Recent conferences and talks

It’s been a really long time, almost 7 months, since I have posted any updates on lab website. So let me post some of the conference and talks that our lab members have been involved with.

In March 2016,  a bunch of us that mostly included younger generation of ecologists, launched a new conference called India – Behaviour, Ecology and Evolution, in short I-BEE at Ramnagar, Uttarakhand, near the Corbett National Park. Three of us from the lab, me and two my of PhD students, Sumithra Sankaran and Jaideep Joshi, presented our work there. One key feature of the conference was that all talks were contributed talks which were peer-reviewed before acceptance. The conference was attended by around 100 people and was very well received.

A few folks from NCBS and ICTS have started a seminar series called Dynamics Fridays, that happens once on four weeks and rotates between NCBS and ICTS. I gave one of these dynamic talks in May 2016 on a very preliminary work on building models based on dynamics of fish school from real experiments.

In May 2016, I gave an invited talk at a national conference on Advances in Mathematical & Computational Biology held at IIT-Ropar. The event was only for two and a half days and was small. It had a great mix of physicists and mathematicians working on biological problems. I really enjoyed this small event.

In June 2016, I gave an invited talk at an International conference organised by ICTS, Bengaluru on Games, Epidemics and Behaviour. The conference had an interesting mix of applied mathematicians and computer scientists. I was one of the few ‘biologists’ among speakers. It was interesting to see applied mathematician’s way of approaching contact process based models, which we extensively use in our lab.

In Aug/Sept, I gave an invited talk at a symposium on “Spatiotemporal patterns as early warnings of possible catastrophic shifts in stressed ecological systems at the conference EcoSummit held at Montpellier, France.The symposium had a bunch of folks whose papers I had read from my student days, but had never met! It was fantastic. In the same conference, my student Sumithra Sankaran gave a talk on how to detect criticality in patchy ecological systems whereas my other PhD student Sabiha Majumder presented a poster on estimating criticality from real spatial ecological data.

Following this conference, my collaborator at CNRS Montpellier had organised a one day workshop on “Early Warning Signs of ecosystem degradation: Theory and applications on ecological data”. I gave the introductory talk on the “Theory of tipping points and their indicators”.

That seems quite a bit for an year where I had put breaks on travelling! I am not attending any conferences for the rest of this year. I expect these numbers to be even smaller for 2017.


ISRO meeting and poster award

The National Centre for Remote Sensing at Hyderabad, an ISRO centre focussing exclusively on remote sensing related activities, organised a one day ‘Academica and student interaction meeting’ on 5th Feb 2015. Myself and my PhD student Sumithra Sankaran attended this meeting.

We had very good interactions with scientists at NRSC. We discussed our requirement of high resolution data of various ecosystems for our research work for which they offered lot of support. We hope to build strong collaborations with the ISRO scientists.

Congratulations to Sumithra Sankaran who won a best poster award for her poster on ‘Characterising vegetation of semi-arid ecosystems’. She presented her modelling work on based on simple cellular automata models and how one can use spatial metrics of remote sensing data to infer ecological features underlying the system.

Media coverage of our winter school modern finance and macroeconomics

Along with my collaborators Srikanth Iyer and Srinivas Raghavendra, I am organising an ICTS conference on “Modern finance and macroeconimics” from Dec 22nd and Jan 2nd.

We are delighted that our school got a coverage from Deccan Herald, an important newspaper in southern India. My colleague Srinivas Raghavendra and a student participating in the conference are quoted in the article.

In this school, I will be teaching techniques related to our collaborative work on testing predictions of early warning signals of critical transitions in financial markets. This work was done with Srinivas Raghavendra and my former UG students Nikunj Goel and Quentin Hoarau.

And Happy new year to all!

Visit by Sonia Kefi and a workshop near Conoor

Dr Sonia Kefi, a researcher from the CNRS Montpellier and two of her students, Alex Genin and Miguel Berdugo, are visiting our lab for two weeks from 27th Nov to 10th Dec 2015. Our labs are collaborating on developing mathematical models of patterned ecosystems, especially the vegetation of semi-arid ecosystems.


The three visitors from France and the three folks from our lab (me, Sumithra and Sabiha) went to a tea estate resort near Conoor in Tamil Nadu, away from the distraction of Bengaluru, to assess the progress we have made so far on our projects.  We also had a guest – Krishnapriya Tamma, a PhD student from NCBS (Dr Uma Ramakrishnan’s student) who gave a fantastic talk on her superb phd thesis. It was a great scientific meeting discussing a number of ideas.

Sonia also gave a departmental seminar at CES on 7th Dec 2015 on ‘Identifying the building blocks of ecological networks

Visit by Sonia and her students is part of travel grant we were awarded early this year by the Indo-French Centre for Applied Mathematics. In the first visit, we visited Montpellier in June this year.




I-BEE conference 2016

A bunch of us ecologists of India are putting together a new conference to bring as ecologists together to present their research work and to engage in stimulating discussions. We have named the conference as India-Behaviour, Ecology and Evolution (I-BEE) conference.

The first edition of this conference will be held at Corbett region in Uttarakhand in March 10th-12th.

We are all very excited about this. Do join us to present your latest exciting research work in ecology. The abstract submission is open upto 20th Dec 2015.

For more details, visit the website:

Winter School on Modern Finance and Macroeconomics: A Multidisciplinary Approach

Together with my collaborators Prof. Srinivas Raghavendra and Prof. Srikanth Iyer, we are organizing an exciting ICTS workshop on Modern Finance and Macroeconomics: A Multidisciplinary Approach.

We have put up various pages to help you know more about the program. Here they are:

PS: My interest in this area stems from analogous behaviours of regime shifts in ecosystems and abrupt stock market crashes in financial systems. See this page for more.

Vishu’s visit to Delhi and Germany

Some updates on recent travel:

Visit to Delhi in March: I visited Delhi University and Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) Delhi in the month of March for about a week (supported by visitor’s program of NNMCB). I gave talks on abrupt ecological transitions in both places. At Delhi University (dept of physics), I had lots of stimulating discussions with Sanjay Jain, his students and collaborators. Sanjay Jain has done some fascinating work on networks and its application to biological systems.

Likewise, at IIIT Delhi, I met Sachit Butail (although briefly since I spent only a day there and was sick for most part of my stay) who has done very interesting work on collective behaviour.

Visit to Germany to attend an international workshop and conference: I am currently in Germany (Max Planck Institute for Physics of Complex Systems, Dresden) attending a stimulating conference on “criticality in biology: a critical perspective“. What is criticality, how do we measure criticality in biology, what are it’s biological functions, etc are some of the topics on which there have been a number of talks and discussions in the context of neuroscience and ecology. Heading back after meeting a number of new folks and new ideas.

Last but not the least, I also met Iain Couzin, my former postdoc adviser, who has recently moved to Konstanz, Germany to set up a new Max Planck Department on Collective Behaviour. It was fantastic to catch up with him. We also discussed an ongoing manuscript that we are writing together with Jaideep Joshi (my student) and Simon Levin.