Feature Articles

Professor Rohini Balakrishnan in an interview with Kathryn Knight

Rohini in Field

Photo credit: Mohammed Aamir Sadiq

Professor Rohini Balakrishnan of CES has been featured in the 'Conversation' section of the latest issue of Journal of Experimental Biology.

In an interview with Kathryn Knight, she describes her journey: how she became a bioacoustician and her experiences as a field biologist.



Acoustic Synchrony in Complex Calls

Synchrony between individuals or even non-living entities is one of the most striking natural phenomena: from clock pendulums that move in phase to fireflies that flash their light signals together and light up entire trees to crickets, katydids, cicadas and frogs that produce loud, synchronous acoustic choruses. The synchronising calls of species that have been hitherto investigated are however typically simple sound chirps or light flashes that are produced rhythmically at a particular rate.

A new tree cricket species in Mexico - Oecanthus rohiniae - has been named after CES faculty member Prof Rohini Balakrishnan

Oecanthus rohiniae

Picture credit: Bruno Govaerts

We are delighted that Nancy Collins, a renowned orthopterist, has named a newly discovered tree cricket species in Mexico - Oecanthus rohiniae - after the CES faculty member Prof Rohini Balakrishnan.

Division of labour in a primitive insect society

Division of Labor

In most social insect colonies, a single individual, the queen, is privileged to produce offspring while the rest of the members, the workers, spend their entire lives working for the welfare of the colony and rear the queen's offspring. In addition to such reproductive division of labour between the queens and her workers, sub-sets of workers divide non-reproductive labour among themselves, such as working at home versus going out to obtain food, for example. How the members of a colony agree on and bring about an efficient and conflict-free division of labour is of great interest.

The scent of life: Phoretic nematodes use wasp volatiles and carbon dioxide to choose functional vehicles for dispersal.

Scent of Life

"Ever thought, "what is the scent of life?" and "can nematodes differentiate between different physiological states of their host?". To get answers and insights on the vehicle-passenger relationship do read this paper.



Joint impacts of climate change and forest degradation on the survival of Himalayan birds


A Yellow-throated Fulvetta (Pseudominla cinerea), one of the study species, with a numbered aluminium ring on its leg. Bird ringing allows us to estimate how survival probabilities change over time because of climate change. This informs effective conservation action that maximises the resilience of species in the face of climate change and habitat loss.


Joint impacts of climate change and forest degradation on the survival of Himalayan birds

Multiple Sensory Modalities in Diurnal Geckos Is Associated with the Signaling Environment and Evolutionary Constraints


Being conspicuous in the environment allows males to attract mates and warn other males of their presence. Males of a species often use signal traits in different sensory modalities to achieve this. However, as elaboration of several signal-traits is demanding, trade-offs in investment in signal-traits in different modalities is expected, especially since not all traits are equally conspicuous in all environments. In Kabir et al. 2020, we show that signal traits in the chemical and visual modalities in the diurnal gecko, Cnemaspis are well associated with the local environment.

Mate-searching context of prey influences the predator–prey space race


Mate-searching context of prey influences the predator–prey space race

Predators generally move towards prey in search of a meal. Far from being easy targets, prey proactively avoid predators at multiple spatial scales, to reduce risk. But prey cannot focus all their efforts on evading predators since they have other crucial tasks to accomplish, such as foraging and reproduction. In Torsekar and Thaker (2020), we show how reproductive behaviour of prey affect their spatial games with predators.