Water-body information system for survey and monitoring of freshwater ecosystems of the Western Ghats

Aravind N.A. and Shiva Subramanya
Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE),
Royal Enclave, Sri Ramapura
Jakkur, Bangalore 560064, India


Aquatic ecology and conservation lab at Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), Bangalore is involved in taxonomy, documentation, and conservation of freshwater habitats in the Western Ghats. Several past projects have looked at the distribution of biodiversity such as freshwater molluscs and amphibians. And also worked on taxonomy with several new species to science. Recently, with the funding from National Geographic Society (NGS), USA, three Institutes namely, University of Colorado, ATREE, Bangalore, and Agharkar Research Institute, Pune started work on multi-taxa biodiversity survey specifically looking at waterfalls of the Western Ghats of India. The project tries to understand the biodiversity distribution patterns, threats. We are also trying to correlate various habitat and environmental parameters that might affect the biodiversity distribution. To collate data on this, Water-body Information System (WIS) was developed using various tools like Open Data Kit (ODK), MySQL, PHP, OpenLayers. The WIS datastructure includes information on location (geo-coordinates), water chemistry (pH, DO, Salinity, etc.), altitude, notes, comments and disturbance and vegetation data. The WIS also has feature in which photo of the sampling area can be attached. We have tested the first version during our recent survey in the Southern Western Ghats. The data collected in the field is transferred to ATREE ODK Aggregate server using WIFI network and stored in the centralised location from where they are further processed and analysed for results using various other tools.