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Research Interests

The diversity of life has long fascinated humans. The processes that allow species to coexist and thus maintain diversity in ecological communities form the research focus of our lab. We study why some species are common but most species rare. What mechanisms help rare species persist and keep communities diverse? Further, in a world overwhelmingly shaped by humans today, we want to know how human influence affects the mechanisms that maintain diversity and restructure ecological communities. To this end, we combine ecological theory, experiments and observational field research with advanced statistical models. In particular, we use functional traits—heritable characteristics that mediate species’ response to different conditions—to understand patterns and processes that shape biodiversity in different ecosystems. We use plant communities as model systems, but the concepts apply across many ecological communities. Ultimately, our lab is driven by theory and curiosity.

Research in the lab can be broadly grouped into the following themes: 1) Climate change impacts on forest regeneration, 2) Ecological dynamics in human-modified forests, and 3) Functional traits and species response to gradients. See here for more details of our research.

Google Scholar page

Selected Publications

Krishnadas M, Kumar N, and Comita LS. Edge effects reduce ?-diversity but not ?-diversity during community assembly in a human-modified tropical forest. Ecological Applications (ACCEPTED)

Krishnadas M, Bagchi R, Sridhara S, Comita LS. 2018. Weaker plant-enemy interactions decrease tree seedling diversity with edge-effects in a fragmented tropical forest. Nature Communications 9: 4523. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-06997-2

Krishnadas M et al. 2018. Environment and land-use history together predict species distributions and functional diversity of tree communities in a temperate forest landscape. Ecological Applications 28: 2142-2152. https://doi.org/10.1002/eap.1802

Krishnadas M, Agarwala M, Sridhara S and Eastwood E. 2018. Parks protect forest cover in a tropical biodiversity hotspot, but high human population densities can limit success. Biological Conservation 223: 147-155. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2018.04.034

Krishnadas M & Comita L.S. 2017. Influence of soil pathogens on early regeneration success of tropical trees varies between forest edge and interior. Oecologia 186: 259-268. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00442-017-4006-1

Education & Experiance

MBBS: Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (MBBS) ; Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences ; Bangalore, India
P.G: Wildlife Biology and Conservation ; Tata Institute of Fundamental Research ; National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore, India
Post.Doc:

Campus Fellow ; National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore, India ;

Research Affiliate ; Yale University, New Haven, USA ;

Doctoral studies ; Yale University, New Haven, USA ;

Publications

TitleJournalYear
Edge effects reduce α-diversity but not β-diversity during community assembly in a human-modified tropical forest. Ecological Applications e01996 2019
Edge effects on seedling diversity are mediated by impacts of fungi and insects on seedling recruitment but not survival. Frontiers in Forests and Global Change 2: 00076. https://doi.org/10.3389/ffgc.2019.00076 2019
Parks protect forest cover in a tropical biodiversity hotspot, but high human population densities can limit success. Biological Conservation 223: 147-155. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2018.04.034 2018
Environment and land-use history together predict species distributions and functional diversity of tree communities in a temperate forest landscape. Ecological Applications 28: 2142-2152. https://doi.org/10.1002/eap.1802 2018
Weaker plant-enemy interactions decrease tree seedling diversity with edge-effects in a fragmented tropical forest. Nature Communications 9: 4523. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-06997-2 2018
Aboveground biomass is driven by mass-ratio effects and stand structural attributes in a temperate deciduous forest. Journal of Ecology 106: 561–570. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2745.12847 2017
Influence of soil pathogens on early regeneration success of tropical trees varies between forest edge and interior. Oecologia 186: 259-268. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00442-017-4006-1 2017
Environmental gradients structure tropical tree assemblages at landscape-scales in Western Ghats, India. Journal of Vegetation Science 27: 1116 – 1128. https://doi.org/10.1111/jvs.12438 2016
From dispersal constraints to landscape connectivity: lessons from species distribution modeling. Ecography 38: 967–978. doi: 10.1111/ecog.01306 2015
The tangled causes of population decline in two harvested plant species. Journal of Applied Ecology 51: 642-647. 2014
Testing predictions of the Janzen-Connell hypothesis: a meta-analysis of experimental evidence for distance- and density-dependent seed and seedling survival. Journal of Ecology 102: 845-856. 2014
Highlighting conservation in the equality debate: a response to Bawa et al. Conservation Biology 27: 422-424. 2013
Perceptions of priority issues in the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystems in India. Biological Conservation 223, 147-155 2013
Conflict of human–wildlife coexistence. PNAS 110: E108 2013
Impact of selective logging on tree community composition in an evergreen forest of North-east India. Tropical Conservation Science 4: 405-419 2012
The response of the lion-tailed macaque (Macaca silenus) to a period of food scarcity in a rainforest. American Journal of Primatology 73: 1250-1260. DOI: 10.1002/ajp.20997 2011
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Meghna Krishnadas

Project Scientist

2960

meghna@ccmb.res.in

Lakshmipriya Cannanbilla

Junior Research Fellow