Topics in Biology 2019

Evolution and Ecology

21st November: Schedule

09:00 - 09:30 Registration
09:30 - 10:30 Understanding animal communication and it's ecological, ethological and evolutionary framework
Manjari Jain (IISER-Mohali)

Communication modulates much of what animals do in their daily lives. In my talk I will discuss the diversity, ecological limitations and behavioural context of animal communication. I will discuss the historical backdrop of our current understanding of the evolution of extravagant signals. Using acoustic communication as a model, I will brief upon the problems of communication and how animals solve them. While communication is not unique to humans, humans are unique in having a language. I will present the scientific evidence for complex vocalization in non-human animals and why it may be regarded as a precursor of language. For all of this I will draw upon the work of the larger scientific community working in the field of animal communication, including some of my own.

10:30 - 11:30 Genetic Reconstruction of Our Ancestral Footprints
Analabha Basu (NIBMG, Kalyani)

Molecular Biology and Genetics has completely revolutionized our understanding of human evolution and migration. In this talk we will discuss how advancements in molecular biology along with statistical and computational methods have challenged existing dogma and made possible new horizons to evolve. In the process we discuss our complex relationships with our ancestors, other primates, our closer hominin cousins and overall how and what it takes to be sculpt into the modern day Homo Sapien Sapiens.

11:30 - 12:00 Tea / Coffee
12:00 - 13:00 Phylogenetic Biology: Understanding the evolutionary history of taxa and their traits
Geeta R (rtd, Delhi University)

Evolution is descent with modification. Multiple species emerge from a branching descent process; consequently, their evolutionary history may be visualized as a phylogenetic tree. In phylogenetc biology, we try to understand the evolution of traits by examining these traits in the context of the phylogenetic history of the set of study species. The presentation will illustrate these points using the flowering plant Rhododendron as an example.
13:00 - 14:00 Lunch
14:00 - 14:30 Evolution activties and public science engagement
Geeta R (rtd, Delhi University)
14:30 - 15:30 Evolutionary adaptations and responses to rapidly changing scenarios
Nandini Rajamani (IISER-Tirupati)

Species have evolved adaptations and traits that help individuals maximise fitness, often over long periods of evolutionary time. With rapidly changing scenarios, like climate change and urbanisation, species that can adapt are poised to succeed better than those that cannot. I palm squirrels to examine species response to short-term habitat modification, and discuss traits that allow them to be successful.

15:30 - 16:00 Tea / Coffee
16:00 - 17:00 Sky Islands and Evolution
Robin Vijayan (IISER-Tirupati)