The IISER-TVM Centre for Research & Education in Ecology and Evolution (ICREEE) is part of the School of Biology, IISER Thiruvananthapuram (IISER-TVM). The centre currently consists of more than about 30 researchers and students under two research labs
- BEE (Behavioral and Evolutionary Ecology) Lab of Hema Somanathan.
- Vanasiri Evolutionary Ecology Group of Ullasa Kodandaramaiah.
Our research spans the following themes
- Co-evolutionary interactions between
- Plants and pollinators
- Insect and hostplants
- Wolbachia and insect hosts
- Prey and predators
- Sensory Ecology
- Animal Behaviour
- Phylogenetics and Comparative work
- Population genetics, phylogeography and biogeography
- Landscape ecology
- Plant reproductive strategies
Our work is primarily question-based, rather than organism-based, and current study systems include
- Insects (primarily butterflies and bees)
- Social spiders (Stegodyphus sarasinorum)
We also work on questions at the level of landscape/community:
- Myristica swamps
- Rocky plateaus of Northern Western Ghats
- Deciduous forests in Bhimashanker
Ongoing research projects
The Vanasiri and BEE group websites have more detailed information on respective research projects. Below is a sample of ongoing projects
- Landscape ecology and pollinators of Myristica swamps.
- Evolution of sociality in spiders
- Spatio-temporal dynamics of diversification of hyper-diverse taxa
- Sensory ecology of honey bee vision
- Hostplant ecology of Acraea butterflies
- Phylogenetics and comparative biogeography of plants of the Western Ghat
- Phenotypic plasticity in satyrine butterflies in relation to seasonal environments
- Macroevolutionary dynamics of lizard colour patterns
- Diversification of uropeltid snakes in the Indian subcontinent
- Geneflow and divergence across rocky plateaus in the Northern Western Ghats
We collaborate actively with many research groups.
- Almut Kelber (Lund University, Sweden)
- Deepak Barua (IISER-Pune)
- David Gower (Natural History Musem, UK)
- Natalie Hempel de Ibarra (Exeter University, UK)
- Niklas Wahlberg (Lund University, Sweden)
- Paul Brakefield (University of Cambridge, UK)
- Sami Merilaita (Åbo Akademi University, Finland)
- Sören Nylin (Stockholm University)
- Tejas Murthy (IISc, Bangalore)
Our research is funded by
- Department of Biotechnology (DBT)
- Department of Science and Technology (DST)
- Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)
- UKIERI (India-United Kingdom)
- The Royal Society (United Kingdom)
- DST-RFBR (India-Russia)
- IISER Thiruvananthapuram
Our masters and PhD students are regularly funded through international travel grants by various national and international agencies to attend conferences, for collaborative project visits, etc. IISER Thiruvananthapuram also supports travel for one international visit by each PhD student.
ICREEE has excellent facilities for many kinds of ecological and evolutionary research projects. We have several growth chambers for controlled-environment experiments, outdoor facilities for rearing insects, rooms for indoor experiments, molecular labs for genotyping work, a microscopy unit, high-speed videography equipment, etc. We will also shortly have a state-of-the-art greenhouse complex in our permanent campus. The campus is located at Vithura, ca. 45 km from Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of the state of Kerala. This mountainous, rainforested region in the southern India is part of the Western Ghats and Sri Lanka biodiversity hotspot, and harbours a great degree of endemism. The campus of about 200 acres includes substantial streches of semi-evergreen, mixed-deciduous and riparian jungle. The reserved forest adjoining our campus is contiguous with one of the best tracts of primary rainforest in India – the Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve, which includes the Peppara, Neyyara & Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuaries, as well as the Kalakkad-Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve. The campus therefore serves as a splendid laboratory for field-based experiments. Moreover, the rich biodiversity within and around the campus provides a great many model systems for experimental work.
In addition, we also maintain two field stations – Bhimashanker (adjoining Bhimshanker WLS) in Maharashtra and Kulathupuzha (adjoining Shendurney WLS) in Kerala.
Here are some images from the IISER Thiruvananthapuram campus
No slides are available in this gallery
We welcome inquiries from motivated students and postdocs interested in joining us. We are open to interns (IISER-TVM and external), PhD students and Postdoctoral Fellows. For more detailed information please refer to respective ‘Openings’ pages of BEE Lab and Vanasiri.
We are a small group and welcome the opportunity to interact with other researchers in Ecology and Evolution. You can visit us, for instance, to…
- Give a research seminar
- Use our campus for part of your field or laboratory based research.
- Collaborate with one of us
Depending on the nature of your visit/projects, we can help with accommodation.
Balamurali GS, Edison A, Somanathan H, Kodandaramaiah U. Spontaneous colour preferences and colour learning in the fruit-feeding butterfly, Mycalesis mineus. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology.73: 39. DOI: 10.1007/s00265-019-2648-1
Dani KGS & Kodandaramaiah U. 2019. Ageing in trees: Role of body size optimization in demographic senescence. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics. DOI: 10.1016/j.ppees.2018.10.002
de Ibarra NH, Somanathan H. 2019. How are pollinators guided by colourful floral structures? A commentary on Ison et al. (2019). Annals of Botany (in press)
Halali D, Krishna A, Kodandaramaiah U & Molleman F. Lizards as predators of butterflies: shape of wing damage and effects of eyespots. Journal of Lepidopterist’s Society (accepted)
Murali G, Kumari K & Kodandaramaiah U. 2019. Dynamic colour change and the confusion effect against predation. Scientific Reports. 9:274.
Parthasarathy B & Somanathan H. 2019. Behavioural responses vary with prey species in the social spider Stegodyphus sarasinorum. Behavioural Ecology (in press)
Parthasarathy B, Joshi CH, Sreedharan S & Somanathan H. 2019. Early ontogenic emergence of personality and its long term persistence in a social spider. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. doi:10.1007/s00265-019-2645-4
Somanathan H, Saryan P, Balamurali GS. 2019. Foraging strategies and physiological adaptations in large carpenter bees. Journal of Comparative Physiology A. Special Issue: Insects and Flowers. doi:10.1007/s00359-019-01323-7
Aduse-Poku K, Molleman F, Odura W, Oppong SK, Lohman DJ & Etienne RS. 2018. Relative contribution of neutral and deterministic processes in shaping fruit-feeding butterfly assemblages in Afrotropical forests. Ecology and Evolution 8: 296-308. DOI: 10.1002/ece3.3618
Bailey RI, Molleman F, Vasseur C & Prinzig A. 2018. Large body size constrains dispersal assembly of communities even across short distances. Scientific Reports 10911. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-29042-0
Balamurali GS, Nicholls E, Somanathan H & de Ibarra NH. 2018. A comparative analysis of colour preferences in temperate and tropical social bees. The Science of Nature 105: 8. DOI: 10.1007/s00114-017-1531-z
Cyriac VP & Kodandaramaiah U. 2018. Digging their own macroevolutionary grave: Fossoriality as an evolutionary dead-end in snakes. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 31: 587-598. DOI: 10.1111/jeb.132481
Cyriac VP, Johny A, Umesh PK & Palot MJ. 2018. Description of two new species of Cnemaspis Strauch, 1887 (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from the Western Ghats of Kerala, India. Zootaxa 4459: 85-100. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4459.1.3
Kodandaramaiah U & Murali G (equal contribution). 2018. What affects power to estimate speciation rate shifts? PeerJ 6:e5495. DOI: 10.7717/peerj.5495/
Kodandaramaiah U, Braby MF, Grund R, Müller CJ & Wahlberg N . 2018. Phylogenetic relationships, biogeography and diversification of Coenonymphina butterflies (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae): a Gondwanan relict group? Systematic Entomology 43: 798-809. DOI: 10.1111/syen.12303
Krishna S & Somanathan H. 2018. Intersexual mimicry and flowering phenology facilitate pollination in a dioecious habitat specialist species, Myristica fatua (Myristicaceae). Plant Ecology 219: 1247-1257. DOI: 10.1007/s11258-018-0875-6
Molleman F. 2018. Moving beyond phenology: new directions in the study of temporal dynamics of tropical insect communities. Current Science 114: 1-5. DOI: 10.18520/cs/v114/i05/982-986
Murali G. 2018. Now you see me, now you don’t: Dynamic flash coloration as an anti-predator strategy in motion. Animal Behaviour 142: 207-220. DOI: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2018.06.017
Murali G & Kodandaramaiah U. 2018. Body size and evolution of motion dazzle coloration in lizards. Behavioral Ecology 29: 79–86. DOI: 10.1093/beheco/arx128
Murali G, Merilaita S & Kodandaramaiah U. 2018. Grab my tail: Evolution of dazzle stripes and colourful tails in lizards. Journal of Evolutionary Biology. DOI: 10.1111/jeb.13364
Parthasarathy B & Somanathan H. 2018. A method for accurately estimating social spider numbers without colony damage. The Journal of Arachnology 46: 373-375. DOI: 10.1636/JoA-S-17-075.1
Parthasarathy B & Somanathan H. 2018. Body condition and food shapes group dispersal but not solitary dispersal in a social spider.
Behavioral Ecology 3: 619-627. DOI: doi.org/10.1093/beheco/ary013
Sahoo RK, Lohman DJ, Wahlberg N, Müller CJ, Brattström O, Collins SC, Peggie D, Aduse-Poku K & Kodandaramaiah U. 2018. Evolution of Hypolimnas butterflies (Nymphalidae): Out-of-Africa origin and Wolbachia-mediated introgression. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 123: 50-58. DOI: 10.1016/j.ympev.2018.02.001
Sahoo RK & Kodandaramaiah. Local host plant abundance explains negative association between larval performance and female oviposition preference in a butterfly. 2018. Biological Journal of the Linnaen Society 125: 333-343. DOI: 10.1093/biolinnean/bly111/5090298
Cyriac VP & Kodandaramaiah U. 2017. Paleoclimate determines diversification patterns in the fossorial snake family Uropeltidae Cuvier, 1829. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 116: 97-107. DOI: 10.1016/j.ympev.2017.08.017
Dani KGS & Kodandaramaiah U. 2017. Plant and animal reproductive strategies: Lessons from offspring size and number tradeoffs. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 5:38. DOI: 10.3389/fevo.2017.00038
Dani KGS & Loreto F. 2017. Trade-off between dimethyl sulfide and isoprene emissions from marine phytoplankton. Trends in Plant Science. 22: 361-372. DOI: 10.1016/j.tplants.2017.01.006
Dani KGS, Marino G, Taiti C, Mancuso S, Atwell BJ, Loreto F & Centritto M. 2017. De novo post-illumination monoterpene burst in Quercus ilex. Planta DOI: 10.1007/s00425-016-2636-x
Dani KGS, Silva AM, Michelozzi M, Peluso G, Torzillo G & Loreto F. 2017. Relationship between isoprene emission and photosynthesis in diatoms: Implications for global marine emission estimates. Marine Chemistry. 189: 17-24. DOI: 10.1016/j.marchem.2016.12.005
Mayekar HV & Kodandaramaiah U. 2017. Pupal colour plasticity in a tropical butterfly, Mycalesis mineus (Nymphalidae: Satyrinae). PLoS ONE 12(2): e0171482. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0171482
Sahoo RK, Warren AD, Collins SC, Kodandaramaiah U. 2017. Hostplant change and paleoclimatic events explain diversification shifts in skipper butterflies (Family: Hesperiidae). BMC Evolutionary Biology 17:174. DOI: 10.1186/s12862-017-1016-x
Sahoo RK. 2017. Digest: Ancient co-dispersals and host shifts in passerine bird–feather mite symbiosis. Evolution. DOI: 10.1111/evo.13330
Somanathan H, Borges RM, Warrant EJ, Kelber A. 2017. Visual adaptations for mate detection in the male Carpenter bee Xylocopa tenuiscapa. PLoS One 12 (1), e0168452. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0168452
Tiatragula S, Murali G & Stroud JT. 2017. Digest: Different evolutionary dynamics led to the convergence of clinging performance in lizard toepads. Evolution. DOI: 10.1111/evo.13338
van Bergen E, Osbaldeston D, Kodandaramaiah U, Brattström O, Aduse-poku K, Brakefield PM. 2017. Conserved patterns of integrated developmental plasticity in a group of polyphenic tropical butterflies. BMC Evolutionary Biology 17:59. DOI: 10.1186/s12862-017-0907-1
Arlet M, Veromann LL, Mand R & Lemasson A. 2016. Call rates of mothers change with maternal experience and with infant characteristics in free-ranging gray-cheeked mangabeys. American Journal of Primatology. DOI: 10.1002/ajp.22568
Lemasson A, Jubin R, Masataka N & Arlet M. 2016. Copying hierarchical leaders’ voices? Acoustic plasticity in female Japanese macaques. Scientific Reports 16(6):21289.
Aduse-poku K, Lees DC, Brattström O, Kodandaramaiah U, Wahlberg N & Brakefield PM. 2016. Molecular phylogeny and generic-level taxonomy of the widespread palaeotropical ‘Heteropsis clade’ (Nymphalidae: Satyrinae: Mycalesina). Systematic Entomology. 41: 717–731. DOI: 10.1111/syen.12183
Bacquet PMB, de Jong MA ……… Molleman F, ……………..Nieberding. 2016. Differentiation in putative male sex pheromone components across and within populations of the African butterfly Bicyclus anynana as a potential driver of reproductive isolation. Ecology and Evolution. 6: 6064-6084. DOI: 10.1002/ece3.2298
Borges RM, Somanathan H, Kelber A. 2016. Patterns and Processes in Nocturnal and Crepuscular Pollination Services. Quarterly Review of Biology 91: 389-418, DOI: 10.1086/689481
Holm S, Davis RB, Javoiš J, Õunap E, Molleman F, Kaasik A. Tammaru T. 2016. A comparative perspective on longevity: the effect of body size dominates over ecology in moths. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 29: 2422-2435. DOI: 10.1111/jeb.12966
Krishna S & Somanathan H. 2016. Spatiotemporal strategies that facilitate recruitment in a habitat specialist tree species. AoB Plants. plw033.
Molleman F, Depoilly A, Vernon P, Muller J, Bailey R, Jarzabek-Muller A & Prinzing A. 2016. The island rule of body size demonstrated on individual hosts: phytophagous click-beetle species grow larger and predators smaller on phylogenetically isolated trees. Journal of Biogeography 43 (7): 1388–1399. DOI:10.1111/jbi.12725
Murali G & Kodandaramaiah U. 2016. Deceived by stripes: Conspicuous patterning on vital anterior body parts can redirect predatory strikes to expendable posterior organs. Royal Society Open Science. 3(6): 160057. DOI: 10.1098/rsos.160057
Ramesh A, Vijayan S, Sreedharan S, Somanathan S & Uma D. Similar yet different: differential response of a praying mantis to ant-mimicking spiders. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. 119: 158–165. DOI: 10.1111/bij.12793
Sahoo RK. 2016. Why antagonistic traits against Cytoplasmic Incompatibility are so elusive. Frontiers in Microbiology 7:392. DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2016.00392
Sahoo RK, Warren AD, Wahlberg N, Brower AVZ, Lukhtanov VA, Kodandaramaiah U. 2016. Higher level relationships among skipper butterflies (Hesperiidae) resolved by ten genes. PeerJ 4:e2653. DOI: 10.7717/peerj.2653
Simões BF, Sampaio F, …………….. Kodandaramaiah U,…………. & Gower DJ. 2016. Visual pigments, ocular filters and the evolution of snake vision. Molecular Biology and Evolution. DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msw148
van Bergen E, Barlow H, Brattström O, Griffiths H, Kodandaramaiah U, Osborne C & Brakefield PM. 2016. The stable isotope ecology of mycalesine butterflies: implications for plant-insect co-evolution. Functional Ecology 30: 1936-1946
Zachariah A, Cyriac VP, Chandramohan B, Ansil BR, Mathew KM, Raju DV & Abraham RK. 2016. Two new species of Raorchestes (Anura: Rhacophoridae) from the Silent Valley National Park in the Nilgiri Hills of the Western Ghats, India. Salamandra. 52: 63-76. PDF
Abraham RK, Mathew JK, Cyriac VP, Zachariah A, Raju DV & Zachariah, A. 2015. A novel third species of the Western Ghats endemic genus Ghatixalus (Anura: Rhacophoridae), with description of its tadpole. Zootaxa 4048(1):101-113.
Abraham RK, Zachariah A & Cyriac VP. 2015. A reappraisal of the rhacophorid bush frog Raorchestes flaviventris (Boulenger, 1882), with an evaluation of the taxonomic status of R. emeraldi Vijayakumar, Dinesh, Prabhu and Shankar, 2014. Zootaxa 4048(1):90-1
Aduse-Poku K, Brattström O, Kodandaramaiah U, Lees DC, Brakefield PM & Wahlberg N. 2015. Systematics and historical biogeography of the Old World butterfly subtribe Mycalesina (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae: Satyrinae). BMC Evolutionary Biology 15:167. DOI: 10.1186/s12862-015-0449-3
Arlet M, Jubin R, Masataka N & Lemasson A. 2015. Grooming-at-a-distance by exchanging calls in non-human primates. Biology Letters 11(10).
Balamurali GS, Somanathan H & de Ibarra NH. 2015. Motion cues improve the performance of harnessed bees in a colour learning task. Journal of Comparative Physiology A 201 (5): 505-511.
Balamurali GS, S Krishna & Somanathan H. Senses and signals: evolution of floral signals, pollinator sensory systems and the structure of plant–pollinator interactions. Current Science 108(10): 1852
Beleyur T, Bellur DU & Somanathan H. 2015. Long-term behavioural consistency in prey capture but not in web maintenance in a social spider. Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology 69(6):1019-1028.
Mukherjee R & Kodandaramaiah U. 2015. What makes eyespots intimidating – The importance of pairedness. BMC Evolutionary Biology. 15: 34. DOI: 10.1186/s12862-015-0307-3
Olofsson M, Wiklund C & Favati A. 2015. On the deterring effect of a butterfly’s eyespot in juvenile and sub-adult chickens. Current Zoology 61(4): 749–757.
Varma V, Ratnam J, Viswananthan V, Osuri AM, Biesmeijer JC, Madhusudhan MD, …………, Somanathan H, Srinivasan U, Sundaram B. 2015. Perceptions of priority issues in the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystems in India. Biological Conservation 187: 201-211
Krishna S & Somanathan H. 2014. Secondary removal of Myristica fatua (Myristicaceae) seeds by crabs in Myristica swamp forests in India. Journal of Tropical Ecology 30(3): 259-263.