About me

Ash bhattacharjee in Black Rock Forest, New York

I’ve lived most of my life in some of the world’s largest and most populous cities. Born in Mumbai, I spent a majority of my early years in Bangkok, then completed my high school in Dhaka, and currently reside in New York City. Amidst these strong city roots, the convergence of urban and wild was ever-present in my surroundings. As a child, during the hour’s drive from our apartment in the heart of bustling Bangkok to my father’s workplace in the city outskirts, I would stare out at a horizon lined with never ending rice paddies and tall painted storks. It was only when I took my first Ornithology course in college that I recognized my passion for birds (and conservation in general!), which eventually led me to my ecology major. Looking back, I realize that those childhood memories inspired a curiosity of the natural world and passion for conservation that led me on my eventual path of studying wildlife and diverse ecosystems.

Research Background

Previously, I completed my B. Sc. at Rutgers University’s School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, where I majored in Ecology, Evolution and Natural Resources (EENR) with a minor in Biology. At the Rutgers’ EENR department, I was an active undergraduate researcher and dedicated myself to the field of ecology and conservation. I’ve enjoyed life-changing field experiences, which have taken me from studying floral evolution in campus parking lots, to following orangutans in the peat swamps of Borneo, and joining an international team of scientists for a rapid biodiversity assessment in the Samoan cloud forests. During my internship with UNEP’s Convention on Migratory species, where I worked with the avian species team, I was exposed to several projects related to international policy initiatives for bird species of high conservation priority. Among these projects, I was introduced to their action plan on the conservation of migratory birds of prey in Africa and Eurasia (specifically the prevention of poisoning of birds of prey). This introductory experience greatly complimented my eventual doctoral research, which focused on vertebrate scavengers in Asia, and specifically research on vulture populations that had undergone precipitous declines due to poisoning.

Research Interests

Broadly, my research interests include community ecology, macro ecological patterns, biodiversity monitoring, and understanding human-wildlife interactions in the context of ecosystem services and biodiversity conservation. Guided by my technical and practical skills in the field of ecology, and my personal passion for wildlife, I aim to contribute towards scientifically and socially informed policy-making, research, and assessments of biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Ash Aishwarya Bhattacharjee on the trail in Nepal