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Prof. Wasim of AMU selected for National Award

Friday May 06, 2011 08:37:56 AM, Special Correspondent

Aligarh: Prof. Wasim Ahmad, Department of Zoology, Aligarh Muslim University has been selected for the prestigious Prof. E.K. Janaki Ammal National Award on Animal taxonomy for the year 2009 for his distinguished and outstanding contribution to the field of taxonomy and biodiversity of soil inhabiting nematodes.

The award carries Rs.1,00,000/- ( Rupees one lakh) cash along with a citation, scroll and Medallion and is conferred each year on 5th June at the World Environment day function organized by the Ministry of Environment and Forest.

Taxonomy is the science of identification, classification and naming of organisms. Taxonomic work involves study of morphological characteristics and phylogenetic relationship of organisms which is essential for applied biological sciences including medicine, agriculture, forestry and fisheries. Current requirements of taxonomic work and available expertise and studies indicate a dire need to encourage excellence and motivate experts to do work in hitherto neglected groups of organisms e.g. microbes, lower groups of plants, animals, etc. The challenge is quite serious because while on the one hand the existing expertise is ageing and retiring, on the other not many young scholars are opting for studies in taxonomy.

Prof. Ahmad has made outstanding contribution in the field of Biodiversity, taxonomy, ecology and phylogenomics of soil inhabiting nematodes. In his about 170 research publications which have been published in high impact factor foreign journals, he has described some 290 new species and over 40 new genera of soil inhabiting nematodes which include some interesting taxa such as a marine residual form from silent valley, several new nematode genera and species from North-East and other biodiversity rich areas of the country. He has also distinction of describing several new taxa of soil inhabiting nematodes from over twenty different countries in East Asia (Japan, China, Korea, Vietnam, Singapore), Africa (Cameroon, Bennin, Azores, Dominica, Ivory Coast, New Guinae), Europe (Germany, UK, Austria, Spain, Turkey), Central America (Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Colombia) and New Zealand.

Prof. Ahmad’s monumental book titled “Dorylaimida; Free-living, predaceous and plant parasitic nematodes” published by E.J. Brill, Leiden is a unique world-wide reference for study of dorylaim nematodes and till date it is the most cited book in nematode taxonomy. A similar treatise by him on Mononchida was published in 2010 by E.J. Brill under their prestigious Nematology Monograph series.

Prof. Ahmad has visited a large number of countries of the world as an expert for the study of dorylaim and mononchid nematodes. and is recipient of prestigious visiting fellowships/scholarships from Royal Society (London), DFG (Germany), Japanese Society for Promotion of Science (Japan), Erasmus Mundus Scholar (European Union), Chinese Academy of Sciences (China), KOSEF (Korea), TWAS (Italy), Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research Fellowship of National University of Singapore and Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad, Costa Rica visiting Fellowship and many others.

Prof. Ahmad is a Fellow of the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences and has received many awards and medals from several scientific societies. He has guided several students for their M.Phil and Ph.D degree and is regularly associated with imparting taxonomic training at National and International level.








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