Farah Ishtiaq

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Wellcome Trust-DBT Research Fellow
Name: Farah Ishtiaq
Affiliations (Departments/Programs): 
Centre for Ecological Sciences
Research Areas: 
Behaviour, Ecology, Evolution, Conservation
Ecology and Evolution of vector-mediated parasites: Avian Malaria, Molecular ecology: population and conservation genetics, phylogeography, Avian ecology and behaviour

My research interests integrate the fields of evolutionary biology, biogeography, behavioural ecology and conservation genetics. My research examines the effects of infectious diseases on the ecology and evolution of birds. Birds are susceptible to similar diseases as humans, but are not subject to the complexities of human socio-economic and cultural patterns. Thus they provide a better system to directly determine how ecological changes such as climate change, temperature, vector community, and habitat affect on the prevalence, and spread of disease. To study these ecological parameters which underlie the recent outbreaks of infectious diseases threatening both birds and humans, I am employing a broad multidisciplinary approach.

Selected Publications: 

Ishtiaq, F.* and Barve, Sahas (2018) Do avian blood parasites influence hypoxia physiology in a high elevation environment? BMC Ecology 18:15. Ishtiaq, F. (2018) A call to introduce structured Zika surveillance in India. Trends in Parasitology, 34: 92-95. Ishtiaq, F. *, Bowden, C.G.R. and Jhala, Y. (2017) Seasonal dynamics in mosquito abundance and temperature do not influence avian malaria prevalence in the Himalayan foothills. Ecology and Evolution, 7:8040-8057. Barve, S.*, Dixit, S., Dhondt, A. and Ishtiaq, F. (2017) Sexual dimorphism in breast stripe width and beak eco-morphology in Himalayan Green-backed Tit (Parus monticolus). Avian Biology Research 10(4):259-263. Ishtiaq, F.*, Rao, M., and Palinauskas, V. (accepted) Molecular characterisation and morphological description of a prevalent parasite Haemoproteus leiothrichus sp. nov. in laughthrushes (Leiothrichidae) in the eastern and western Himalaya, India. Wellcome Open Research. Ishtiaq, F. (2017). Exploring host and geographical shifts in transmission of haemospordians a Palaearctic passerine wintering in India. Journal of Ornithology, 158:869-874. Ishtiaq, F.*, Rao, M., Huang, X. and Bensch, S. (2017). Estimating prevalence of avian haemosporidians in natural populations – a comparative study on screening protocols. Parasites & Vectors 10: 127. Barve, S.*, Dhondt, A.A., Mathur, V.B., Ishtiaq, F. and Cheviron, Z.A. (2017) Life-history characteristics influence physiological strategies to cope with hypoxia in Himalayan birds. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: 283.


Wellcome Trust-DBT India Alliance Intermediate Fellowship (Sep 2013-2018): Altitudinal gradient in vector-mediated parasites in Western Himalayan birds. Marie Curie International Incoming Fellowship (Oct 2006-2009): Avian malaria in South Pacific Islands.

Molecular Ecology Lab