Karthick Balasubramanium

Google Scholar / Social Media

Name : Dr. Karthick Balasubramanian

Designation : Scientist – E

Brief Background :

Karthick Balasubramanian is a Scientist at the Biodiversity and Palaeobiology Group, Agharkar Research Institute, Pune. He studied the community structure of stream diatom communities of the Western Ghats for his PhD at Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and Mysore University. In 2010, he joined the Natural History Museum of the University of Colorado at Boulder, the USA for his postdoctoral research, where he studied the taxonomy of endemic diatoms of the Indian subcontinent. He joined the North-West University, South Africa in 2013 to work on the endemic diatoms of Southern Africa.

He is currently studying the diversity and distribution of diatoms across the Indian subcontinent and applying this information in the monitoring of water quality, biofuel, paleoenvironment reconstruction, and environmental education. He has discovered nearly 30 new diatoms from Africa, America, and Asia and revised more than 50 species. He has authored more than 50 research papers in reputed international and national journals. He is also involved with environmental educational activities using diatoms as an educational tool. A diatom genus “Karthickia” is named after him to recognise his contribution to diatom research. Dr Karthick is also a science communicator and educates school children related to biodiversity and environmental research.

Contact Details :

+91-20-25325051, 5053 (Telephone)

D3 Lab Link : tinyurl.com/diatomlab

Research Interests:

  • Diatom Taxonomy and Systematics: Understanding the taxonomic diversity of diatoms across the Indian subcontinent.
  • Diatoms for Environmental Monitoring: Application of diatoms for monitoring river and lake environment.
  • Diatoms and Climate Change: Using diatoms as a paleoenvironmental indicator to Pleistocene to Anthropocene.
  • Diatom Biofuel: Deciphering the lipids production capacity of various groups of diatoms.
  • Diatoms in Archaeology & Forensics.
  • Environmental Education using diatoms: Diatoms based environmental awareness programs.

Research Projects:

  • Bioresource and sustainable livelihoods in North East India Sub project: Quantitative assessment and mapping of the diversity of non-flowering plants (Diatom) of Northeast India sponsored by Department of Biotechnology. (March 2018- September 2021)
  • Deciphering the past environmental conditions of freshwater Myristica swamps of Western Ghats using Diatom assemblages sponsored by the Ministry of Earth Sciences. (April 2017-September 2021).
  • Diatom and cyanobacteria flora of peninsular India; molecular reinvestigation of endemic and cosmopolitan taxa across biodiversity hotspot (Western Ghats)  sponsored by the International Division of Department of Science & Technology, Ministry of Science and Technology (August 2017-March 2021).
  • Freshwater Diversity of Peninsular India (excluding Tamil Nadu) Taxonomic enumeration and Developing online Flora sponsored by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (January 2018-2021)
  • Community Structure and Ecology of Diatoms in the Rocky Pools of the Western Ghats (as Mentor) sponsored by Science and Engineering Research Board (April 2018-April 2020).
  • Can diatom communities across spatial and environmental gradients of Western Ghats reflect water quality conditions of streams? sponsored by the Science and Engineering Research Board (February 2016-February 2019).
  • A Biological Survey of the Freshwater Algae and Benthic Macroinvertebrates of Rivers of the Western Ghats, India (as Co – Investigator) sponsored by National Geographic Society (2012-2013)
  • SimRiver- Developing SimRiver in Indian languages (as Co – Investigator) sponsored by Heiwa Nakajima Foundation, Japan.(2012-2013)
  • Preparation of “Illustrated Guide to Common Freshwater Diatoms of Western Ghats” sponsored by Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment Small Grant Program (2010-2011)


  1. Williams DM and Karthick, B (2021). The correct use of the names Synedra Ehrenberg and Catacombas Williams & Round, a note on the name ‘Hystrix Bory 1822’, and some suggestions on how to tackle the taxonomic relationships of Synedra. Diatom Research. Vol: XXX-XXX. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/0269249X.2021.1880974.
  2. N Wadmare, A Baghela, JP Kociolek & B Karthick* (2021) Description and Phylogenetic Position of Three New Species of Stauroneis Ehrenberg (Bacillariophyceae: Stauroneidaceae) from the Indian Subcontinent. European Journal of Phycology. DOI:10.1080/09670262.2021.1888390
  3. Vigneshwaran A, Yan Liu, JP Kociolek and B Karthick*. (2021) A new species of Epithemia Kützing (Bacillariophyceae, Rhopalodiales) from the Mula river, Western Ghats, India, with comments on the phylogenetic position of the genera Rhopalodia with Epithemia. Phytotaxa 489 (2): 171–181 DOI: https://doi.org/10.11646/phytotaxa.489.2.5
  4. Y Maltsev, E Kezlyaa, S Maltseva, B Karthick, P Dvořák, JP Kociolek and M Kulikovskiy (2021) A new species of the previously monotypic genus Iningainema (Cyanobacteria, Scytonemataceae) from the Western Ghats, India. European Journal of Phycology. (Online First) 1-18. https://doi.org/10.1080/09670262.2020.1834147
  5. B Phartiyal, R Singh, D Nag, A Sharma, R Agnihotri, V Prasad, T Yao, P Yao, B Karthick, P Joshi, S. Gahlauda, B Thakur (2021) Reconstructing climate variability during the last four millennia from trans-Himalaya (Ladakh-Karakoram, India) using multiple proxies. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. 562 XXX-XXX. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2020.110142.


  1. Pardhi S, Vigneshwaran A, Gluchshenko, A, Kulikovskiy M, Kociolek JP and B Karthick* (2020). Morphological investigation and description of two new Gomphonema Ehrenberg (Bacillariophyta) species from India and Vietnam with biogeographical comments. Phytotaxa 468 (2): 175–189. DOI: https://doi.org/10.11646/phytotaxa.468.2.2
  2. Lokhande V, Radhakrishnan C, Kociolek J P , Lowe R & B Karthick* (2020). The diatom genus LuticolaG. Mann (Bacillariophyceae) in the Western Ghats of India and its biogeography. European Journal of Phycology. (Online First) 1-18. DOI: 10.1080/09670262.2020.1783460
  3. Radhakrishnan C, Das SK, Kociolek JP, & Karthick* (2020). A new freshwater Gomphonema Ehrenberg (Bacillariophyta) species from Eastern Himalayas, India. Fottea 20 (2): 128-136. DOI: 10.5507/fot.2020.003 (https://fottea.czechphycology.cz/corproof.php?tartkey=fot-000000-0311 )
  4. NA Aravind and Karthick (2020) COVID-19, Personal Protective Equipment and Environmental Health. Journal of Dental & Orofacial Research 16(02) 94-102.
  5. 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
  6. SK Das, C Radhakrishnan, Kulikovskiy M, Gluchshenko, A, J P Kociolek, & 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. Radhakrishnan, C, Kulikovskiy M*, Gluchshenko, A, Kuznetsova, I & 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
  8. Chintan Bhatt & 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
  9. 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. PDF
  10. Surajit Roy, Radhakrishnan C, Taylor, JC, Kulikovskiy, M & Karthick* (2020). 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

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


  1. Mital Thacker, Surajit Roy, Patrick J Kociolek, Rex Lowe & Karthick*. (2019). A new species of Germainiella (Bacillariophyta) from the Myristica swamps of the Western Ghats, India. Diatom Research. 34 (3) 181-191. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/0269249X.2019.1671236
  2. Kociolek JP, Williams DM, Stepanek J, Liu Q, Liu Y, You Q, Karthick B and Kulikovskiy M. (2019). Rampant homoplasy and adaptive radiation in pennate diatoms. Plant Ecology and Evolution, 152 (2): 131–141. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5091/plecevo.2019.1612
  3. Surajit Roy, Yan Lie, Patrick J Kociolek, Rex Lowe & 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. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/pre.12400
  4. 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 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/23818107.2019.1602786
  5. Zsuzsa Trábert, Krisztina Buczkó, Gábor Borics, Marija Gligora Udovič, 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 DOI: 10.23818/limn.38.43
  6. Roy, S., Kociolek, J.P., Lowe, R.L. and Karthick, B*., (2019). Ninastrelnikovia lateritica 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. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.11646/phytotaxa.394.1.3

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. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.11646/phytotaxa.395.3.5


  1. 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), 267-274. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.11646/phytotaxa.382.3.3
  2. 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. DOI: 10.1127/nova-suppl/2018/006
  3. Shigeki Mayama, Kengo Satomi, & Karthick (2018). Environmental issues seen in Indian school textbooks. Japanese Journal of Biological Education 59 (3) 191-196. PDF
  4. SK Das, C Radhakrishnan, J P Kociolek, & 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. DOI: 10.1127/nova-suppl/2018/025


  1. 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. DOI: 10.5507/fot.2016.020
  2. 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 DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.11646/phytotaxa.298.1.3