Around 33.5 million years ago, during the Eocene–Oligocene period, there was an abrupt shift towards a cooler drier climate. This resulted in a corresponding shift in biological diversity globally. In Peninsular India, the study of fossil pollens suggests a shift from wet rainforest vegetation to dry and seasonal species during this period. However, the grassland and open habitats that dominate the region today expanded relatively recently as a result of the Late Miocene aridification ~ 11 million years ago.
Prof Guy Theraulaz, a world leader in the field of collective behaviour, visited CES as IISc Infosys Chair Professor from 4th Sept 2019 to 23rd Sept 2019. Prof Theraulaz is currently a senior research fellow at the National Center for Scientific Research CNRS). He is also a leading researcher in the field of swarm intelligence, primarily studying social insects but also distributed algorithms, e.g. for collective robotics, directly inspired by nature.
The Otomi tree cricket (Oecanthus mhatreae sp. nov.) which was recently described from the tropical deciduous forests of central Mexico has been named after a former CES student – Dr. Natasha Mhatre.
Natasha gives us a behind-the scenes peek into how a part of the natural world came to bear her name. Read the full story here: https://twitter.com/NatashaMhatre/status/1167118606125195264
Studying adaptive radiations, such as Darwin's finches from the Galápagos Islands, can give us key insights into generalities of ecomorphological diversification. This paper from the Karanth lab examines morphological diversification in Hemidactylus geckos from Peninsular India that occur in a wide range of microhabitats.
Contrary to the expected hypothesis that crop-raiding elephants in a human-dominated landscape will exhibit higher stress, the authors found that the stress levels were lower than expected, and it could be due to access to the superior quality of diet (as shown by higher NDVI and faecal Nitrogen content).
Salient findings of the study:
Lower levels of faecal glucocorticoid metabolites (as a proxy of stress) in crop-raiding elephants, than the elephants in protected forests.
This paper deals with how wild Asian elephants react towards the injured, dying and dead conspecifics. The branch of science that deals with understanding the reactions of individuals towards dead or death is termed 'Thanatology'. This is the first documentation on Asian elephants thanatological behaviour.
Link to publication: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10329-019-00739-8