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Continue the Conservation Action Plan on Puntias bandula at Hapugoda, Elpitiya and Rabbedigala villages and trans location to Newgala forest

Principal Investigator : Dr. Devaka Weerakoon
Senior Lecturer, Department of Zoology , University of Colombo

Co investigators : Mr. Sampath Gunatilleke
  Mr. Tharaka Muthunayake
of Colombo
  Ms. Hasula Wickramasinghe
Biodiversity Secretariat, Ministry of Environment

Puntias bandula is a Critically Endangered freshwater fish distributed in about 2km long stretch of stream which originates from Rabbedigala village Rabeddigala, Hapugoda, and Minipura villages. The Stream is surrounded by human habitations and hence human interferences are very high on this species. Its population size has declined by about 90% during the past two decades and its current population stands at less than 200 mature adults.

The recovery programme for the Puntias bandula has started during 2010 and achieved following objectives.

  • Monitor the current status of the species in the type locality.
  • Carry out an awareness camping regarding the importance of conserving Puntias bandula in and around its type locality.
  • Establish community based conservation programme for the species in its type locality.
  • Identification of a suitable site to establish a second population.
  • Improving its current habitat through bank and catchment stabilization through tree planting as well as promoting mix cultivation in the home gardens of villages its habitat to increase the biodiversity and economic status.

As continuation of the project following activities intend carry out in 2011.

  • Continue to support the three village environment committees to carry out conservation activities in their respective villages.
  • Install two boards in the Hapugoda and Rabbedigala villages.
  • Monitor the trees that are planted and provide further tree planting where it has been identified as necessary.
  • Continue to monitor the status of the P bundula population and evaluation the impact of conservation action carried out on its ability to recover from its present status.
  • Continue the school awareness programme.
  • The discovery of Elpitiya population indicates that there may be other small populations inhabiting streams outside the type locality.
  • Establishment of self sustaining wild population in the Newgala forest reserve.


Investigation of Ludwigia sedioides as a potential invasive aquatic plant in the wet zone

Principal Investigator :

Dr.  K. Yakandawala
Department of Horticulture and Landscape Gardening,   Wayamba University of Sri Lanka

Invasion of invasive plants is considered as global threat to native biological diversity and ecosystems.   Horticultural trade has been implicated as a significant pathway of plant introductions into new regions.  Salvinia and Eichornia are most common aquatic invasive plants in Sri lanka.

Ludwigia sedioides L. commonly known as Mosaic flower, is an herbaceous perennial plant native to South America. According to NAQDA it is listed under ornamental aquatics, which are being propagated and exported.

A recent study conducted revealed the Ludwigia sedioides L. has spread rapidly and invaded several water bodies in Gampaha District .

Therefore this research conducts an extensive survey in the western province and document the occurrence of  Ludwigia sedioides  and the extent of spread, and also to study the mode of spread and potential allelopathic effect in order to provide information to prevent the spread and also to implement management programmes if in case, this plant become invasive plant in the aquatic ecosystems in future.


A study of some ecological and biological aspects of the water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes)

Principal Investigator :

Ms. Pradeepa Perera
Department of Botany, OUSL

Co investigators : Dr. Sudeera Ranwala
Department of plant Science, Unniversity of Colombo
  Dr. Devaka Weerakoon,
Department of Zoology, University of Colombo

Sri Lanka is reported to be a biodiversity hotspot in which over 30 invasive alien species(IAS) has been recorded.  Water hyacinth is listed as one of the worst invaders in aquatic eco systems in Sri Lanka.  Eichhornia has introduced to Sri Lanka in 1905 as an ornamental plant.  Despite of the efforts to eradicate this species using both manual and biological control methods over the last 100 years, Eichhornia still shows an island wide distribution posing a tremendous threat to aquatic biota in many inland water systems.

The lack of our ability to effective control this species is partly attributed to the incomplete knowledge on its biological and ecological aspects in our own environment.  Therefore detailed studies on ecology and biology of Eichhornia crassipes growing in Sri Lanka is urgently needed to fill this data gap to develop and strengthen strategies for its successful control and Management.

Environmental factors have been shown to play a major role in the rapid growth and spread of many invaders.  In this study indented to understand the influence of physico- chemical and biological parameters of water on the vegetative and reproductive growth of Eichhornia crassipes and how use these factors contribute to its rapid spread and re colonization after removal with the long term objective of developing a more affective management strategy for this alien invasive species.


Assessment of the taxonomic Gap analysis, distribution, anthropogenic threats and conservation status of the herpetofauna in Sri Lanka

Principal Investigator :

Mr. L.J. Mendis Wickramasinghe
Herpetological Foundation of Sri Lanka

Herpetofauna in Sri Lanka is represented by 318 species of which 111 are amphibians 100 are snakes, and 107 are tetrapode reptiles.  Proper studies have to be carried out amongst species, in order to evaluate there corrected origin and status, to increase the herpetofaunal diversity, to identify their correct type of localities, to fill the research gaps in major parts of the island, to take necessary conservation action plans for this important group, to correct present available data.  In order to accomplish the targets the studies will be carried out island wide in protected and non protected areasand ocean within 200 nautical miles. 
This survey intends to fulfill the following objectives:

  • Assess the conservation status of species using IUCN global Red List Criteria, and update the national and global Red lists of threatened species, and also update the national database on species
  • Update the taxonomy, including the potential discovery and description of new species
  • Determine the current distribution pattern and habitat requirements
  • Document specific threats, including potential impacts related to climate change.
  • Raise awareness on their conservation.


Bee species diversity in three selected habitats in the Maragamuwa forest regenerating site in Matale District

Principal Investigator :

Dr. W.A.I.P. Karunaratne
Senior Lecturer, Department of Zoology, University of  Peradeniya

Biological diversity is a resource on which man is becoming increasingly dependent.  Pollination is one of the most important mechanisms in the maintenance and promotion of biodiversity and, in general, life on earth.  One of the recommendations in Sao Paulo declaration on the pollinators is to protect natural habitats, within agricultural landscapes, as sources of wild pollinators for crop improvement.  The document further highlights the need to monitor the numbers and diversity of pollinators of target landscapes.

Among the animal pollinators, bees are to be the most diverse group with species numbering more than 25,000 species in the world.  Bees are also important as bio-indicators of habitat quality as bees are taxonomically and ecologically highly diverse, their species have high ecological fidelity, taxonomically well known and easy to identify, functionally important in ecosystems as pollinators and as a well studied group world wide.

Considering above factors study has been carried out assess the diversity of bees in three forest types in Maragamuwa forest regenerating in Matale District, based on habitat structure and composition of plants.


Study and Describe new orchids species from Sri Lankan

Principal Investigator :

Mr. Ajantha Palihawadana

Nervilia is a genus of orchid with about 65 species, 6 in Australia with 2 or 3 endemic and the rest widely distributed in tropical Asia, with 16 in India, and 5 in southern Africa.  This genus is extremely important as soil quality indicator as it may have symbiosis with some other plants.  Part of the life cycle is under ground and leaf and inflorescence usually emerge and persistent above ground at different times in the growing season.

This is taxonomically problematic genus that remains poorly understood, primarily because the solitary inflorescence and solitary leaf usually emerge and are present aboveground at different times in the growing season, frequently leading to incomplete herbarium collections.

Aim and the objectives of the study

To study and describe two new orchids species and study three additional species
Assess the conservation status of species using IUCN global Red List Criteria and update the national and global Red Lists of threatened species.


Distribution and social behaviour of purple faced leaf monkey( Semnopithecus  vetulus philbricki)

Principal Investigator :

Mr. Sriyani Wickramasinghe

Purple faced leaf monkeys are found only in Sri Lanka.  Four subspecies of purple faced langur( S. vetulus, S. philbricki, S. monticola, S. nestor) are currently recognized, with a fifth subspecies (S. harti) postulated based on museum specimens
(Deraniyagala, 1995; Nekaris and de Silva, 2008).  The critically endangered western purple langur(S. nestor) is not only the least studied of these taxa , but it also listed as one of the top 25 most endangered primates (Mittermerier et al., 2006). 
The general aim of this project is to define the ecological requirement of the endemic
Semnopithecus  vetulus philbricki  and their distribution in selected area( Ritigala hill range and Mihintale sanctuary).  The specific objectives are

  • Spatial and temporal analysis of habitat and food preferences of the Semnopithecus  vetulus philbricki
  • Collection of data to determine and predict the responses of the monkeys troops to them changing habitats
  • Determine the role of Semnopithecus  vetulus philbricki  in the diet of the troops and the role of relationship with the other primates inhabit in the area.
  • To measure botanical composition and three- dimension structure of the each forest patch.
  • Study of abundance and distribution of   Semnopithecus  vetulus philbricki   in Mihintale area and Ritigala SNR area.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 May 2012 15:59