Behavioural state dynamics
Obviously, when you are need long time-scale data about an animal, you need someone to follow it around. Now because of harsh environmental conditions, unpredictable weather, and the possibility of your animal getting bothered, your ideal tracker is a tiny armoured pixie. Well, an accelerometer gets really close to that; and the rest is the magic of machine learning.
Mixed species trails
Surprisingly, when one studies Animal Behaviour, they think a lot about plants. It isn't really very surprsing, given that plants are food for so many animals. What most people neglect to consider is that plants can be bloody irritating to move through; especially thorny invasives like Lantana camara. In this project, I collected data from the Biligiri Ranganathaswamy Wildlife Sancturary, and performed extensive quantitative analyses on them. Also, lots of cool Agent Based Modelling!
Blackbuck collective behaviour
There are colonial legends of herds of blackbuck that stretched across swathes of land so large that you could not see the boundaries of the herd when standing in the middle. Sadly, the blackbuck is now critically endangered, and its largest groups today number around a paltry... seven hundred?! How are blackbuck groups so large? How do you quantify groups? What is the meaning of a group size?
What if I told you that converting the entire habitat of an animal to a reserve is probably not the best idea for conserving that animal? What if there exists an optimal proportion of area to protect? In this highly exploratory project, I have mentored an undergraduate student, Ananya Passi, who has come up with fascinating insights using a mathematical modelling approach.