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. (2017). Exploring host and geographical shifts in transmission of haemospordians a Palaearctic passerine wintering in India. Journal of Ornithology

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

Clark, N., Olsson-Pons, S., Ishtiaq, F., and Clegg, S. (2015) Specialist enemies, generalist weapons and the potential spread of exotic pathogens: malaria parasites in a highly invasive bird. International Journal of Parasitology, 45: 891-899.

Olsson-Pons. S, Clark, N. J., Ishtiaq, F. and Clegg, S.M. (2015). Differences in host-species relationships and biogeographic influence produce contrasting patterns of prevalence, community composition and genetic structure in two genera of avian malaria parasites in souther Melanesia. Journal of Animal Ecology, 84: 985-98.

Ishtiaq, F.*, Prakash, V., Green, R. and Johnson, J. (2015). Implications of genetic studies for ex situ populations of three crtitically endangered Asian Gyps vultures. Animal Conservation, 18 (3): 259-270.

Ishtiaq, F., Gilbert, M.*, Brown, J., Joyner, P., Stallknecht, D., and Joly, D.(2012) Antibodies to influenza A virus in wild birds across Mongolia from 2006 through 2009. Journal of Wildlife Diseases, 48(3): 768-775.

Ishtiaq, F.*, Beadell, J.S., Warren, B. H. and Fleischer, R. C. (2012) Diversity and distribution of avian haematozoan parasites in the western Indian Ocean region: a molecular survey. Parasitology, 139(2):221-31.

Ishtiaq, F.*, Dutta, S., Yumnam, B., and Jhala, Y. V. (2011) Low genetic diversity in the endangered Great Indian Bustard (Ardeotis nigriceps) across India and implications for conservation. Conservation Genetics, 12 (3): 857-863.

Ishtiaq, F.*, Javed, S., Coulter, M. C. and Rahmani A. R. (2010) Resource partitioning in three sympatric species of storks in Keoladeo National Park, India. Waterbirds, 33(1): 41-49.

Ishtiaq, F.*, Clegg, S., Phillimore, A., Black, R., Owens, I. and Sheldon, B. (2010) Biogeographical patterns of blood parasite lineage diversity in avian hosts from southern Melanesian islands. Journal of Biogeography, 37: 120-132.

Ishtiaq, F.*, Guillaumot, L., Clegg, S.M., Phillimore, A. B., Black, R. A., Owens, I.P. F., Mundy, N. I., Sheldon, B. C. (2008). Avian haematozoan parasites and their associations with mosquitoes across southwest Pacific Islands. Molecular Ecology, 17: 4545-4555.

Ishtiaq, F.*, Gering, E., Rappole, J., Rahmani, A.R., Jhala, Y. V., Dove, C., Milensky, C., Olson, S., Peirce, M., and Fleischer, R. (2007). Prevalence and diversity of avian haematozoan parasites in Asia: a regional survey. Journal of Wildlife Diseases, 43(3): 382-398.

Beadell, J.S., Ishtiaq, F., Covas, R., Melo, M., Warren, B. H., Atkinson, C. T. , Bensch, S., Graves, G. R., Jhala, Y. V., Peirce, M. A., Rahmani, A. R., Fonseca, D. M., Fleischer, R. C. (2006). Global phylogeographic limits of Hawaii’s avian malaria. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Science, 273: 2935-2944.

Ishtiaq, F.*, Beadell, J. S., Baker, A. J. , Rahmani, A. R., Jhala, Y. V. and Fleischer, R. C. (2006). Prevalence and evolutionary relationships of haematozoan parasites in native versus introduced populations of common myna Acridotheres tristis. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Science, 273: 587-594.

*Corresponding author


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