Ecology: Individuals to Collectives – article in Resonance

I would be writing a series for Resonance on some aspects of theoretical ecology, and from the perspective of a physicist turned ecologist! The first of the series came out two months ago. I copy paste the abstract here, and … Continue reading

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Our manuscript on “Early Warning Signals of Ecological Transitions: Methods for Spatial Patterns” published in Plos ONE

Our new collaborative paper (with researchers from five different countries) summarizing methods to detect early warning signals of ecological transitions using spatial patterns has been published in Plos ONE this March. Click here to read the paper.

The paper also comes with an R package to use the methods. Its available from the github:

If you would like to use this toolbox and face any problems, please feel free to contact me:

Story behind the paper: Vasilis Dakos, Marten Scheffer and Stephen R Carpenter organized a fantastic workshop in Santa Fe Institute (New Mexico, USA) and invited a bunch of people who had worked on developing early warning signals. It was two and a half days of extremely interesting discussion and we decided to summarize the methods of early warning signals in two papers.

One paper was to focus exclusively on methods to detect early warning signals in time series data. Vasilis Dakos took the lead and we published a paper in Plos ONE that can be found here. Together with the paper, we also provided an R package so that researchers can use the methods without having to develop their own code. The methods and package can be obtained from the website:

A second paper was to focus on the methods for analyzing spatial patterns to detect early warning signals. Sonia Kefi and myself took the lead, and we had to face the challenge of summarizing results for analyzing spatial patterns where the methods have not been not so well developed. Finally, the second paper has also been now published! We now need to make the codes more easily accessible to users.


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Student project on Tipping points wins first prize in Mathematics of Planet Earth 2013 competition

As always I am slow in posting what’s happening in the lab.

ImageThree undergraduate students, one from Physics and two from Math department, who worked with me during the summer of 2013 did a very cool project. They built a physical model to demonstrate the principles underlying early warning signals of tipping points. They submitted this project to a all India level competition organized by TIFR-CAM to celebrate the Mathematics of Planet Earth 2013. In Nov 2013, they were given first prize for their work at the Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum, Bangalore.

On the right is a picture of students posing with their physical model! Congratulations to Nikunj Goel, Athmanathan and Sriram (left to right) for their excellent work and for winning the prize.

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Ashwin Viswanathan, our project assistant, in Chile to attend Complex Systems Summer School

Our project assistant Ashwin Viswanathan, who is working on vegetation patterns of semi-arid ecosystems, is attending Complex Systems Summer School at Chile organized jointly by the Santa Fe Institute, Santa Fe, US and Universidad del Desarrollo, Chile. The school will run from … Continue reading

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Comments on opportunities for scientific research in India [Updated]

Mr. GBSNP Varma is writing a series of articles in Science Careers (online) section of the Science magazine to highlight opportunities and challenges for scientific research in India. In the part 1 of this series, myself and several of my … Continue reading

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Silly thoughts on why fish shoal


Above is an interesting post (with comments) by Manvi (graduate student working with my colleague Kavita Isvaran at CES) on why so many fish species shoal in comparison to terrestrial species whether it has to do with being aquatic vs terrestrial species.

Originally posted on Ecology Students' Society:

A quarter of the known fish species shoal throughout their life, quoted a scientist working on fish shoaling behavior. I wondered how these numbers compare with terrestrial animals. Among invertebrates only  few taxa live in groups, the celebrated ones being bees, ants, wasps and termites. Agreed that many higher vertebrates especially mammals live in groups such as elephants, hyenas, primates, meercats and wolves (I am sure you can think of at least 5 more). However it seems a small proportion of terrestrial animals group compared to fish. For argument  sake, let us agree that fish group more than terrestrial animals. Here is the main point I want to make: why do fish group more than terrestrial animals? Here is a brilliant and silly idea as to why:  I think it is because in water as opposed to on land, there is a third axis to group/aggregate. This extra dimension (basically…

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Mathematical ecology in the New Indian Express

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Last Monday, the science correspondent of New Indian Express, Ms. Papiya Bhattacharya, carried out a short article on Mathematical Ecology and the work in our lab. Here is the link to the article: Here is the screenshot of how it … Continue reading

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