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About Me

A voyager!

A Tamilian wanderlust with a heart for adventure!

A Campaigner for citizen science programs to create awareness to conserve biodiversity!

Venturing into the mystery & beauty of insect biodiversity

A heart parasitized, I venture into this world of intricate mysteries with a passion. From the tropical diversity in India and Taiwan, the golden wheat blowing in the wind and the captivating beauty of the desert and Mediterranean atmospheres in Israel and Greece, the peaceful Scandinavian beauty in Sweden to the waves in Fiji and to the astonishing Australia and currently in and around the smokey mountains of Tennessee. I aim to continue my adventures in this world!

Currently I am working as a post doc in Nursery Research Center of Tennessee State University:

Prof. Karla Addesso (The ultimate/ fastest go-getter) is supervising me in studying the  

 

Diversity of parasitoids of wood boring beetles .​Diversity of parasitoids of Japanese maple scale  &

Ecology of flat headed borers 

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Additionally, I am strengthening the collections here and assisting in identification, curation and digitization.   

I worked under the guidance of Prof. Michal Segoli (The incomparable) for three years in Ben Gurion University of the Negev:

  • To understand why potter wasps collect already parasitized caterpillars though they are deleterious for their offspring- the cost and consequences of collecting already parasitized prey.

  • To study the interactions between invasive brown widow spider and its parasitoid.

 

Apart from these two major projects, I collaborated with two other researchers in Israel:

  • to characterize the natural enemies in date palm plantations and wheat fields.

I also worked as a part time post doctoral fellow in National Natural History Collections, Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Under the guidance of  Dr Efrat Gavish Regev (The never ceasing):

  • to evaluate the arthropod diversity in Avrona Nature Reserve which was hit by an oil spill in 2014.

 

In addition to these two advisors, I was also guided for all the above mentioned research questions by Prof. Yael Lubin (The most knowledgeable yet the most humble) 

My love for wasps continued as I was so fortunate to work under Dr Renee M Borges, a chemical ecologist  (the most dynamic person I have ever met) In the prestigious Indian Institute of Science, from exploring the nesting ecology of mud wasps, and the bio engineering principles behind the nest architecture of mud wasps nest, we also delved into the diversity of fig wasps in India

Exploring the art of collection, identification and insect rearing 

Soon after my Ph.D, I joined as research fellow in the Insect Museum of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (the first museum dedicated solely for insects in India!). This museum is a brain child of Dr. K. Gunathilagaraj (lepidopteran specialist) who expanded my knowledge on insects during our many collection trips together.  I also learnt a lot from the museum associates viz., Dr. K. Ganesh Kumar (my favorite entomology teacher) Dr. P.M.M. David, Dr. N. Chitra, Dr. Sankararaman and Dr. Samraj by accompanying them in expeditions.

 

During this period I was so lucky to meet Dr Donald LJ Qucike, (the most amazing entomologist ever). My very productive days with him are one of the treasures I cherish in my journey.

My adventure into the world of insects began with the most fascinating group of insects- hymenopterans. I then started collecting parasitoids and found them very interesting. With the help of my Ph.D advisor, Prof. K. Ramaraju (a mite taxonomist and my guru, the force behind my enthusiasm) I proposed a project on studying parasitoids of rice ecosystems of India. During the course of this research I was amazed by learning the biology, host seeking behavior of parasitoids, phoresy etc., I decided to love wasps for the rest of my life 

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