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.

Sachin Bhaskar

Sachin Bhaskar

PhD Student

Sachin based in Bangalore completed his graduation in plant sciences from St. Joseph’s College. He studied the pollination biology of Aristolochia ringens for his master’s thesis. Post his graduation he pursued an internship under Dr. Giby Kuriakose in understanding the influence of flower alterations on insect visitation in Centrosema virginianum. He currently studies the plant-pollinator networks in the Western Ghats. Apart from these he also documents a lot of traditional medicines and vegetarian recipes of South India.

Amal K Vyas

Amal K Vyas

PhD Student

Amal completed his BS-MS in Biological sciences from IISER Bhopal where he worked on pollinator competition and partitioning in sympatric mass flowering Impatiens for his master’s thesis. He joined the lab as a Junior Research Fellow in February 2021 and resumed his work as a graduate student by August 2021. Currently, he is looking into the population biology of the genus Apis in India from a morphological and molecular perspective. Apart from academics, he is a music buff and a history enthusiast

Manish R

Manish R

PhD Student

Manish, based in Salem, Tamil Nadu has completed his undergraduate studies at Agricultural College and Research Institute, Madurai. He obtained his Master’s degree from the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi. He has specialized in Plant Pathology, where he has studied the diversity of phytoplasmas associated with multiple bamboo species. Presently, he is working on the diversity of pollinators under different ecosystems in the Western Ghats. Outside scholastics, he’s obsessed with reading, music, and stargazing.

Post-Docs

Aditya Ghoshal

Aditya Ghoshal

Post-Doctoral Fellow

Aditya’s primary research interest lies in understanding sexual conflict, and the scope and extent of sexual selection in animals. His Ph.D. was on understanding the mating system of wild zebrafish, a sexually monomorphic species. He has been a part of the lab since 2021 and has been working on the mating system and colony dynamics of the Indian social spider Stegodyphus sarasinorum.

Reshma Basak

Reshma Basak

Post-Doctoral Fellow

Reshma joined the lab in 2021 as a SERB-NPDF fellow. She is interested in exploring the sensory ecology of stingless bees, especially from the perspective of their foraging strategies and the underlying neuronal mechanisms. She did her PhD from IISc Bangalore on the neurophysiology of hippocampal place cells through modelling studies, followed by a brief stint as a bridging post-doc there, where she studied rodent behaviour using in-vivo electrophysiology.

BS-MS Major Project 2021-2022

Anumit Devendra Saralkar
Aryan Jakhar
Devika SP
Gayatri Anand
Gifty Alin Jacob
Vinayak G Kamath

Visiting students

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