Ever since I started observing birds, I have been intrigued by how animals, particularly birds, navigate various landscape features. Today, I get to work at the interface of landscape ecology and animal movement.
While working as a professional landscape architect, I realised the importance of integrating animal movement into landscape designs. The supporting research that I carried out pushed me further into this field and in 2015, I decided to quit my job and delve into scientific research, after all. I procured a masters in Ecology and Environmental Sciences from Pondicherry University, where I studied how bird nest predation is affected by forest structure in a lowland, broadleaved forest of West Bengal, India.
I am currently a PhD student with Dr. V. V. Robin at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research - Tirupati where I study the distribution of understory birds and their range expansion following the invasion of exotic plantations in the high elevation of W. Ghats.
Cloud forests of South Western Ghats are quite interesting in the sense that endemic, threatened forest birds are gradually inhabiting exotic, invasive and mostly monospecific timber stands. Our study aims at figuring out the landscape and vegetation variables across the wooded habitats of sky-island landscape that brings about this change in the distribution of the birds. This project integrates many aspects of my research interests - plant-animal interaction, bird dispersal, mathematical modeling, landscape ecology, and movement ecology. I have been recently awarded the Prime Minister Research Fellowship to conduct this research.
My other interests include: plants, bioacoustics, coding in R, statistical analysis, producing visuals for presentations and posters, exploring visual techniques to communicate science to the general public, photography, giving talks and teaching.
Projects Involved: Sky Island Birds
PERSONAL AND OTHER INTERESTS
I like sketching and illustrating and exploring different presentation techniques. I write verses and prose and try to make time for a well-written popular article or book. As a practicing architect sometime in my past, I have retained a minor hangover for interior designing.
- Varughese, J. (2018, March 17). Birds in the City. LA Journal .