I am interested in studying plant-animal interactions. These include looking at processes like pollination mutualisms and animal-mediated seed dispersal.
My Master’s dissertation project was on the interaction between grassland dependent native antelope, blackbuck (Antilope cervicapra) and woody invasive, mesquite (Prosopis juliflora). The study examined how intra-specific differences in blackbuck ranging and territorial behaviour differentially affected mesquite seed dispersal. To understand the interaction between blackbuck and mesquite, different stages of the plant dispersal cycle were quantified using camera trapping, scan sampling, quadrat plots and factorial germination experiment. Results showed that differences between territorial males, female groups and bachelor groups in ranging behaviour differentially influenced mesquite dispersal. Seed deposition and seedling recruitment were highest on clustered male mating territories, typically located in open grasslands. Hence, aggregated seed dispersal due to blackbuck male territorial behaviour facilitated mesquite spread in grasslands. Intraspecific variation in disperser behaviour determined seed dispersal pattern which has implications on spread of invasives and their management. Results predicted the spread of mesquite into open areas on territories. The antelope-mesquite interaction threatens the grassland community, including the grassland dependent blackbuck which facilitates its spread. The thesis can be downloaded by clicking here
I am a PhD student in Dr. Brigitte Tenhumberg’s lab at the School of Biological Sciences, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA. I am interested in how optimal life history strategies under different ecological conditions may shape obligate pollination mutualisms. I am also interested in understanding how other host-associated species shape such pollination mutualisms. My research focuses on the classic yucca-yucca moth system.