Tryambak Shankar Mahabale did his PhD (1939) from University of Bombay specializing in botany and palaeobotany. He served as the Associate Professor, Institute of Science, Bombay; Professor and Head, Botany Department, University of Poona and Hony Professor of Botany, Maharashtra Association for the Cultivation of Science, Pune.
Academic and Research Achievements: He reviewed the trends of speciation and the taxonomy of various species of liverworts and suggested that it would be better to study the cyto-taxonomy of various species of liverworts and moses in relation to their geographical distribution and habitat, since species is essentially a cytotaxonomical population group within a specified area. Mahabale made important contributions to the discovery of prothalli of Ophioglossum and Lycopodium in India, palms of India, fossil species of Salvinia-S.intertrappea Maha, Regnellidium (a Latiferum fern), and a new species of Isoetes in India. His researches shed light on gametophytic generation in Pteridophyta. Palms, fossil and living, interested him most and last few years of his life were completely devoted to them. It is well know that the Deccan Intertrappean Series contains, among others, a large number of palms, which are described under the artifical genus Palmoxylon. In order to resolve this genus, it was essential to study the living palms. Mahabale also carried out detailed study of the anatomy of roots in forty important species of living palms and found that it is possible to resolve the fossil root genus Rhizopalmoxylon into its components on the basis of anatomical characters. He also studied the evolution of the genus Cocos which apparently is of the Indo-Malayan origin and had more of small fruited species in the past than the large fruited ones of the present day Cocos nucifera now found all over island. He found that detailed anatomical and cytoembryological studies also become necessary in order to understand the problems of evolution and extinction of several palm genera from different parts of the world.
Other Contributions: Mahabale authored two monographs Palms of India and Plants and Flora of Maharashtra; served on the editorial boards of many journals including Rev Palynol Palaeobot. Mahabale was a Life Member of the Maharashtra Association for the Cultivation of Science (MACS), Pune. He served the Association in a number of capacities. He was elected as Honorary Secretary of MACS for the period 1958-64 and was member the Executive Committee during 1654-55, 1963-64, 1962-72 and 1976-76, 1979-82 and 1982 till his death. He was the Chief Editor of MACS Journal, Biovigyanam since its inception in 1975. He was a Member, INSA Council (1965-67).
Awards and Honours: Mahabale received Sir Charles Albert Seward Memorial Lecture (Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeobotany) (1972) and Birbal Sahni Medal (Indian Botanical Society) (1978). He was a Fellow / Member, Indian Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Sciences (India), Allahabad; President, Indian Botanical Society (1968) and Palynological Society (1967-78); Member, American for the Advancement of Science. He was the President, Botany Section, Indian Science Congress (once); Vice-President, Palaeobotany Section, International Botanical Congress, Paris (1954).