The 2020 (2021) Dharani Awasthi Award was made to Dr Siljo Joseph.
Dr Joseph completed his PhD in 2017, having studied at Bharathiyar University, and publishing his thesis as a book: “Taxonomic studies on the lichen genus Opegrapha in India”. Afterwards, during his first postdoc, Dr Joseph began to revise the genus Arthonia in lndia. So far, he has described 10 new species, two new combinations, and has contributed 30 research papers in peer-reviewed journals. For his contributions to Arthoniales a species of Synarthonia has been dedicated to him as “Synarthonia josephiana Van den Broeck & Ertz”. Currently, Dr Joseph works as an INSPIRE Faculty, which is a prestigious fellowship awarded by the Department of Science and Technology, New Delhi.
Beyond taxonomy, the committee also considered Dr Joseph’s activities championing lichenology in south Asia. Namely, he has reported a great many new distributional records for India; he serves as an executive council member of the lndian Lichenological Society; he helps maintain the website of the lndian Lichenological Society; and he has developed a YouTube channel that introduces people to the fascination of Indian lichens. His expanding studies also reflect his developing interests in phylogeography and conservation, and Dr Joseph now supervises four PhD students and two post-graduate assistants, generously sharing his expertise while developing his career as a research leader.
This summary of Dr Joseph’s achievements reflects exceptional service to lichenology, as well as his stunning range of activities for an Early Career Researcher—and so, on behalf of the IAL, we were delighted to present Dr Joseph with the Dharani Awasthi Award.
– The Dharani Awasthi Award Committee: Christopher Ellis, Manuela Dal Forno & Gothamie Weerakoon