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Synergies between fragmentation and habitat patch degradation: implications for species and population viability
Loss of continuous tropical forest is known to impact native plant reproduction and population viability. The remaining forest patches and their surrounding matrix are commonly exposed to intensified human disturbance and further degradation. There are yet no studies that consider these co-occurring threats, which are expected to go beyond the physical effects of fragmentation on its own. For that reason this project investigates the potential direct effects of habitat fragmentation and patch quality on the reproductive output by reducing the habitat suitable for seedling establishment and the potential indirect effects by disrupting essential reproductive processes by affecting the activities of pollinators and seed dispersers.
We will combine molecular and ecological approaches to investigate how these processes may affect reproduction and gene flow of two rare tree species, Dysoxylum malabaricum (Meliaceae), Vateria indica (Dipterocarpaceae) endemic to the Western Ghats, in South India. The research area is situated in a heavily fragmented agro-forest landscape containing a high density of small ‘sacred grove’ forests within a matrix of shade coffee plantations with native tree cover. The native tree cover in this system is being replaced with fast growing exotics, which additionally will affect genetic connectivity along the landscape.
Collaborators include Dr. Uma Shaanker at ATREE, Bangalore, and Dr. Kushalappa, at the Forestry College, Ponnampet, South Kodagu.
|Since January 2009||PhD student at the Ecosystem Management group under supervision of Dr. Chris Kettle and Prof. Jaboury Ghazoul|
|2008||Research fellow at the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL) at the Environmental and Resource Economics group, for calculating the enforcement and management costs of the Swiss biotopes of national importance|
|2007/2008||Assistant in the molecular lab of the Ecosystem Management group working on gene flow of rare Malayan trees species and writing the research proposal of my current PhD thesis|
|2007||Two months employed as scientific staff at the Plant Ecology group of the Institute of Integrative Biology (ETHZ) for the submission of the Red List status of endangered plants of Seychelles to the IUCN.|
|2004 - 2005||Work experience for five months in Karagwe, Tansania, Africa at the Environment Department of the Diocese Rulenge in the area of “Participatory Natural Resource Management“|
|2001-2004||Employed at the Department of Environmental Science at “ETHZ” as Help Assistant and as Tutor for the course “Introduction towards the Acquaintance of Environmental Systems”.|
Degree in Environmental Sciences at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich (ETH).
Diploma thesis Theme and Title: „Suggested IUCN Red List Status of the Endemic Woody Plants of the Inner Seychelles“. This thesis was honored with Walter Schneider Prize 2007 by the Department of Environmental Science at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich (ETH), for its innovative association of an environmental theme.
Ismail, S., A. Buser, R. Uma Shaanker, G. Ravikanth, J. Ghazoul and C. J. Kettle (2012). Development of polymorphic microsatellite markers for the critically endangered and endemic Indian dipterocarp, Vateria indica L. (Dipterocarpaceae). Conservation Genetics Resources: 1-3. Published online 04 December 2012. DOI 10.1007/s12686-012-9829-9
Ismail, S., J. Ghazoul, G. Ravikanth, R. Uma Shaanker, C. G. Kushalappa and C. J. Kettle (2012). Does long-distance pollen dispersal preclude inbreeding in tropical trees? Fragmentation genetics of Dysoxylum malabaricum in an agro-forest landscape. Molecular Ecology 21(22): 5484-5496.
Ismail, S., Huber, M., and Mougal, J., 2011, Red List assessments of 41 woody species and 3 woody subspecies endemic to the Seychelles. In IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. IUCN Accessed on 15 November 2012.
Bolliger, J., Thomas J.E., Eggenberg, S., Ismail, S., Seidel, I., Kienast, F. (2011) Balancing Forest-Regeneration Probabilities and Maintenance Costs in Dry Grasslands of High Conservation Priority. Conservation Biology 25 (3): 567-576.
Finger A., Ismail S., Ghazoul J. & Kettle C.J. (2010) Development of polymorphic microsatellite markers of the endangered and endemic Vateriopsis seychellarum (Dipterocarpaceae), a relict canopy tree of the Seychelles. Conservation Genetic Resources. Doi: 10.1007/s12686-010-9213-6 (PDF)
Ismail S., Schwab F., Tester U., Kienast F., Martinoli D., Seidl I. (2009) Kosten eines gesetzeskonformen Schutzes der Biotope von nationaler Bedeutung. Birmensdorf, Eidg. Forschungsanstalt für Wald, Schnee und Landschaft; Basel, Pro Natura; Bern Forum Biodiversität, SCNAT. 122S.
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