Suhel Quader

Scientist, Education and Public Engagement

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PhD

My main interest is in engaging with the larger public in better understanding the natural world and how it is changing. This is sometimes called Citizen Science or Public Participation in Scientific Research. Our projects along these lines are run in collaboration with the National Centre for Biological Sciences, as well as other partners. We work through the Bird Count India partnership to better understand the distribution, seasonality and abundance of birds. And in SeasonWatch, we work with schools and individual participants to investigate seasonal patterns in leaf-flush, flowering and fruiting of trees. Everyone is welcome to participate!

My formal background and training is in the field of animal behaviour and evolutionary ecology. Over the years, I have studied various aspects of animal behaviour: flocking in Cinereous Tits, mate choice in Baya Weavers, and brood parasitism by Koels on Crows. With students and collaborators we have asked questions about plant-pollinator interactions, the behaviour of mosquito larvae, and the demographic responses of birds to forest alteration.

Apart from these interests in the natural world, I spend a fair bit of my time thinking about how ecologists ask and answer research questions, including about the quantitative and data analytic techniques we use and should be using.

Projects

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A Nature Learning Framework for Schools

Partnering with schools to develop age & place appropriate nature learning 

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Bird Count India

Birdwatchers pooling information for research and conservation

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Early Bird

Materials and curriculum for introducing children to birds

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Completed

MigrantWatch

Monitoring bird migration through public participation

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Nature Activities

Nature Calls activities for children

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SeasonWatch

Join us in studying the seasonality of trees!

Publications

  • Journal Article
    In press
    Ants on Clerodendrum infortunatum: Disentangling Effects of Larceny and Herbivory
    Amritendu Mukhopadhyay, Suhel Quader
    Environmental Entomology

    https://doi.org/10.1093/ee/nvy090

    Abstract

    Nectar larcenists extract nectar from flowers without pollinating them. A reasonable expectation is that any form of nectar larceny should have a detrimental effect on the plant’s reproductive success. However, studies reveal an entire range of effects, from highly negative to highly positive. This variation in effect may be partly explained by additional, unmeasured, effects of nectar larcenists on plants. In a study system where two ant species Tapinoma melanocephalum (Fabr.) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) and Trichomyrmex destructor (Jerd.) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) act as nectar larcenists, we examined the effect of larceny on the female reproductive success of Clerodendrum infortunatum Gaertn. (Lamiales: Lamiaceae) in rain forest fragments of the Western Ghats, India. This was done through a combination of field observations and a series of field experiments looking at the effects of excluding ants from inflorescences. We found that T. destructor reduces fruit set considerably. Rather than this being a consequence of nectar larceny, however, our experiments show that the negative effect arises instead from the herbivorous behavior of the ant. At a population level, both ant species prefer edges over interiors of forest patches, spatially concentrating the interaction zone to forest edges. Simultaneously considering multiple ecological interactions and disentangling their relative contributions might explain the large variation across species in the observed effect of larceny. The overall population effect of nectar larceny and herbivory is likely to depend on the spatial structuring of plants and ants.

  • Journal Article
    2019
    Focal plant and neighbourhood fruit crop size effects on fruit removal by frugivores in a semi-arid landscape invaded by Lantana camara L.
    Geetha Ramaswami, Brihadeesh Santharam, Suhel Quader
    Current Science 116 (3) 405-412
    Download

    PDF, 138 KB

  • Book Chapter
    2019
    Tracking phenology in the tropics and in India: the impacts of climate change.
    Pages 45-69 In: Bhatt, JR, A. Das, and K. Shanker (eds.). Biodiversity and Climate Change: An Indian Perspective. New Delhi, India: Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India.
    Download

    PDF, 839 KB

  • Book Chapter
    2018
    Public Participation in Understanding Biodiversity
    Pp 160-165 in Karnataka State Biodiversity Board, Souvenir 2003-2018
    Download

    PDF, 4.96 MB

  • Popular Article
    2018
    The case of the confusing Kanikonna tree
    The Hindu, 26 June
    Download

    HTML, 86.9 KB

  • Journal Article
    2018
    eBird in Asia: standardised tools for birdwatchers
    Praveen J, Suhel Quader, Scott R. S. Lin, Jo-Szu (Ross) Tsai, Wich'yanan Limparungpatthanakij, Christian Perez, Yeo Yee Ling, David Bakewell, Brian L. Sullivan, Marshall J. Iliff, Ian J. Davies, Christopher L. Wood
    BirdingASIA, 29:105-108
    Download

    PDF, 129 KB

  • Journal Article
    2018
    Responses of interspecific associations in mixed-species bird flocks to selective logging
    Binod Borah, Suhel Quader, Umesh Srinivasan
    Journal of Applied Ecology, 55: 1637-1646.
  • Journal Article
    2018
    Ants on Clerodendrum infortunatum: Disentangling Effects of Larceny and Herbivory
    Amritendu Mukhopadhyay, Suhel Quader
    nvironmental Entomology, 47(5),2018, 1143–1151 doi: 10.1093/ee/nvy090
    Download

    PDF, 661 KB

    Nectar larcenists extract nectar from flowers without pollinating them. A reasonable expectation is that any form of nectar larceny should have a detrimental effect on the plant’s reproductive success. However, studies reveal an entire range of effects, from highly negative to highly positive. This variation in effect may be partly explained by additional, unmeasured, effects of nectar larcenists on plants. In a study system where two ant species Tapinoma melanocephalum (Fabr.) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) and Trichomyrmex destructor (Jerd.) (Hymenoptera:Formicidae) act as nectar larcenists, we examined the effect of larceny on the female reproductive success of Clerodendrum infortunatum Gaertn. (Lamiales: Lamiaceae) in rain forest fragments of the Western Ghats, India. This was done through a combination of field observations and a series of field experiments looking at the effects of excluding ants from inflorescences. We found that T. destructor reduces fruit set considerably. Rather than this being a consequence of nectar larceny, however, our experiments show that the negative effect arises instead from the herbivorous behavior of the ant. At a population level, both ant species prefer edges over interiors of forest patches, spatially concentrating the interaction zone to forest edges. Simultaneously considering multiple ecologicalinteractions and disentangling their relative contributions might explain the large variation across species in the observed effect of larceny. The overall population effect of nectar larceny and herbivory is likely to depend on the spatial structuring of plants and ants.

  • Journal Article
    2018
    Context-dependent interactive effects of non-lethal predation on larvae impact adult longevity and body composition
    Karthikeyan Chandrasegaran, Samyuktha Rao Kandregula, Suhel Quader, Steven A. Juliano
    PLoS ONE. 13(2): e0192104

    Full text available here:
    https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0192104

    ABSTRACT

    Predation impacts development, behavior and morphology of prey species thereby shaping their abundances, distribution and community structure. Non-lethal threat of predation, specifically, can have a strong influence on prey lifehistory characteristics. While investigations often focus on the impact of predation threat on prey in isolation, tests of its interactive effects with food availability and resource competition on prey survival and fitness can improve understanding of costs, benefits and trade-offs of anti-predator strategies. This study, involving Aedes aegypti mosquitoes as a model organism, investigates both simple and interactive effects of predation threat during the larval stage on survival, size at and time to maturity, stored teneral reserves of glycogen, protein and lipid in adults, and adult longevity. Our results show that development times of mosquito larvae were increased (by 14.84% in males and by 97.63% in females), and size of eclosing adults decreased (by 62.30% in males and by 58.33% in females) when exposed to lowered nutrition and elevated intraspecific competition, but that predation had no detectable effect on these simple traits. Teneral reserves of glycogen, protein and lipid and adult longevity were positively correlated with adult body size. Non-lethal predation threat had significant interactive effects with nutrition and larval competition on teneral reserves in males and adult longevity in males and females. The sexes responded differently to conditions encountered as larvae, with the larval environment affecting development and adult characteristics more acutely for females than for males. The outcome of this study shows how threat of predation on juveniles can have long-lasting effects on adults that are likely to impact mosquito population dynamics and that may impact disease transmission.

  • Journal Article
    2018
    Nesting success and nest-site selection of White-rumped Vultures (Gyps bengalensis) in western Maharashtra, India
    Iravatee Majgaonkar, Christopher G. R. Bowden, Suhel Quader
    Journal of Raptor Research 52 (4): 431-442
    Download

    PDF, 1.25 MB

    A few breeding populations of White-rumped Vultures (Gyps bengalensis) still survive in pockets of their original vast range in India, having weathered a diclofenac-induced population decline of 99.9% since the early 1990s. These breeding populations are potential sources of recruits, now that the overall population appears to be stabilizing or even recovering in some areas. We studied two White-rumped Vulture nesting colonies in the Raigad district of coastal Maharashtra in 2013–2014, to investigate site- specific nesting success and nest-site selection. Our overall aim was to better understand the capability of these remnant populations to contribute to the stability of vulture populations at a landscape scale. We found that vultures preferred to nest in taller trees. Nest failure was high before hatching but declined thereafter. Overall nesting outcome was unrelated to the distance of the nest from areas of disturbance, but may have been influenced by characteristics of nest trees. The percentage of successful nests was higher in the smaller colony, suggesting that colony size may not be the only best criterion for targeting conservation efforts.

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