Collective behaviour meeting in Germany

I am just returning from an highly stimulating workshop/conference on “Multi scale analysis and modeling of collective migration in biological systems”, Bielefeld, Germany, Oct 2017. 

One day of the conference was on collective behaviour in organismal biology. There were great talks on quantifying interactions in fish and sheep, intermittent behaviour in sheep, collective feeding in C elegans, models of swarming bees, criticality in schooling systems, etc. I gave a talk on our recent (unpublished) work on fish schooling by Amith-Kumar and Jitesh Jhawar followed by my previous work on evolutionary models of collective migration, including Jaideep’s recent work on cooperation.

It was great to catch up with Pawel Romanczuk (with whom I collaborated on locust cannibalism) and Guy Theraulaz (a leader in the field of collective behaviour). There were not too many people I knew previously. So it was nice to many others whose papers I had read but not never met.

Guy shared his fond memories of his visit to Bengaluru in 1990 when he attended International meeting on social insects. Guy has been encouraging me to organise a meeting on collective behaviour in Bangalore.  Should I 🙂 ?


Several of our lab members attend international conferences and workshops this summer

As I mentioned in the previous post, our postdoc is attending Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting in Portland this week. In addition, our lab had presence in various other international conferences and workshops this summer.

Four PhD students from our lab presented their work at the conference “Mathematical models in ecology and evolution” (MMEE) held at London in July 2017.

  1. Jaideep Joshi, final year student who has already submitted his thesis, presented his work on “Demographic noise and the evolution of tag-based cooperation”.
  2. Sumithra Sankaran, finishing her 4th year of PhD, presented her work on “Demographic noise promotes bistability in ecosystems”
  3. Jitesh Jhawar, finishing his 3rd year of PhD, presented his work on “Role of stochasticity in the dynamics of fish schools”
  4. Aakanksha Rathore, finishing her 2nd year of PhD, presented her work on “Spatial dynamics of Blackbuck herds”

Three of the students, Sumithra, Jitesh and Aakanksha, also attended BES organised one day symposium on movement ecology in London.

After the conference, Aakanksha went to visit Dr Colin Torney at University of Glasgow.

Jaideep went on to Puerto Rico to attend a workshop on tropical forest ecology.

Student trips were supported by funds from Indian Institute of Science (MHRD) and a grant from Royal society to visit Dr Torney’s lab.

Krishnapriya Tamma will present her work on critical points of ecosystem transitions at ESA Annual Meeting in Portland

Our postdoc Krishnapriya Tamma is currently in Portland, USA attending Ecological Society of America’s Annual meeting.

She will be presenting her work titled “Inferring critical points from spatial ecological data”. This is a joint work with PhD student Sabiha Majumder and Sriram Ramaswamy, both from Physics Department, IISc.

Her presentation is scheduled for Friday, 11th August at 8:20am. If you are attending ESA, do go to her talk!


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.


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:

Colloquium at National University of Singapore

I went to Singapore for two days (19th-20th Nov) on an invitation from Ryan Chisholm, a faculty at the Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore. I gave a talk at their weekly colloquium on early warning signals of abrupt ecological transitions, including some of our very recent empirical work on analysis of financial market and savanna ecosystem data.

I also met Ryan’s students and colleagues, and had stimulating discussions on various research topics.