The Zoological Survey of India, one of the premier organisations involved in taxonomic studies of fauna, got its first woman Director. Dhriti Banerjee, entomologist with an expertise in Diptera, has taken over as the 18th director of the 105-year old institute on August 6. Headquartered in Kolkata, the ZSI has 16 regional centres and about 300 scientists.
Dr. Banerjee spearheaded the ZSI faunal information system, multi-dimensional platform housing information, collections, spatial and temporal data as well as genetics and molecular information about the faunal species. The 51-year-old has had an illustrious career as a scientist, conducting research in taxonomy, zoogeography, morphology and molecular systematics. She has been co-ordinator of ZSI’s Digital Sequence Information Project since 2012.
The ZSI was started in 1916 by Thomas Nelson Annadale with the primary objective of inventorying and documenting faunal diversity — 1,02,161 species (as per animal discoveries 2019) which is equivalent to 6.52% of all fauna in the world.