The topic was Biodiversity and the venue was NCL (auditorium) Pune.
The day was as pleasant as it could be...the air refreshing and the ambiance enthusiastic...greeted with excellent photographic lobby of birds,snails and flowers...they really couldn't have appeared better than these! The auditorium was filled with students, teachers, research fellows and eminent scientists belonging to varied fields...it was the very first encounter with diversity for the day!!!
“you look at that river gently flowing by. You notice the leaves rustling with the wind. You hear the birds’ you hear the tree frogs. In the distance you hear a cow. You feel the grass. The mud gives a little bit on the river bank. It is quiet; it’s peaceful. And all of a sudden, it’s a gear shift inside you. And it’s like taking a deep breath and going….. Oh’ yeah, I forgot about this” (An inconvenient Truth)
The first talk was by Dr. H.N.Gour...he gave an full-fledged introduction to bio-diversity...also impressed the Puneites...with introductory Marathi lines! A very important point that he put across was of GMO's and issues related to them, also truly quoted biodiversity as GLOBAL WEALTH.
The next to come was the best of all I feel...Dr. Hema Sane, she grabbed the attention of every pair of eyes...right from the moment her name was announced and she was on the podium...a real simple down to earth lady she is...in her late 60's may be! A botanist, had focused her lecture on "Wild is Beautiful" part of plant diversity!
Doing justice to the title...she actually showed the true beauty of the wild, excellent pictorial representations and her precise perfect descriptions...completely changed the way i looked at botany as a subject and plants in specific! During her talk she conveyed a very important message...Conserve plants and other life forms not for humanly benefits...but for them..The plants themselves... because you are no one to decide their fate but you need to respect their rights!!!
Aditi Pant took us to Antarctica, she really did!!! With million dollar pics of the Antarctic biodiversity...she explained the food webs there and gave a precept of microbial, fungal, algal, plant, animal and aquatic biodiversity at the Antarctic!
Her good sense of humour was evident during the talk and she convincingly showed "humans are the real problematic creatures on this planet"
Dr.M.V.Deshpande enlightened about the fungal-insect interactions which i never even thought of...the various aspects and the questions posed by him were actually challenging. The journey from pathogenecity to non-lethal parasitism was truly commendable!
Next in line was the topic most hyped these days in microbiology "the unculturables" basically it was “Molecular Approaches for Exploring Uncultured Bacterial Diversity in Extreme Environment” It was an excellent comparison of various techniques used in molecular methods and the boon they are in studying bacterial diversity without culturing!!!(Wow!)
Have you ever thought cockroaches were beautiful...or rather can ever look beautiful? And they show parental care? And insects were the most dominant life forms? This was exactly what Dr. Hemant Ghate shed light on...! He really changed the way we all looked at those creepy creatures!
This was the most impressive man; btw most impressive was his CV...A radiologist by profession and also an ornithologist and photographer!!! Dr.Satish Pande
He had got all his statistics right, right from avian food preferences to their nesting periods to their clutch size to their cultural significance from conservation angle(phew!)
Best were his recommendations for conservation of avian diversity!
Dr. Sawarkar had a collection of excellent quotes...he gave an overall picture of Indian biodiversity and statistics of the endangered one’s and also a word of caution about the wrongly put forward exaggerated figures of the actually non existing wildlife!
All in all the workshop was truly an eye opener..it made quite a few things evident...
- mimicking is a very successful strategy employed by diverse life forms!
- presence of mind is the most important facet of life everyone should adorn(all speakers had excellent presence of mind and related their talks to fellow speakers quite well)
Something to think on...
“Darwin gave us the first glimpse of the origin of species. We know now what was unknown to all the preceding caravan of generations: that men are only fellow voyagers with other creatures in the odyssey of evolution. The new knowledge should have given us, by this time, a kinship with other fellow creatures; a wish to live and let live; a sense of wonder over the magnitude and duration of the biotic enterprise” -----Aldo Leopold