Evolution, Ecology and Biodiversity Research Programme
Understanding the processes that form and maintain biodiversity
Basic research in biodiversity covers every aspect of ecosystem function. Research in our laboratory focuses on understanding how ecosystems are modified by the loss of biodiversity. Our primary research focus is on the largely uncharted field of invertebrate biodiversity. Currently, studies in our lab currently focus on plants and animals in terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems worldwide, with special attention paid to the Western Ghats-Sri Lanka biodiversity hotspot. We use spiders and other arachnids as models to address these issues in our research, using an integrative approach to answer questions of interest. The unifying theme concerns the formulation of evolutionary conclusions using morphology, genes and behavioral studies. We use taxonomy, molecular biology, phylogenetics, and field ecology to build a comprehensive understanding of the evolutionary processes involved in the formation of biodiversity. Our findings are then shared through papers published in peer reviewed journals.
Why does this matter ?
Our primary research interests lie in evolutionary biology, which is fundamental to understanding the processes that form and maintain biodiversity. We are particularly interested in the study of highly diverse ecosystems and how they are molded through processes like speciation and adaptive radiation. Ecosystems sustain human lives and diversity of species is fundamental to healthy ecosystems. We believe that biodiversity loss is the single most significant challenge facing not only Sri Lanka but also the entire planet.
Biodiversity patterns of herbivore scarab chafers of Sri Lanka (Sericini: Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae).
Evolution of the jumping spiders (Salticidae)
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The phylogenetics of hybrids between the Sri Lankan primate species of langur (Semnopithecus priam thersites and S. vetulus)
Higher level phylogeny and evolution of the crab spiders (Thomisidae).
Endemics of the central highlands of Sri Lanka