood issues in Kodagu, seconded this opinion.

Apart from paper presentation, the conference also includes “workshop talks” by the one like Raghavendra Gadakar, Professor of Biology, IISc., who gave students advice about research and the thought behind it.

He told The Hindu that the conference was a “completely unexpected experiment” conducted by the students on a “shoestring budget”, and was remarkably successful. “This conference is unique to Bangalore and I haven’t seen anything quite like it before.” According to him, Bangalore is becoming significant in the field of ecology and environment. Friday evening will witness the Narendra Babu Memorial Lecture, organised by the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS). “This public lecture on using science to conserve the tiger will be given by K. Ullas Karanth at 5 p.m.,” said R. Nandini of NIAS.

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