About the Department
The Department of Zoology came into existence by way of the teaching at UG level with the setting up of Birla Government Degree College at Srinagar (Garhwal) in 1962. Subsequently, it was upgraded as a PG and Research Department with the inception of Garhwal University in 1973. Since then, owing to the sustained efforts of the faculty members along with the untiring hard work of the employees under able leaderships, the department has made a steady progress in all spheres of higher learning.
The important academic contribution of faculty members was recognized by the UGC, as the Department has been identified as a ‘Centre of Excellence’ for teaching and research through its Special Assistance Programme (UGC-SAP, DRS-COSIST, 1994 onward). Also, DST-FIST (2003) and DBT-HRD (2008) have further strengthened the department.
Over the years, the Department developed a strong research base in the field of Environmental Endocrinology, Freshwater Ecology, Chemoreception Behaviour, Fish and Fisheries Science, Conservation Biology, Drosophila Taxonomy and Reproduction & Developmental Molecular Endocrinology addressing both basic as well as applied researches relevant regionally, nationally and internationally.
Till date, over 100 scholars have been awarded D.Phil./ Ph.D. degree in addition to 02 D.Sc. Degree in Zoology. Also, 15 Ph.D. degree were awarded in Biotechnology. The Department has the distinction of having completed 35 individual research projects funded by Central and State funding agencies. As the students of the department have been placed in many prestigious national and international Institutes/Universities, the department has an impressive list of distinguished alumni.
The faculty members have been honoured by various awards and fellowships viz., INSA Young Scientist, UGC Career Development Award, Royal Society (UK) Bursary Award, Fellowship of the Indian Academy of Science (Bangalore), Fellowship of American Ornithologists Union, SERC Fellowship of DST, Fellowships of National Institute of Ecology. Also, the faculty members have been elected to various prestigious institutional bodies namely International Committee of Avian Endocrinologist, International Union of Game Biologists, International Commission of WAVPPB of IUPS, International Ornithological Committee, Asian Fisheries Society (Indian Branch), National Institute of Ecology, and Royal Entomological Society, London.
The Department has so far, organized 05 National and 06 International Seminar/Symposia/Conference. Of recent, an International Workshop in collaboration with Department of Biology at the University of Copenhagen and the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources, under International Network Programme (INP) funded by Danish Agency of Science and Higher Education, Ministry of Higher Education and Science, Denmark-2019 was conducted. The faculty members regularly participate in International and National seminars/symposia/conferences, and have published more than 500 Research papers/articles in the scientific journals of National and International repute.
At present the department offers B.Sc., M.Sc. and Ph.D. programmes in Zoology, however, it was also running three other programmes i.e., M.Sc. Biotechnology, Integrated 5 Year M.Sc. Biotechnology, and M.Sc. Himalayan Aquatic Biodiversity until recently, when separate departments of Himalayan Aquatic Biodiversity and Biotechnology were created in 2019 and 2020, respectively.
Quality Teaching Ensured
- Choice Based Semester System (CBCS): Core, Electives & Self-Study Courses; Continuous Internal Assessment
- Regular revision of curriculum: To impart advance knowledge; competitive examinations & job oriented
- Innovative teaching: Seminars, Group Discussions, Tutorials, Project Assignments, Brainstorming Interactive Group Teaching & Computer Assisted Teaching
- Enriched Library: To support the teaching and research, departmental library facility with access to multiple copies of latest editions of standard text and reference books
ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENTS AND QUALITY HRD
The Department identified by UGC for excellence in research and teaching through SAP-DRS I, II & COSIST, DST-FIST, DBT-HRD, has emerged as a hub of scientific activity and quality Human Resource Development.
- The department values its warm ambience and strong student-teacher rapport which is conducive for creative thinking & personality building.
- Attracts every year students from different Universities & States.
- Highly motivated students organize weekly seminars as part of continuous internal assessment along with other beyond curriculum activities.
- Students regularly qualify national tests (NET, GATE, SLET, ICAR/ICMR)
- High student placement (in industry & Universities).
- Animal dissection replaced by behaviour and conservation biology syllabi at UG & PG level since last fifteen years.
- High quality basic & applied researches (IF 2-3.6) carried out that have placed the country on world map in identified areas viz., Freshwater Biology, Fisheries Science, Fish Biology, Conservation Biology, Fish Molecular Endocrinology, and Drosophila Taxonomy
- Consultancy provided to NTPC, NHPC, RITES, VAPCOS on water quality, aquatic flora & fauna, hatchery design etc.; Inputs to fish farmers; Expertise extended to ICAR Fisheries Institutes.
Major Identified Areas of Research
E-flows and Ecosystem Services: Additional interests, biogeography of highland aquatic biodiversity in the Indian sub-continent
Conservation Biology: Himalayan Biodiversity, & Ichthyo-Genome Diversity, Aquatic diversity, Faunal Resource Management
Freshwater Biology: Lake, stream and river ecology, productivity & bioenergetics & Habitat Ecology
Community and Population Ecology: Aquatic communities (fish, benthic macroinvertebrates & diatoms)
Fish Ecology & Taxonomy: Molecular Phylogeny, Evolution, Diversity and Population Dynamics of Coldwater Fishes with emphasis on Himalayan Mahseer and Snow Trout
Drosophila Taxonomy & Ecology: Systematics, Molecular Phylogeny, Evolution, Pest and Biodiversity of family Drosophilidae
Reproduction & Developmental Molecular Endocrinology: Reproduction Biology, Developmental molecular endocrinology of fish
- MoU with National Bureau of Fish Genetic Resource (ICAR), Lucknow December 2019
- MoU with Directorate of Coldwater Fisheries (ICAR), Bhimtal – (In process)
- Agreement with Dept. of Biology at the University of Copenhagen and the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources, under International Network Programme (INP) funded by Danish Agency of Science and Higher Education, Ministry of Higher Education and Science, Denmark -2019
- Centre for Eco-hydrology, United Kingdom - River Health Assessment in the Upper Ganga: A scoping study, Unpublished report - CEH Reference NCE06123 ODA 2017
- UNESCO Chair on River Culture (in french: Fleuves et Patrimoines) – Publication http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.eco- hyd.2015.12.003
- The Institute of Low Temperature Science, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan
- Initiated - Climate change impact on proglacial freshwater ecosystems functioning
- The myth that animals in tropics do not use day length to time seasonal phenomenon (viz., reproduction, moulting) demolished.
- Basic concepts in photoperiodism & hormone (thyroid) action challenged.
- Radioimmunoassay standardized for thyroid hormones in animal sera first time in the country.
- First data base on thyroid hormone profiles for management of Goitre & Iodine Deficiency Disorders in Himalaya–a health hazard in mountains.
- Erstwhile circulating protein bound iodine (PBI) universally used in thyroid diagnosis first demonstrated to be an erroneous parameter.
- First unequivocal evidence provided for the hormonal basis of bird migration.
- A novel approach to study Himalayan biodiversity commenced integrating molecular, phenotypic (morphological, osteological), behavioral & ecological aspects.
- First DNA finger prints of Himalayan fish species, registered with NCBI, USA (in collaboration with CCMB, Hyderabad).
- Application of Bioinformatics Tools to distribution & evolution of Himalayan fauna, Human tribes, Incidence of diseases.
- Role of pheromones in reproductive behaviour and physiology of fish has been evaluated for the first time in Indian Subcontinent. Studies carried out include the isolation, identification, chemistry, release mechanism & mode of action of sex pheromones in fish.
- Successful development of hatchery and stocking facilities for hill stream fishes including the Snow trout (Schizothorax richardsonii) and Himalayan Mahseer (Tor putitora).
- Morpho-histological and histochemical basis of organogenesis from Pre to Post flexing stages in hill stream fishes have been revealed.
- DNA isolation and sequencing of Glyptothorax spp. have been accomplished.
- Strong knowledge base on the fishery biology, ecology and population dynamics, over a period of more than two decades, has been developed to assess the status of the Himalayan mahseer, a threatened fish species, to compliment conservation.
- Based on evaluation of microhabitat characteristics of early life stage (0+ Year) of threatened Himalayan Mahseer, habitat suitability for its conservation recommended.
- Inventorization of the aquatic biodiversity of Garhwal Himalaya, organisms of interest being benthic diatoms, benthic macroinvertebrates and fish.
- Community structure, productivity and distribution of macroinvertebrate benthos at watershed and catchment scale in the Himalayan region revealed.
- Study on molecular characterization of benthic macroinvertebrates initiated.
- Pioneering study to determine the ecological (including trophic and saprobic) state of streams and rivers vis-à-vis land use across all major river basins of the Uttarakhand State.
- Developing strategies for sustainable use of mountain fishery resources.