Kunal Arekar

Visiting Assistant Project Scientist


Kunal Arekar is an evolutionary biologist who investigates the origins and underlying processes that gave rise to the biodiversity on earth. He uses genomics and ecological tools to address questions related to speciation, systematics, biogeography, hybridisation, adaptation, and conservation using non-human primates as a model system.

He completed his PhD in 2022 from the Wildlife Institute of India and the Indian Institute of Science. His thesis was focussed on systematics and understanding the distribution of genetic variation within different populations of the Himalayan langur (Primates: Colobinae). His thesis was the last part of the century old question, “What is the exact number of species within the Hanuman langur species complex?” Not only did his work resolve this question, but also showed that the Himalayan langur is one species and has been erroneously split into three different species.

He is currently working as a postdoctoral fellow at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India and collaborating with Jessica Lynch at the Institute for Society and Genetics. By using genomic tools, he is interested in understanding the role of hybridisation in speciation within two widely distributed group of primates – the langur group in south Asia and the capuchin monkeys in south America. He is further interested in examining what regions of the genome have a tendency to introgress more and what regions introgress less, and is there any adaptive advantage to it. He also aims to understand how historical climatic events have affected the demography of these two groups of monkeys in two different biogeographic regions.

Website: https://kunalarekar.wixsite.com/kunal
Google scholar: http://tiny.cc/hbc2vz



Kunal Arekar, Neha Tiwari, Sathyakumar S, Mehreen Khaleel, Praveen Karanth. Geography vs. past climate: the drivers of population genetic structure of the Himalayan langur. BMC Ecol and Evo 22, 100. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12862-022-02054-1

Kunal Arekar, Abhijna Parigi, Praveen Karanth. 2021. Understanding the convoluted evolutionary history of the capped-golden langur lineage (Cercopithecidae: Colobinae). Journal of Genetics. 100(79). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12041-021-01329-8

Kunal Arekar, Sathyakumar S, Praveen Karanth. 2020. Integrative taxonomy confirms the species status of the Himalayan langurs, Semnopithecus schistaceus Hodgson 1840. J Zool. Syst. Evol. Res. https://doi.org/10.1111/jzs.12437

Parker, T., H. Fraser, S. Nakagawa, E. Gould, S. Griffith, P. Vesk, F. Fidler and 200+ co-authors in alphabetical order, including K. Arekar. (Stage 1 Registered Report, passed peer review and granted in-principle acceptance March 2020) Same data, different analysts: variation in effect sizes due to analytical decisions in ecology and evolutionary biology. BMC Biology. https://springernature.figshare.com/registered-reports_bmcb

K. Praveen Karanth, Srishti Gautam, Kunal Arekar, Divya B. 2019. Phylogenetic diversity as a measure of Biodiversity: Pros and cons. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 116. http://www.bnhsjournal.org/index.php/bnhs/article/view/120848