Ranjana Jaiswara (2014 - 2017)

Ranjana was the first postdoc to join BEL. She is primarily a field cricket taxonomist. At BEL, Ranjana worked on delineating species boundaries in the field cricket Teleogryllus mitratus , found all over India, and other Teleo species. In the process, we discovered a new species of Teleogryllus from Kasargod Kerala. She then worked on developing a key to Indian Teleogryllus species. This part was done in collaboration with Prof. Laure Desutter-Grandcoloas, MNHN, Paris. Together, the work was published in Zootaxa in 2021. 

Ranjana is currently an INSPIRE Faculty at Panjab University.


Mahandran V (2017 - 2019)

Mahandran joined BEL to work on the mutualisim between three species of fruit bats and a bat-dispersed plant, Mahua (Madhuca indica). He worked on the foraging behaviour and bat-mediated dispersal of Mahua fruits. He also examined the underlying chemical ecology that signal ripening status of the fruits to fruit bats. This was done in collaboration with Dr. Vinayak Sinha, Dept of EES, IISER Mohali. This work was published in Acta Ethologica in 2023.

Mahi is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow in Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Yunnan, China.


Sujata Saini (2019 - 2021)

Sujata is a moth taxonomist by training. She joined BEL to work on the moth diversity of Himalayas and trained 2 Master's thesis students and several lab interns. She also examined allometric relationships in selected moth species. He work, along with the work of past Master's thesis students is being compiled into a field-guide on Moths of Sivaliks.

Sujata is now a Project Manager in the Dept. of Parasitology at PGI, Chandigarh.


Ashish Jha (2022 - 2023)

Ashish joined BEL as a IISER Mohali Postdoc in March 2022. He was later awarded a SERB-NPDF to wrok with me in Feb 2023. At BEL Ashish worked on understanding avian diet using Isotope Ration Mass Spectrometry (carried out in collaboration with Dr. Shreyas Managave, IISER Pune). 

Ashish has now joined as Scientist C in Wildlife Insititute of India.

past Doctoral students

Richa Singh


Richa Singh (2014 - 2020)

Richa was my first Ph.D. student and she was instrumental in getting my lab set-up. Her work in BEL was on the sensory ecology of a field cricket, Acanthogryllus asiaticus. She examined how natural and aftificial light and noise at night affect the mating behaviour of the species. SHe also examined the affect of increased developmental temperature on the behaviour and survival of the species. Together her Ph.D. thesis work provides important insights into how anthropogenic changes are likely to nocturnal ectotherms. Her google scholar profile is here.

After completing 2 years postdoctoral work at IIT Mandi and WII, Richa joined as a Nehru-Fulbright Postdoc at Purdue University with Dr. Ximena Bernal in 2022.


Sonam Chorol (2016 - 2022)

Sonam worked on communicative complexity in avian vocalizations. Her work involved detailed acoustic analyses of the breeding song of Purple Sunbirds and the calls of Jungle Babbler. For her Ph.D. Sonam examined within call complexity, compositionality and linguistic laws in the calls of Jungle Babblers, phonology in Purple Sunbirds breeding songs and also examined heterospecific eavesdropping in non-alarm vocalizations of sympatric social Babblers. Her work has resulted i nmany novel insights in avian vocalizations that further our understanding of communicative complexity in birds. Her google scholar profile can be found here.

Sonam is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow in the lab of Dr. Raghav Rajan at IISER Pune where she continues to work on bird song complexity, but now examining the neural underpinnings of this.

Soniya - 1

Yambem Soniya (2015 - 2023)

Soniya helped me start the long-term project on Jungle Babblers. Her Ph.D. thesis work examined temporal variation in the behaviours of Jungle babbler, context-dependent communication, alloparental care and brood parasite recognition in this cooperatively breeding passerine. Her work is foundational to all future investigations in this species, and if the future generations of BEL will look further, it would be becasue we stand on her shoulders. You can read about her work on Jungle Babbler context-dependent vocalizations here




Arunima Jain


Swastika Rupal


Rahul Sharma




Maia Lisa Dsouza (2023)


Prabhat Sharma


Kartikey Awasthi



Geetika Aggarwal


Kaustubh Verma


Barsa Das




Sooraj Murali


Afzal C.


Sayantani Paul





Ankush Sharma


Angelina Lakra



Prathibha P.


Deepak Negi


Pankhuri Singhal


Rohit Negi


Kathik T.


Aditya Krishnan



Jain P. K.


Awani Bapat



Tarunkishwor Yumnam


Pranav B.



Lata Kalra


Nakul Raj


Monika SIngh


Samriddhi Panwar



Shekhar M. A.




Soumya Gupta



Shivprasad Patil

Arunima worked with me on the function of allogrooming behaviour in Jungle Babblers. In addition, Arunima contributed to the MINIVET app by curating images and data. She is currently working as a project assistant with Dr. V V Robin at IISER Tirupati. 

Swastika worked with me on the vocalizations of House Crows. Her findings suggest that House Crows have a context-dependent vocal repertoire. My lab is working on the extensions of her findings in collaboration with Prof. Soumya Iyengar at NBRC, Manesar.

Rahul worked with me on sex-specific behaviours in Jungle Babblers. He also examined the relationship between behaviours and habitat type in Jungle Babblers. Rahul in interested in administrative services. 

Anjana worked with me on the ontogeny of cricket calling behaviour and mate-choice decisions by conspecific females in two species of field crickets. Further, Anjna worked in lab earlier on moth wing venation. For that she skilfully illustrated the wing venation in several moth families along with Sujata.

Maia worked with Dr. Laela Sayigh for her Master's thesis at the Wood Hole Oceanographic Institution, Massachusetts, USA towards developing an acoustic alert system for cetacean mass stranding. Prior to that, for her summer internship, Maia worked with Holger Klinck at Cornell University on the vocalizations of Arabian Sea Humpback whales. You can read the paper here.

Prabhat worked with Dr. Bittu Rajaraman for his Master's thesis at Ashoka University, Sonipat. His thesis focussed on behavioural individuality in decoy effect in Zebrafish. 

Kartikey worked with Dr. Jonathan Henshaw at the University of Freiburg for his Master's thesis at on the evolution of female ornamentation and nuptial gifting. His thesis focussed on developing an agent-based simulation to predict the ecological parameters driving the evolution of female ornamentation. He has now joined  Dr. Henshaw for his PhD. Here is paper  based on Kartikey's summer project with him.

Geetika worked with me for her Master's thesis examining the vocal repertoire of Large Grey Babblers, a cooperatively breeding bird. Her thesis findings suggest that these birds posses context-specific vocalizations, produced in various affiliative and agonistic contexts. Geetika is currently a PhD student with Prof. Kartik Shanker at the Centre for Ecological Sciences, IISc , working on mixed species bird flocks.

Kaustubh worked with me on examining geographical variation and phonological syntax in the vocalizations of Purple Sunbird for his Master's thesis. Kaustubh is currently a PhD student with Prof. Hema Somanathan at IISER Trivandrum. He is passionate about insect conservation, birds and astrophotography.

Barsa worked on variation in moth diversity along an elevational gradient in North Western Himalayas under my supervision. After completing her Master's thesis, she has been working with Prof. Trevor Price on a project examining insect diversity in Birch forests in the Himalayas. Barsa is one of the few students (apart from Kaustubh) that I have worked with who has had a long-standing and unwavering fascination and love of insects . She is looking for a PhD position in insect ecology.

Vaibhav worked  under my supervision for his Master's thesis for which he examined the ontogeny of long-distance mating calls in a field cricket, Acanthogryllus asiaticus. His findings imply that a male cricket 's calls are a proxy for  its age and can potentially be used in making mate-choice decisions. 

Sooraj  worked  under my supervision for his Master's thesis on microgeographic variations in the non-breeding vocalizations of Purple Sunbird. He then joined the Wildlife Institute of India as a technical assistant on a project under National Tiger Conservation Authority. 

Afzal  worked  under my supervision for his Master's thesis on male calling behaviour and female mate-choice in a field cricket Velarifictorus sp.  After finishing his Master's thesis, Afzal joined Dr. Debojyoti Chakraborty at the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology as a Project Assistant.

Sayantani  was an external Master's thesis student from St. Xavier's College Kolkata. She worked on worked with me on the variation in allogrooming and foraging behaviour in Jungle Babblers. 

Ushnik  worked  with Prof. H. Ehrenreich, MPI-Multidisciplinary Sciences, Göttingen, for his Master's thesis on the behaviour of mice with syndromal autism.  After finishing his Master's thesis, he joined the University of Antwerp for a MS in biomedical Neuroscience.

Ankush  worked  on the taxonomic revision of some moth species belonging to the family Noctuidae based on external genitalic attributes. For this he examined specimen collected by Sujata from the biodiverse regions of Shivalik and Dadh Uparla of Himachal Pradesh as part of BEL's long-term project on insect diversity mapping. The work was carried out under Sujata's mentorship.

Angelina  worked  with Dr. V. V. Binoy at NIAS, Bangalore  on people's perception of Mahseer in relation to its conservation. 

Prathibha worked with me on the behaviour and neurobiology of crickets in collaboration with Dr. Joby Joseph, Univ of Hyderabad. She also worked with Richa on a project examining the effect of temperature on the signalling behaviour and development of  Acanthogryllus asiaticus. You can read their paper here. After her Master's ,she joined Michael Smith at Auburn University for her PhD.

Deepak worked with me on examining the wing venation patterns of 77 moth species belonging to 6 families. The specimens were collected by Sujata from the Punjab and Shivaliks. She oversaw Deepak's work and together they developed a detailed dichotomous key of the studied families as part of Deepak's work. 

Pankhuri worked under my supervision on the non-breeding vocalizations and song structure of Purple Sunbirds. While Pankhuri  worked on birds, her heart was squarely set on primates. Now she is working on her desired model system as a PhD student under the supervision of  Robert Hampton at Lab of Comparative Primate Cognition, Emory University.

Rohit was the other staunch monkey-lover of BEL. He worked under the joint supervision of Prof. Mewa Singh and me on the antipredator behaviour of Nicobar Long-tail Macaques towards snake threats. Following this he was awarded several fellowships to work on various primates across the world. He has now joined Dr. Lydia Luncz at MPI Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig as a PhD student.

Karthik worked under my supervision on the effect of varying social and acoustic environments on the courtship behaviour of a field cricket, Acanthogryllus asiaticus. After his Master's he joined the Kalahari Meerkat Project to learn about the social life of meerkats.

Aditya worked under the supervision of Dr. Holger Goelritz at the MPI- Ornithology on the behavioural and acoustic adaptations of free-flying horseshoe bats in response to jamming. He continues to work on bats, but now as a PhD student with Prof. Cynthia Moss at John Hopkins University, USA.

Jain, my namesake, worked under the supervision on understanding the behavioural response of female field crickets to road traffic noise. After his Master's, Jain joined Dr. Michael Reichert at Oklahoma State University and is now working on frog acoustics and behaviour. 

Awani worked under the supervision Dr. TNC Vidya, JNCASR on understanding the foraging behaviour of female asian elephants. Awani, then spent some time studying parrots at MPIO and eventually joined the University of Vienna as a PhD student to study social information use in free-flying ravens. 

Tarun initiated the "MOTH PROJECT" at BEL. He worked under my supervision on the diel and seasonal variation in the diversity  of moths of IISER Mohali. He then joined Dr. Ullasa Kodandaramaiah at IISER TVM as a PhD student where he continues to work on lepidopteran insects, albeit on butterflies now. He is a phenomenal photographer and deeply interested in conservation of biodiversity.

Pranav was an external Master's thesis student at BEL, from Pondicherry University. He worked on the behaviour and acoustics of Yellow-billed babblers. He is currently a PhD student at CES, IISc  under the supervision of Dr. Umesh Srinivasan.

Lata worked under my supervision on the agonistic behaviour in crickets. She stayed on in BEL for a year after her Master's thesis, continuing to work on aggression in crickets and the effect of social environment. She then joined Prof. Mark Bee at the University of Minnesota and is working on the perceptual basis of auditory grouping in frogs.

Nakul was an external Master's thesis student from Central University of Punjab, Bhatinda. He worked on the vocal repertoire of common Mynas. He then joined BEL as a project assistant and stayed on for a couple of years, helping us photograph our moth collection and help put together a book on Moths of Shivaliks. He is now a wildlife photographer working with Sandesh Kadur at Felis Creations, Bangalore.

Monika was an external Master's thesis student from Forest Research Institute, Dehradun.  For her Master's thesis work she examined the diversity of  avian nectarivores on various tree species. She joined the Institute of  Forest Genetics and Tree Breeding, Coimbatore for her PhD.

Samriddhi worked with me for her Master's thesis examining call preferences and premating reproductive isolation in field crickets.

Sekhar worked under my supervision on his Master's thesis examining navigation in Zebrafish. For his Master's thesis he demonstrated that water turbidity impedes effective navigation in Zebrafish. Further, his work showed that Zebrafish use visual landmarks to navigate under turbid conditions. You can read the paper here. He is currently a PhD student at the University of North Dakota.

Shiven worked under my supervision on his Master's thesis examining species delineation via premating behavioural isolation in Teleogryllus species complex.

Soumya worked under my supervision on her Master's thesis examining winner-loser effect in a field cricket species. She then went on to join Prof. Mark Bee as a PhD student at the University of Minnesota. 

Shiven was the first student to join my lab. He worked under my supervision for his  Master's thesis examining conspecific spacing in natural choruses of a field cricket species. He moved on to working on biomedical research for his PhD in Germany.

past master's thesis student 

Maia Lisa Dsouza (2023)

Maia worked on passive acoustic monitoring of cetaceans with Dr. Laela Sayigh at WHOI, USA. 

Maia is deeply interested in conservation with community participation.

Rahul Sharma (2023)

Rahul worked on sex-specific behaviours in Jungle Babblers. In particular he examined if allogrooming behaviour is sex-specific. Rahul is interested in administrative services.

Kaustubh Verma (2022)

Kaustubh worked with me on geographical variation in Purple Sunbird vocalizations. He is currently a PhD student at IISER TVM with Prof. Hema Somanathan.

Vaibhav (2022)

Vaibhav worked on ontogeny of mating calls in a field cricket. Vaibhav's current interests include animal behaviour and neurophysiology

Ankush Sharma (2021)

Ankush worked on taxonomic revision of selected moth species of the family Noctuidae. He was mentored by Sujata from BEL.

Aditya krishnan (2020)

Adi worked with Dr. Holger Goerlitz at MPIO examining Jamming Avoidance in Echolocating Bats. He is currently a PhD student at Johns Hopkins Univ working with Prof. Cindy Moss.

Kartikey Awasthi (2023)

Kartikey worked on modelling the coevolution of female ornamental & nuptial gift giving with Dr. Jonathan Henshaw, Univ of Frieburg. He is now pursuing his Ph.D. with Dr. Henshaw.

Swastika Rupal (2023)

Swastika worked on the structure and function of crow vocalizations. For this she examined the call repertoire and the note repertoire in crows. She is interested in sociobiology.

Afzal (2022)

Kaustubh worked with me on geographical variation in Purple Sunbird vocalizations. He is currently a PhD student at IISER TVM with Prof. Hema Somanathan.

Geetika (2022)

Geetika worked on acoustic communication in Large Grey Babblers. She is current a PhD student at CES, IISc with Prof. Kartik Shanker examining mixes species flocks in birds.

Angelina Lakra (2021)

Angelina worked on the public interest in Mahseer species conservation with Dr. V. V. Binoy at NIAS. 

Rohit Negi. (2020)

Rohit worked with me & Prof. Mewa Singh on anti-predator behaviour of Nicobar Long-tailed Macaques. He is currently pursuing a PhD with Dr. Lydia Luncz at MPI Evolutionary  Anthropology, Leipzig


Prabhat Sharma (2023)

Prabhat worked on behavioural individuality in Zebra fish with Dr. Bittu,  Ashoka University. For his work he examihe prinicple of rationality using decoy effect. 


Arunima Jain (2023)

Arunima worked with me on patterns of allgrooming in Jungle Babblers and its possible functions. She is broadly interested in Ecology and is particularly interested in studying birds.


Sooraj Murali(2022)

Sooraj worked on the non-breeding song sand microgeographic variation in the songs of Purple Sunbird. He is currently working in a project at WII.

Barsa Das (2022)

Barsa worked on patterns of moth diversity in Western Himalayas. She then worked with Prof. Trevor Price on insect diversity in Himalayas. She is interested in impact of climate change on insects.

Prathibha P. (2020)

PP worked with me and Dr. Joby Joseph at UoH on neural response to sound and life history traits in crickets. She is current a PhD student with Dr. Michael Smith at Auburn Univ. working on honeybees.

Anjna (2023)

Anjna worked with me on ontogeny of cricket calling & mate choice decision making in two field cricket species. She has also worked with me earlier on moths wing venation patterns.

Ushnik Das (2022)

Ushnik worked with Dr. H. Ehrenreich on behaviour of mice with syndromal autism. He is currently doing a MS in Univ. of Antwerp on biomedical neuroscience.

Sayantani Paul (2022)

Sayantani was an external Master thesis student from St. Xavier's College, Kolkata. She worked on variation in foraging behaviour and allogrooming in Jungle Babblers.

Pankhuri Singhal (2020)

Pankhuri worked with me on seasonal variation in male song in Purple Sunbird.

Deepak Negi (2020)

Deepak worked with me and Sujata on a comparative study of wing venation patterns in moths. He followed his passion and is now a Youtuber!

Karthik T. (2020)

Karthik examined audience effect in relation to mating behaviour in crickets. Karthik is a project assistant at the Kalahari Meerkat Project.

Jain P.K. (2019)

Jain worked with me on the perception of conspecific calls in noise in crickets. Jain is set to join as a Ph.D. student in Oklahoma Univ, USA.

Awani Bapat (2019)

Awani worked with Dr. Vidya TNC at JNCASR on the foraging behaviour of Asian elephants. Awani is a PhD student at the Univ. of Vienna.


Pranav B (2018)

Pranav was a student in Pondicherry University and did his Master 's thesis with me on Babblers. He is a Ph.D. student in CES, IISc.

Tarunkwishor Y. (2018)

Tarun worked on moth diversity. He is doing his PhD in IISER TVM with Ullasa K. on butterflies. Tarun is a brilliant photographer as well.

Lata Kalra (2017)

Lata worked on agonistic behaviour in crickets. She is currently a PhD. student with Prof. Mark Bee at Univ of Minnesota, USA working on the perceptual basis of auditory grouping in frogs. 

Samriddhi Panwar (2017)

Samriddhi examined mating call preferences in field crickets in relation to species recognition.

Monika Singh (2017)

Monika was an external student at FRI, Dehradun. Her Master's thesis with me examining was on avian frugivore diversity. She is a Ph.D. student in IFGTB, Coimbatore.

Nakul Raj (2017)

Nakul was a student in Central Univ Punjab and worked with me on the vocalization of Common Myna. He is now into wildlife film-making and is working with Sandesh Kadur. 

Shiven (2016)

Shiven worked on heterospecific call avoidance in field crickets.

Shivaprasad Patil (2015)

Shiv worked on conspecific spacing in natural choruses of crickets. 

Saumya Gupta (2016)

Saumya worked on winner-loser effects in crickets. She is a Ph.D. student with Prof. Mark Bee in Univ. of Minnesota, USA 

Sekhar M.A. (2016)

Sekhar worked on effect of turbidity and landmark use in Zebrafish. He is all set to join as a Ph.D. student in Univ. North Dakota, USA.