Vishwesha Guttal, Associate Professor, CES, IISc and Associate faculty, IMI, IISc. 

Screen Shot 2015-08-02 at 7.54.40 pmI am fascinated by most all areas of basic sciences and in particular physics, ecology and evolution, but I try to limit myself to studying (a) collective animal behaviour (with a focus on evolutionary aspects and self-organized pattern formation), (b) self-organized spatial patterns in vegetation of semi-arid ecosystems (c) building simple yet “predictive” models of abrupt changes in complex dynamical systems. Prior to joining IISc, I was a postdoc in the group of Iain Couzin at Princeton University; and I did my PhD in Physics at The Ohio State University working with Prof. C Jayaprakash on theoretical ecology. My undergraduate education (Integrated MSc in Physics) was at IIT Kanpur.

Click here for a Curriculum Vitae.

During my graduate student days at Columbus, OH, I used volunteer for Association for India’s Development. Click here for Columbus chapter webpage.



Hari Sridhar: My main research interest is understanding the causes of heterospecific sociality and its influence on community organization. I have been involved in organizing various student based ecology conferences in India (YETI and SCCS), taught  a course on birds at Azim Premji University, Bangalore and served as an editor for the magazine Current Conservation.

Check Hari’s Google Scholar page for his publications.  Hari is also interested in history of science and how ideas/papers develop. He has also conducted a fantastic set of interviews of scientists on their key publications. Hari is supported by INSA Young Scientist program from June 2016-May 2019.

Publication from the lab: 

Hari Sridhar (Ongoing Work) Reflections on Papers Past: Revisiting old papers in ecology and evolution through interviews with their authors. 
Hari Sridhar and Vishwesha Guttal, 2018, Friendship across species borders: factors that facilitate and constrain heterospecific sociality, In Press, Phil. Transactions of Royal Society London B.


Krishnapriya Tamma: I completed my PhD from Dr. Uma Ramakrishnan’s lab at the National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore. The major focus of my thesis was the biogeography of mammals in the Himalayas, and I used a variety of approaches (spatial analyses, phylogenetic) to understand the same. I am interested in spatial ecology, specifically, in long term patterns of ecosystem change. Given the explosion of data that we are currently witnessing, it is important that we develop cost effective tools for monitoring large-scale, long term changes in ecosystems. One way is to use remotely-sensed (or satellite) data. I hope to use remotely sensed data to measure changes in vegetation cover in semi-arid ecosystems as part of my post-doctoral work. I am also interested in science communication, and hope to increase my engagement with it in the coming years.

Visit her Google Scholar profile to read her papers. She is supported by N-PDF award from SERB from April 2017 for three years.

Publication from the lab:

Sabiha Majumder*, Krishnapriya Tamma*, Sriram Ramaswamy, and Vishwesha Guttal. 2017,  Inferring critical points of ecosystem transitions from spatial data. bioRxiv (*co-first authors)


priya Priya Iyer:  I am interested in how males and females evolve to look and behave similarly in some and differently in other species. I have tried to study this at different levels (gametes, whole bodies, secondary sexual characters and parental care), and with two species in the wild– blue sheep and ibex in the Indian Trans-Himalayas. I did my PhD with Joan Roughgarden at Stanford University. I researched and taught at IISER Pune for 4 years, and then spent 3 years in Himachal Pradesh on projects related to children’s education. I have resumed my stint as an academian in Vishu’s lab.

Check Priya’s profile to see her publications.

PhD Students

sumithra_webSumithra Sankaran did her BSc in Zoology at the University of Madras (Stella Maris College) and an MSc in Wildlife Science fromWildlife Institute of India (Dehradun). She then worked on a number of research projects panning the fields of animal behaviour, conservation and evolutionary ecology over the course of which she became increasingly interested in theory. She worked with our lab first as a teaching assistant for the course EC 201 in Jan-April 2013 and subsequently joined us as a PhD student in Aug 2013. Her current project is to investigate mechanisms that generate patchiness in vegetation of semi-arid ecosystems.

Sumithra’s Publications arising from thesis work: 

Sumithra Sankaran, Sabiha Majumder, Ashwin Viswanathan and Vishwesha Guttal,Patchiness and scale-free correlations: characterising criticality in ecosystems, bioRxiv
Alexandre Genin, Sabiha Majumder, Sumithra Sankaran, Alain Danet, Vishwesha Guttal, Florian Schneider, Sonia Kefi, 2018, Monitoring ecosystem degradation using spatial data and the R package spatialwarnings,  Methods in Ecology and Evolution, DOI: 10.1111/2041-210X.13058.
Sumithra Sankaran*, Sabiha Majumder*, Sonia Kefi, Vishwesha Guttal, 2018, Implications of being discrete and spatial for detecting early warning signals of regime shifts,  Ecological Indicators, DOI: (*These authors contributed equally to this work). 
Alexandre Génin*, Sabiha Majumder*, Sumithra Sankaran*, Florian D Schneider, Alain Danet, Miguel Berdugo, Vishwesha Guttal, Sonia Kefi, 2018, Indicators of regime shifts in ecological systems with spatially heterogeneous stressors, Ecological Indicators, DOI: (*These authors contributed equally to this work).

jiteshJitesh Jhawar did his graduation in engineering in biotechnology from MITS Gwalior and post graduation in structural biology and biochemistry from IIT Kanpur. With a keen interest in mathematics, he joined a theoretical biology lab as a project student at NCL Pune, where he recognised my interest in ecology. He is interested in understanding animal behaviour from an evolutionary perspective.  He is a nature lover and like things restored in their natural form. He likes travelling and playing sports with friends.

Jitesh’s publication arising from thesis work:
Jitesh Jhawar, Richard Morris, and Vishwesha Guttal, 2019, Deriving mesoscopic models of collective behaviour for finite populations, In Press, Handbook of Statistics (Vol 40): Integrated Population Biology and Modeling Part B. arxiv:  Codes and data are available on github.
Aakanksha Rathore (joint student with Kavita Isvaran): I graduated from MNIT Jaipur with a in Information Technology. Subsequently, I worked as a software developer at SAP Labs for two years. Over the course of two years my inclination towards nature escalated to a point where it became inconceivable to work on anything else. So, I decided to break free and joined Nature Conservation Foundation in 2014. I worked on different aspects of Hornbill’s breeding biology and seed dispersal role. While working on these projects, I became increasingly interested in ecology.

Being very new to this field, almost every concept of ecology fascinates me. I am planning to work on something related to Animal Behaviourfor which I intend to use my favourite tools­ Mathematics and Computer programming.

nitin-e1518701627969.jpgNitin Saxena(joint student with Kavita Isvaran): I am broadly interested in evolution and animal behaviour. I did my in Biotechnology from Jaipur National University. Soon after I joined as a project assistant in Dr. Vishwesha Guttal’s lab at CES in Jan 2014. Here I was trying to understand the pattern of evolution of collective movement in fish and birds across various taxa using phylogenetic approach. This built the basis for my current PhD work (started in Aug 2016) where I am looking into the evolution of migration in birds and interaction of different selection pressures in shaping the course of evolution. Among various other things that I love to try, I have found myself really engrossed with, is the idea of teaching and making learning a more fun and comprehensive experience. I would love to continue with my interests in the long run.

Project staff/Visitors


ArunKumar Mahendran: I have completed my Masters in Computer Application (MCA) under Anna University, Coimbatore. I have been with TEE-Lab since April 2016, working on a few web development projects including a website for CES department. I maintain the department and lab servers including updating the patches, installing and configuring the research related software packages in MAC, LINUX and WINDOWS machines.

UG Students


Prashastha Mishra: I am an undergrad from IISER-Pune doing my final year project in this lab. I’m broadly interested in the fields of ecology and evolution, but am particularly fascinated by problems in theoretical ecology. I’m currently working with remotely-sensed data to predict changes in vegetation patterns in the tropics.



Gokul-lab_webpage_imageGokul Nair: Gokul is a final year undergraduate student from Physics department of IISc. He did his internship in summer 2015 and then continued to work, during his spare time, on models of collective behaviours. His work, which is a follow up of another UG student Athmanathan Senthilnathan, has led to the following publication — the first model on fission-fusion dynamic model of heterogeneous flocks with interesting predictions.

Publication arising from his internship:
Gokual G Nair, Athmanathan Senthilnathan, Srikanth Iyer, Vishwesha Guttal, Fission-fusion dynamics and group-size dependent composition in heterogeneous populations, arXiv:1711.06882 [nlin.AO]

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