Since the dying out of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, we are facing the greatest mass extinction of species, being caused largely due to habitat destruction from urbanization. My research focuses on the beautiful colour-changing Rock Agamas (Psammophilus dorsalis), which have been remarkably successful at adapting themselves to survive in both rural and urban areas. How do they modify their colour communication system, deal with greater stress, avoid predators and become faster learners to negotiate the fast-paced and hostile urban environment? For my PhD I’m trying to find answers to these questions.
Research interest: Behavioural and physiological ecology
Current position: PhD student, CES, IISc Bangalore (2012 joining)
MSc: Department of zoology, University of Pune (2012)
Publication: Batabyal A, Gosavi SM and Gramapurohit NP 2014. Determining sensitive
stages for learning to detect predators in larval bronzed frogs: Importance of alarm cues in
learning. J. Biosci.39701–710
Balakrishna S., Batabyal A and Thaker M 2016 Dining in the City: Dietary Shifts in Indian Rock Agamas across an Urban–Rural Landscape. Journal of Herpetology DOI: 10.1670/14-073
Madhura S. Amdekar
Animal signals usually reflect a balance between the forces of natural and sexual selection. I am interested in understanding the relative strength of these forces in maintenance of a complex signal type: dynamic colour change. Males of the peninsular rock agama (Psammophilus dorsalis) exhibit rapid dynamic colour changes on their lateral and dorsal body regions during social interactions. The costs, benefits, and adaptive significance of this dynamic colour change is yet unknown.
I am interested in examining the relative importance of different components of the dynamic colour signal in sexual signalling by this species, determining the information content of the colour signal and quantifying the effect of ecological variables such as microhabitat, social intensity, and predation intensity on visual signalling.
Research Interests: Sexual selection, Behavioural ecology, Eco-immunology
Education:Integrated M.Sc. (Systems Biology), University of Hyderabad (2013)
I am trying to understand how conversion of native habitats to agricultural fields influences the stress physiology and breeding behavior of the Fan throated lizard Sitana ponticeriana in the northern Western Ghats of India. Modification of native habitats is likely to result in altered conditions of resource availability and predation pressure. I expect these changes to influence the breeding biology, life history traits and stress physiology of the agamids, with potential long term population consequences.
Research interests: sexual selection, behavioral ecology and evolution
BSc: Abasaheb Garware College, University of Pune (2010)
MSc: Wildlife Biology and Conservation, National Centre for Biological Sciences (2012)
I am currently working on thermoregulatory adaptations and strategies among conspecific populations in the peninsular rock lizard (Psammophilus dorsalis) from an urban and rural site. This study is aimed at understanding their thermoregulatory patterns in relation to their physiology and performance. I have completed my study on the diet of Psammophilus dorsalis from an urban and rural site where in I have studied their dietary range and choices. I find working with lizards interesting as I am also interested in the study of natural history of herpetofauna. I believe gradient studies are an effective framework for studying the effects of anthropogenic disturbance on ecological systems as it helps me in understanding coping mechanisms.
Research interests: Behavioural Ecology, Ecophysiology, Population Ecology.
B.Sc: Zoology, Botany and Chemistry, St. Josephs Science College, Bangalore (Completing Graduation in 2014.)