People

Hema Somanathan

Born and brought up in Chennai, I completed my BSc from the University of Madras and obtained an MS in Ecology from School of Ecology, Pondicherry University. Subsequently I pursued my PhD from the University of Bombay working on plant-pollinator interactions. From 2006-2009, I was a Wenner-Gren postdoctoral fellow at Lund University, Sweden. During this period I worked on the sensory ecology of nocturnal and diurnal bees. I have been a faculty in the School of Biology at IISER Thiruvananthapuram since August 2009. In my research group we work with bees, bats and spiders to understand mutualistic interactions and the organisation of social groups.

PhD Students

Baheerathan M

Baheerathan M

PhD student

Bahee did his Bachelors in Biotechnology and moved to the School of Biological Sciences, Madurai Kamaraj University for his Masters degree in Genomics. During his masters he looked at the use of olfaction in the social communication of the greater short-nosed fruit bat Cynopterus sphinx. Currently, his work focusses on visual ecology of fruit feeding bats of southern India.

Asmi Jezeera M

Asmi Jezeera M

PhD student

Asmi did her BS-MS from IISER Pune. For her masters’ dissertation, she worked on a project aimed at partitioning the contribution of intraspecific and interspecific variation in community weighted mean and functional diversity of leaf functional traits in three habitats in a community which are in a gradient of light and water. Currently, she is working on the visual ecology of Indian stingless bee, Tetragonula iridipennis.

Kavya Mohan N

Kavya Mohan N

PhD student

Kavya completed her BS-MS from IISER Pune, where she was part of various projects on plant ecophysiology. She worked on thermotolerance of woody perennial species for her master’s thesis. Currently, she is working on plant-pollinator networks in the Eastern Ghats.

Sajesh Vijayan

Sajesh Vijayan

PhD student

Sajesh completed his BS-MS programme from IISER-TVM and carried out studies on orientation flights in honey bees for his Masters thesis. He worked as a project fellow at Azim Premji University from 2016-2017 with Dr. Divya Uma looking at the perception of ants by jumping spiders and aggressive behavioural mimicry in ant-mimicking spiders. Currently, he is working on the behaviour of the giant honey bee, Apis dorsata.

Sudeep R

Sudeep R

PhD student

Sudeep did his bachelor’s in zoology and his master’s in Animal Science from Central University of Kerala, Kasaragod. He worked on bird biodiversity and ecology during this period. He worked as a summer research fellow at National Institute of Animal Biotechnology, Hyderabad on brucellosis, where he explored the outer membrane proteins involved in downregulation of TNFα in host. He was a project fellow at Central university of Kerala, Kasaragod under Dr. Sinu P.A. on floral constancy in bees.

BS-MS Major Project 2018-2019

Amal: Influence of prey colour vision on site selection of Indian crab spiders

Dilshad: Influence of prey type in prey handling behaviour of Stegodyphus sarasinorum

Sruthi: Thermoregulation and fanning behaviour in Apis cerana

Visiting students

Owen Wright (2018) University of Exeter: Phd on  behaviour of Asian honey bees (Supervisor: Dr. Natalie Hempel de Ibarra)