Dr. Karthick Balasubramanian

Dr. Karthick Balasubramanian,
Scientist ‘D’

Research Interests: Diatoms Diversity and Distributions (D3) Lab interested in testing ideas describing ecological and evolutionary processes responsible for current diversity and distribution of diatoms in Indian subcontinent.

Email: karthickbala@aripune.org


  • M.Sc in Environmental Science (Bharathidasan University)
  • Ph. D in Botany (University of Mysore)

Scientific Career

  • Post Doctoral Fellow at North West University, Potchefstroom. South Africa (2013)
  • Post Doctoral Fellow at University of Colorado at Boulder, USA (2011-2012)
  • Research Associate at Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore (2011)
  • Post Doctoral Fellow at University of Colorado at Boulder, USA (2010-2011)
  • Project Assistant at Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore (2005 – 2010)


  • National Geographic Society Exploration Grant (2012)
  • Small Grant – Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, Bangalore (2010)
  • Department of Science and Technology, Young Scientist Travel Grant (2009 and 2014)

  • Diatoms are unicellular, microscopic algae of the class Bacillariophyceae and they thrive in freshwater and marine environment. Currently our lab focusing on evolution of freshwater diatoms in two ancient mountain systems, Western and Eastern Ghats of Peninsular India. Current research projects include studies of diversity of endemic diatoms from semiaquatic habitats of Western Ghats and phylogeny and biogeography of Gomphonemoid diatoms from Indian Peninsular. Much of our work is performed in the context of taxonomy and species response to environmental change, using approaches that span from classical taxonomy to landscape ecology, biogeography and phylogeny.Further we employ our expertise in diatom taxonomy and ecology to develop approaches for solving environmental problems, such as water pollution. We use diatoms as biomonitoring tool in Indian rivers to detect pollution levels. Diatoms satisfy all the conditions to qualify as suitable water quality indicators as they are simple, capable of quantifying changes in water quality and applicable over large geographic areas.

    Our lab also explores diatoms for biofuel and other compounds for medical and environmental applications.

Current Project:

  • 1. Semi-aquatic Diatoms of Western Ghats and Eastern Ghats, India.
  • 2. Freshwater Diatom Diversity of Peninsular India.

Funding and Collaborators:

  • Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change
  • Prof. John Patrick Kociolek, Director, University of Colorado Museum of Natural History, University of Colorado at Boulder. USA
  • Dr. Jonathan C. Taylor, South African National Diatom Collection. North West University, Potchefstroom. South Africa.
  • Dr. Paul B Hamilton, Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa, Canada.


Selected publication (2016 Onwards)


1. Vini Lokhande, Radhakrishnan, C, Patrick J Kociolek, Rex Lowe & B. Karthick* (2020). The Diatom Genus Luticola (Bacillariophyceae) in the Western Ghats of India. Description of Eight New Species, Systematics, and Comments on the Biogeography of the Genus. In revision in European Journal of Phycology. https://doi.org/10.1080/09670262.2020.1783460.
2. Radhakrishnan C, Das SK, Kociolek JP, & B. Karthick* (2020). A new freshwater Gomphonema Ehrenberg (Bacillariophyta) species from Eastern Himalayas, India. Fottea 20 (2): 128-136. DOI: 10.5507/fot.2020.003.
3. Vigneshwaran A, Wetzel C, Williams DM and Karthick, B* (2020). A re-description of Fragilaria fonticola Hustedt and its varieties, with three new combinations and one new species from India. Phytotaxa 453(3): 179-198. DOI: https://doi.org/10.11646/phytotaxa.453.3.2
4. Radhakrishnan, C, Kulikovskiy M*, Gluchshenko, A, Kuznetsova, I & B. Karthick* (2020). A first finding and morphology of the neglected diatom genus Pseudostaurosiropsis from anthropogenically impacted urban lake in India. Inland Water Biology 13(2) 140-147. DOI: : 10.1134/S1995082920020273
5. Surajit Roy, Radhakrishnan C, Taylor, JC, Kulikovskiy, M & B. Karthick* Encyonema keshrii sp. nov.: a new diatom species (Cymbellales, Bacillariophyceae) from the Indian subcontinent” Cryptogamie Algologie 41(2) 7-17. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5252/cryptogamie-algologie2020v41a2
6. SK Das, C Radhakrishnan, Kulikovskiy M, Gluchshenko, A, J P Kociolek, & B. Karthick* (2020). Pinnularia sikkimensis sp. nov. (Bacillariophyceae), from Eastern Himalayas and its distribution in Southeast Asia. Phytotaxa 447 (3): 163–175. DOI: https://doi.org/10.11646/phytotaxa.447.3.2
7. Chintan Bhatt & B. Karthick* (2020) A new aerophilic species of the genus Diploneis (Bacillariophyta) from the Mawsmai cave of Meghalaya, Northeast India. Phytotaxa 443 (1): 067–078. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.11646/phytotaxa.443.1.6
8. Michael Guiry, A Vigneshwaran, Karthick, B. (2020). Validation and replacement of some diatom names published by H.P. Gandhi. Notulae algarum. No 133 1-9.
9. Radhakrishnan C, Pardhi S, Kulikovskiy M, Kociolek JP and B Karthick*, 2020. Navicula watveae sp. nov. (Bacillariophyceae) a new diatom species from the Western Ghats, India. Phytotaxa 433 (1): 20–26. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.11646/phytotaxa.433.1.3
10. Mital Thacker, Surajit Roy, Patrick J Kociolek, Rex Lowe & B. Karthick*. 2019. A new species of Germainiella (Bacillariophyta) from the Myristica swamps of the Western Ghats, India. Diatom Research. 34 (3) 181-191
11. Surajit Roy, Yan Lie, Patrick J Kociolek, Rex Lowe & B. Karthick*. 2019. A new diatom genus Kulikovskiyia gen. nov. (Bacillariophyta) from the lateritic rock pools of the Western Ghats, India and from Hainan Province, China. Phycological Research. 68 (1) 80-89. https://doi.org/10.1111/pre.12400
12. Wadmare, N., Roy, S., Kociolek, J. P., & Karthick, B*. (2019). Two new aerophilic species of Stauroneis Ehrenberg (Bacillariophyta) from the Eastern Himalayas. Botany Letters 166 (2): 234-245
13. Zsuzsa Trábert, Krisztina Buczkó, Gábor Borics, Marija Gligora Udovič, B. Karthick, Luc Ector, Angéla Földi, Keve T. Kiss and Éva Ács. (2019). Biogeography and morphology of a poorly known diatom Dorofeyukea rostellata (Hustedt) Kulikovskiy & Kociolek. Limnetica 38(2): 743-758
14. Roy, S., Kociolek, J.P., Lowe, R.L. and Karthick, B*., (2019). Ninastrelnikovia lateritica sp. nov., a new and rare freshwater diatom species from the rocky pools of the Western Ghats, India with a note on the genus Ninastrelnikovia Lange-Bertalot & A. Fuhrmann (Bacillariophyta). Phytotaxa, 394(1), pp.59-70.
15. Vigneshwaran, A., Kulikovskiy, M.S., Glushchenko, A., Kociolek, J.P. and Karthick, B*., (2019). A new species of Cymbella (Bacillariophyceae, Cymbellaceae) from the Pavana River, Western Ghats, India. Phytotaxa, 395(3), pp.209-218
16. Radhakrishnan, C., Kulikovskiy, M., Glushchenko, A., Kuznetsova, I., Kociolek, P. and Karthick, B*., (2018). Oricymba sagarensis (Gandhi) comb. nov., an endemic diatom from the Western Ghats, India. Phytotaxa, 382(3), pp.267-274.
17. D.A. Chudaev, A.M. Glushchenko, E.Yu. Blagoveshchenskaya, B. Karthick, M.S. Kulikovskiy. (2018). Morphology and taxonomy of Navicula escambia and N. simulata (Bacillariophyceae). Beihefte zur Nova Hedwigia. 147: 43-57.
18. SK Das, C Radhakrishnan, J P Kociolek, & B. Karthick* (2018). Three new species of Gomphonema Ehrenberg (Bacillariophyta), from Eastern Himalayas, with a note on a unique girdle band structure. Beihefte zur Nova Hedwigia. 147: 359-371.
19. Karthick, B*., Taylor, J.C, and Hamilton P B. (2017). Two New Species of Achnanthidium Kützing (Bacillariophyceae) from Kolli Hills, Eastern Ghats, India. Fottea 17(1):65-77.
20. Kale, A., Levkov, Z & Karthick, B*. (2017). Typification of two species of Luticola (Bacillariophyta) from aerophilic habitats of the Western Ghats, India. Phytotaxa 298 (1): 29–42
21. Karthick, B., Kociolek, P. J., Taylor, J. C., & Cocquyt, C. (2016). Gomphonema grande sp. nov., a new diatom (Bacillariophyta) from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tropical Africa. Phytotaxa, 245(3), 187-196.