Teaching Seminar at CES on 15 April 2021 at 9:30 am titled "Perspectives on species coexistence in ecological communities " by Dr. Meghna Krishnadas from CCMB

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Perspectives on species coexistence in ecological communities
Dr. Meghna Krishnadas, CCMB
Date & Time: 
15 Apr 2021 - 9:30am
Event Type: 
Teaching Seminar
Microsoft Teams

Understanding how species coexist despite competition is an enduring challenge in community ecology, with a rich history of theory, empirical work and controversy. In 2000 AD, Peter Chesson published a seminal paper in which he used Lotka-Volterra models of two-species interactions to derive the conditions for coexistence in terms of the relative strength of intra- vs. interspecific interactions. Modern coexistence theory or MCT, as this is termed, also incorporates the role of temporal and spatial factors on coexistence and offers a unifying theoretical framework to understand the processes that maintain diversity. In the years since, MCT has attracted much attention with key theoretical and empirical advances. It has been extended to multi-species systems and applied to questions of species distributions, invasive species, species persistence with climate change, and habitat fragmentation. MCT integrates previous work on species coexistence and is today a key paradigm in community ecology. In this lecture, we will go over the basic components of MCT, relate it to other theories of species coexistence, link to established frameworks of species interactions, and explore empirical applications and limitations. The goal of the lecture is to provide an overview of modern coexistence theory as a conceptual basis to contextualize questions regarding community assembly. 

Speaker Bio: 
I am fascinated by the complexity of the natural world around us. As a community ecologist, my research stems from a curiosity to understand the mechanisms that maintain diversity in ecosystems. In any ecological community of similar species, what processes allow species to coexist? What prevents one or few species from out-competing others? Also, living in a human-dominated planet, I want to understand how the mechanisms that maintain diversity change when subject to human influence. In a different life past, I was a medical doctor, but I left the hospital halls to walk the forest trails. My transition to ecology began with the realization that biodiversity was being lost at alarming rates. I went from activist to scientist because I felt that knowledge was essential to action, but I was also increasingly driven by sheer intellectual curiosity of nature’s workings. I have a Master’s degree in Wildlife Biology and Conservation from the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) and a PhD from Yale University’s School of the Environment. I was a Campus Fellow at NCBS and then Project Scientist at the CSIR Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) where I am currently a Senior Scientist. I enjoy writing and communicating science and believe that it is important for scientists to engage with the wider society. Off work, I like to run, practice yoga and try out new fitness regimens. Good books, great conversations, and gastronomy rank high in my life agenda and someday I would like to farm (at least some of) my own food.