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

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 flower-trap behaviour of Aristolochia ringens for his master’s thesis. After graduation, he pursued an internship under Dr. Giby Kuriakose in understanding the influence of flower alterations on insect visitation in Centrosema virginianum. His Ph.D. focuses on structuring the plant-pollinator interactions in the southern Western Ghats using floral traits. 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.

Kaustubh Verma

Kaustubh Verma

PhD student

Kaustubh completed his schooling in Dehradun and completed BS-MS from IISER Mohali. For his master’s thesis, he looked at the complexity and geographical variation in the breeding song of the Purple Sunbird. He is interested in the behavior of birds and insects. Aside from academics, he loves nature photography and astronomy.

 

Aakash Kumar Pathak

Aakash Kumar Pathak

PhD student
Aakash is from Allahabad, UP. He has a master’s in Ecology from Pondicherry University, for his master’s thesis, he worked at Azim Premji University, Bangalore. He looked at how hunger affects hunting participation and frequency preferences in the Indian social spider Stegodyphus sarasinorum. He has also worked on community interactions and the effect of anthropogenic factors on the meso-carnivore community in Gujarat as a field intern in a project at NCBS Bangalore.
Here, he will be working on the problems related to the behavioural and evolutionary ecology of Indian social spiders.
In his free time, he binge-watches movies and series, goes on herping, birding and trekking and he calls himself an astrophile.
Sanath R M

Sanath R M

PhD student

Sanath is an agriculture graduate with a specialization in entomology. His master’s thesis focused on non-Apis bee pollinators in the Western Ghats of Karnataka. Growing up in the foothills of Western Ghats, the croaking Minerverya frogs, and the notorious Racket-tailed drongo ignited his ardent curiosity in the natural world. He is interested in understanding insect and spider ecology from a conservation perspective, especially the impact of human-induced land-use degradation on ecosystem services. Before beginning his PhD journey, He worked with the Nature Conservation Foundation (NCF), contributing to projects involving long-term vegetation plot assessments and nocturnal insect pollinator monitoring.

In his leisure time, you’ll often find him carefully turning leaves to spot critters and sometimes photographing them too:)

Post-Docs

Dr. Sangeetha Varma

Dr. Sangeetha Varma

Postdoctoral Fellow

Sangeetha has joined our lab in 2023 as a Nava Kerala Postdoctoral Research Fellow.  She obtained her Ph.D from Central University of Kerala, focusing on the ecological interactions between wild plant community and floral visitors in agricultural landscapes of Kerala. Her postdoctoral research focuses on investigating the effect of domesticated beehives on plant-pollinator interaction networks. Her primary areas of research interests include plant-pollinator interactions, pollinator conservation, and bee taxonomy.

BS-MS Major Project 2023-2024

Aparna Pradeep
Erai Anbu
Nandhuraj
Vishwathiga Sankar

Visiting students

Gifty Alin Jacob (2022) University of Wurzburg: PhD on neuroecology of honeybees species.

Abhinay Arra (2022) University of Wurzburg: PhD on foraging ecology of honeybees species.