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Elephants, Tigers and More: Adiyta Gangadharan at Real Scientists – Real Scientists

Elephants, Tigers and More: Adiyta Gangadharan at Real Scientists

We are delighted to welcome our next curator, Dr Aditya Gangadharan (@AdityaGangadh), Postdoctoral fellow at the University of Alberta. Aditya started out Mewith an bachelor’s degree in chemistry in Chennai, India, followed by a Masters in environmental biology at St Andrews University, Scotland, UK.  His PhD was in ecology at University of Alberta, Canada. Aditya is also a Data Scientist at his own start-up, High Level Analytics, and blogs in three languages. Here’s Aditya’s story.


I grew up in cities, but I was always interested in biodiversity even there – plants, snakes (Russells vipers & cobras in garden) and birds. I tried feeding wild elephants when I was 12 (I DONT recommend this – I had to be rescued by my grandmother!). After a detour via chemistry (BSc), quantitative ecology (MSc), I finally settled on my passion for various jobs and eventual PhD – the conservation of large mammals.

Because I like charismatic megafauna – there is something magnetic about animals like tigers or elephants. But ultimately, these are merely the most visible symbols of biodiversity as a whole, which is worth conserving for its intrinsic as well as economic value.

fieldworkfailIn general, I work on conserving large mammals. I currently work at the University of Alberta Grizzly Bear Research and Conservation Project, the purpose of which is to identify the risk factors leading to trains running over bears in Banff, Canada. In my copious free time (haha, as if that exists!) I also do data analytics at my startup company, High Level Analytics.

Because baby elephants are pretty damn cute. OK OK, because as humans, we have an inherent fascination for large and magnificent mammals such as tigers, elephants, bears and rhinos; they are symbols of the wild and biodiversity in general. They help keep natural ecosystems healthy, which in turn keeps us healthy!

I am currently working on a couple of projects: one related to communicating research findings to policymakers, by translating and summarizing technical peer-reviewed papers (which no policymaker reads) to Indian languages. The other is related to improving the job security of the indigenous people whom we employ as field assistants in India, by developing an online job-exchange platform bringing together researchers and field assistants.

I am a proud veteran of multiple #fieldworkfails, if that can even be considered a hobby… and I enjoy ice-skating.

Ideal Day Off? Driving a 4WD vehicle in a rugged tropical forest area to a medium-sized (Note: medium, not tall!) hill, climbing up said hill and watching hornbills fly over the forest below.

Please welcome Aditya to Real Scientists!

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