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Overview #

In this research group, we study the behavioural ecology and evolutionary biology of animal populations, often within the context of environmental and habitat change. We work across multiple landscapes in India, including the Trans-Himalayas, Western, and Eastern Ghats. Our model system involves species from the squirrel family (Sciuridae) but also extends to the Pikas (Ochotonidae). We also encourage public participation in squirrel data-gathering, through our citizen science initiatives.

This research group is based out of the Biology Department at IISER Tirupati.

Latest News #

November 2023

  • Nivetha Murugesan presents her PhD pre-synopsis talk titled: Evolution of coat colour and patterns in palm squirrels: An integrative approach.

October 2023

July 2023

  • Eight lab members present talks, speed talks, and posters at the 59th Annual Conference of the Association of Tropical Biology and Conservation at Coimbatore between 02-06 July 2023. More here.
  • Harsha Kumar presents his PhD pre-synopsis talk titled: Evolution and adaptive significance of burrowing in Lagomorphs.

June 2023

  • Nandini presents gives a talk synthesising our work at colour and camouflage in palm squirrels at the Understanding Behaviour conference, IISER Kolkata between 27-30 June 2023.

March 2023

February 2023

  • Harsha Kumar wins the Best Poster Presentation award at the 4th Annual Conference of ISEB. Poster title: Evolution of lifestyle and associated behavioural traits in Lagomorphs, by Harsha Kumar, Nandini Rajamani.
  • Harsha, Nivetha and Swati present talks and posters at the 4th Annual Conference of ISEB at Ahmedabad University between 9-11 February 2023.
  • Harsha Jagadeesh wins 3rd position at Talk Your Thesis(#TYT2023) event at India Science Fest 2023. Talk title: "It's a Squirrel Thing".

November 2022

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    Team group photo © Dhiraj Das
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    Team observing Nubra Pika on the banks of the Indus River © Kishorekumar P.
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    Faecal sample collection at a marmot colony © Kishorekumar P.
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    Preparing a drone to collect imagery over Nubra pika habitat © Senan D'Souza
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    Drone panorama of Nubra Pika habitat and surrounding. © Sciurid Lab x T4W
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  • After months of work spread out over the year, the field work on the occurrence of palm squirrels across the Tirupati landscape is complete. Kudos to the large team of interns and lab members!
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  • Mingyur Rigzen's article, 'Melting Glaciers and Human Adaptability' is published in Sanctuary Nature magazine.
  • Three Masters students who worked in the lab submit their dissertations over the summer - Keerthi O. and Harsha Jagadeesh from IISER Tirupati, and Rithika S. from Pondicherry University.
  • The Eastern Ghats Symposium 2022 was held on 30th April and 1st May at the Marasa Sarovar, Tirupati, organised by Dr. Nandini Rajamani and team.
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Team #

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If you would like to join the lab, here's how you can get in touch with us.