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Monday, 16 September 2019 08:43

From giant crocs to sea serpents

A WNPS additional monthly lecture titled “From giant crocs to sea serpents: Understanding ecology for better conservation of reptiles” by Dr. Ruchira Somaweera will be held on 23 September, from 6 p.m. at Sri Lanka Foundation Institute, Sri Lanka Padanama Mw, 100 Independence Square, Colombo 7.

Reptiles create more fear and fascination in humans than any other living group of animals. For many people, they are nothing but slimy, scaly, or scary creatures. However, reptiles play crucial, but often “

“silent” ecological, economic, and cultural roles in ecosystems and societies throughout the world. Despite this importance, one-fifth of the world’s estimated 10,500 species of reptiles are threatened with extinction, and we hardly know anything about another four-fifths. These knowledge gaps are most prominent in the tropics, including in islands like Sri Lanka, hindering effective conservation and management actions. What can we learn from the scientific ecological research in other parts of the world to better understand and conserve the fascinating reptiles of Sri Lanka? Let’s take a global journey.

c692bf9d 33424 P 13 mrDr. Ruchira Somaweera is an evolutionary biologist with a broad research interest on how reptiles adapt to a changing world. Having completed his PhD at the University of Sydney, Dr. Somaweera is currently a Research Fellow at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) of Australia and the University of Western Australia. His current research subjects range from sea snakes in the Indian Ocean to crocodiles in the remote Kimberley Outback of Australia to reptiles of Komodo National Park in Indonesia to the lizards in the “novel ecosystems” of Sri Lanka. Dr. Somaweera’s work has led to many research publications and four books on herpetology, including the most comprehensive field guides to the snakes and lizards of Sri Lanka. He is a member of several IUCN reptile specialists’ and red-listing committees. As a National Geographic Explorer and a scientist of the STEM Professionals in School programme of the Australian Government, he is actively involved in inspiring the general public and the next generation of biologists on wildlife and nature conservation.

WNPS additional monthly lecture for September

The subject of a long-time study of the Australian freshwater croc

photos Ruchira Somaweera

Ruchira Somaweera

Blue pitviper from Komodo

Largest reptile on earth, the Saltwater crocodile