It gives us great pleasure to welcome Dr. (Dr.) Umesh Srinivasan to CES. Umesh joins as Assistant Professor after completing a postdoc at Princeton University, prior to which he completed his PhD at NCBS. The doctor in parenthesis refers to an MBBS he did before he became obsessed with ecology and conservation!
Natural history is the cornerstone of ecology from time immemorial. Anyone who been intrigued by some naturally occurring phenomena would agree that observing ecological systems or organisms in their natural settings is both incredibly challenging and, equally rewarding. Surely, there is also a subtle something about being out in the wilderness which drives a naturalist. Is it the satisfaction of seeing momentary truths? Is it the thrill in acquiring an intimate knowledge of the mysterious ways in which nature works? Is it the tranquility of the wild, away from the chaos and madness of our city life? Is it a quest for adventure? Or, an overzealous enthusiasm bordering crazy? I will take this opportunity with you all to look at a part of my life when I got on to the roof of the planet—the forest canopy. We shall briefly examine some of the aforementioned aspects and by doing so, I hope to shed light on how natural history has continued to shape my career as a biologist; assuage any feelings of “having taken the wrong turn” and, punch above my weight to draw out the field biologist in you.
CES IHS 2020
Talks, Posters, Short documentaries, Panel discussion, Science and Creativity stalls
Many complex ecological and social-ecological systems are capable of nonlinear feedbacks. These can result in abrupt and unanticipated shifts in the dynamical regime of a system, as environmental conditions move the system beyond a tipping point. Research in early warning signals of tipping points focusses on ways to predict these tipping points ahead of time by looking for telltale signatures of noise in the data before the tipping point is reached. In this talk, I will describe some research research in our group that (1) characterizes how conventional early warning signals in ecological systems change in the face of social-ecological feedbacks, and (2) explores new types of early warning signals that predict not only the presence, but also the type, of tipping point that is being approached. I will also discuss some opportunities to find early warning signals of social-ecological transitions in social media data, such as tweets on climate change and vaccines.
A body of work is emerging wherein simple mathematical models of ecological dynamics are coupled to simple mathematical models of human behaviour to examine long-term sustainability of these systems. There are pros and cons to the use of simple models, as has been argued for decades in science. I will review these pros and cons in the context of several recent and ongoing studies of ours where we examine widely-ranging contemporary human-environment problems including forest pest control, coral reef endangerment, forest-grassland mosaic sustainability, human disease spread, land-use management, and climate change mitigation. Wicked problems such as these require the kind of basic understanding of alternate stable states, feedback strengths, and parameter influences that simple mathematical models can provide. I argue that the value of our models is one of complementarity: strengths of simple models may compensate for weakness of other approaches. Indeed when the level of complexity of the human and environmental submodels that constitute a coupled model are mismatched, then a ‘lower common denominator’ coupled model may be the most parsimonious way to start. Simple models can inform policy and other decision makers by revealing the mechanisms behind emergent properties and critical transitions. I prove examples of such insights from our recent and ongoing case studies.
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
Lake 2018: Conference on Conservation and Sustainable Management of Riverine Ecosystems
[The 11th Biennial Lake Conference]
Date: 22-25th November 2018 [25 Nov 2018 – Field Visit]
Details are also available at our web -http://wgbis.ces.iisc.ernet.in/energy/lake2018/index.php