NCBS maintains an air-conditioned, completely climate-controlled Research Collections unit. It holds biodiversity-related materials that are important for our taxonomic, phylogenetic, population genetic, and other evolutionary, ecological and conservation research. The collections contain dry (e.g., insects) and wet materials (e.g., herpetofauna and marine arthropods preserved in ethanol and formaldehyde). There is an adjacent but separate desk and work area for curators and research scientists working in the Research Collections. The long-term goal of this facility is to maintain world-class, modern research collections that include geo-referenced data and a DNA library for all specimens, with the associated information centrally databased. The facility is well-equipped with microscopes, imaging station, work desks, deep freezers, and instruments and supplies required for systematic, evolutionary and ecological work of various kinds. We envision this facility to form a long-term reference and a major resource for any modern biodiversity-related work in India.

We have already developed substantial collections of dry and wet specimens and deep-frozen tissue samples. As a result of research projects by NCBS faculty as well as international collaborations, we have some of the most extensive modern collections of Indian butterflies, cicadas and their endosymbionts, which are being used in global phylogenetic projects. We are international academic partners in two major Genealogy of Life (GoLife) projects funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF, USA), through which we are trying to understand the evolution and diversification of Indian amphibians and butterflies in the global context. We are also partnering in preparing global phylogenies of cicadas and fireflies to understand evolutionary relationships and diversification of Indian species in these groups.


Curators of Lepidoptera: Prof. Krushnamegh Kunte (NCBS), Sanjay Sondhi (Titli Trust), Yash Sondhi (Titli Trust)
Curators of Herpetology: Prof. Sushil Kumar Dutta, Akshay Khandekar (NCBS research associates)
Curator of Odonata: Shantanu Joshi (NCBS research associate)
Curators of Cicadidae and Fulgoridae (Hemiptera): Prof. Krushnamegh Kunte (NCBS), Kiran Marathe, Vivek Sarkar (NCBS research associates)
Curators of Arachnida: Rajesh Sanap, John Caleb (NCBS research associates)
Curator of Hymenoptera (bees): Dr. Johannes Spaethe (University of Wuerzburg, Germany), Dr. Johann Neumayer (Salzburg, Germany), Dr. Martin Streinzer (University of Vienna, Germany), Dr. Axel Brockmann (NCBS)

Curatorial Assistant: Tarun Karmakar (NCBS)

Major International Collaborators and Collaborations:

Prof. Chris Simon: University of Connecticut, USA (cicadas and their endosymbionts, supported under the National Academies of Sciences' (USA) Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research (PEER) SCIENCE programme)
Dr. Benjamin Price: Natural History Museum, London (systematics and citizen science of Indian cicadas)
Dr. Johannes Spaethe (University of Wuerzburg, Germany), Dr. Johann Neumayer (Salzburg, Germany), and Dr. Martin Streinzer (University of Vienna, Germany): Diversity of Bumblebees in the Himalaya
Dr. Emily Moriarty Lemmon and Dr. Alan Lemmon: Florida State University, USA (Anchored phylogenomics)
Dr. David Weisrock and Dr. Paul Hime (University of Kentucky, USA), and Dr. Alex Pyron (George Washington University, USA): global amphibian phylogenomics
Prof. Naomi Pierce (Harvard University, USA, NSF GoLife ButterflyNet project), Dr. David Lohman (City University of New York, USA, NSF GoLife ButterflyNet project), and Dr. Akito Kawahara and Dr. Robert Guralnick (University of Florida at Gainesville, USA, NSF GoLife ButterflyNet project): Global butterfly phylogenomics, trait evolution, biogeography, and ecology
Dr. Kathrin Stanger-Hall (University of Georgia, USA), Seth Bybee (Brigham Young University, USA), and Mark Branham (University of Florida, USA): Evolution and diversification of fireflies, through the NSF Collaborative Grant (2017-2021): Shedding Light on Firefly Phylogenetic Systematics and the Evolution of Their Sexual Signal Types
Dr. Blanca Huertas, Dr. David Lees and Dr. Geoff Martin: Natural History Museum, London (systematics and bioinformatics of Indian butterflies; development of the NCBS research collections)
Dr. David Gower: Natural History Museum, London (systematics of Indian amphibians and reptiles)

Contact us if you wish to engage with this research collections facility or to collaborate in any biodiversity-related projects in India.