A unique carnivorous plant,a spit insect,rare sting-less bees and an unidentified specie of spider form a part of the rich flora and fauna the sprawling campus of Brihan Maharashtra College of Commerce (BMCC) houses,despite being located in the heart of the city.
The college,in one-of-its-kind initiative,conducted the biodiversity audit of its 12-acre college campus recently. It revealed that the campus has 116 varieties of plants and trees,54 types of birds and 22 kinds of butterflies. The campus has as many as 57 species of trees,which includes 27 indigenous varieties.
Though conducting a biodiversity audit of campus was the brainchild of BMCC principal C N Rawal,it was recently carried out by Shrinath Kavade,who teaches botany at ACS College,Ratnagiri district,and Vikrant Berde and Digvijay Lawate,who teach zoology at the same institute.
We knew our campus was rich in biodiversity,but we wanted to do a scientific audit of biodiversity to figure of the exact number of different species of trees,plants,insects and birds the campus houses. We teach environmental science as compulsory subject for around 1,200 junior college students and second-year BCom students. The compilation of biodiversity data from campus and its processing in keeping with the changes in nature will form a part of the study of these students, Rawal said.
We spotted adult and juvenile birds,depicting good breeding site for birds on campus. We also witnessed an association of moth and spider in a unique habitat of algal zone. We recorded as many as 22 kinds of butterflies,which is a crucial sign of rich biodiversity. Among other characteristics,the campus has ornamental and wild flora, the teachers told Newsline on Saturday.
Sharing some of the observations of the audit,Kavade said,The team spotted a unique carnivorous plant that feeds on very tiny creatures. The plant,which is around three-inches,does not have roots but a bladder like structure. Small creatures fall into this bladder. It grows in nitrogen-deficient areas.
A rare occurrence of a colony of sting-less bees is another biodiversity feature that experts have noticed on BMCC campus. The colonies of sting-less bees are different from the elongated-shaped colonies of other bees. The sting-less bees make colonies only in cavities of buildings. These bees collect nectar only from wild-flowers,and honey recovered from colonies of these bees are considered high in medicinal value, said Berde.
Lawate,who was part of the three-member audit team that also received support from BMCC students,said he came across a specie of spider,which is yet to be identified, he said.
Little brown dove,gray tit,small green bee eater,black drongo,common myna,white breasted kingfisher,bay backed shrike,common tailor bird,oriental magpie-robin,red vented bulbul,common crow,red whiskered bulbul,spotted munia,tickells blue,flycatcher purple,rumped sunbird,ashy prinia and common grey hornbill are some of the birds spotted on the campus. Beautiful five ringed butterfly,common emigrant,common castar,blue pansy and long tailed are among the 22 varieties of butterflies.
BMCC principal Rawal said the biodiversity audit was part of the colleges initiative to achieve the green and eco-friendly status. We will soon be undertaking a drive to plant trees that will further enhance the biodiversity of the campus. Attempts will be made to plant indigenous trees that will attract more species of birds and insects. We want our campus to be recognised as a famous biodiversity park. Plans are afoot to switch to solar and wind energy for day-to-day power needs, Rawal said.