Shikhara Bhat

BS-MS student, IISER Pune, India


Mathematics without natural history is sterile, but natural history without mathematics is muddled. ”


- John Maynard Smith


Hi there!

I'm Shikhara, an undergraduate at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Pune, India. I am broadly interested in studying systems which have a strong interplay between ecological and evolutionary processes, and in uncovering broad generalities in such systems. I believe that the best way to approach this is to use the powerful insights provided by rigorous mathematical theory and modelling while relying on empirical data to shape, guide, and verify these mathematical constructs. This approach not only requires integrative approaches, but also requires extensive communication and collaboration between theorists and empiricists. I am interested in approaching this interface from the theory side, using models that are informed by empirical data.

I have recently been particularly interested in the mechanisms of maintenance of (discrete) phenotypic polymorphisms in nature. For my Master's project, I am working with Dr. Rohini Balakrishnan and Dr. Vishwesha Guttal at the Indian Institute of Science, where I will be using game-theoretic tools such as adaptive dynamics to study the effects of spatial structure on the number of polymorphisms that can be maintained in a system. In the past, I have worked on vocal behaviour in frogs, alternative reproductive tactics in tree crickets, and theoretical Lotka-Volterra communities. An extensive list of my work can be found over at the Projects page, and publications and preprints can be found on the Publications page.

In my free time, I enjoy reading, listening to country music, or sipping a hot cup of strong coffee. I'm particularly fond of popular science books, and you can find a list of books I liked over on the Resources page. I am also an avid naturalist and wildlife lover, and love going on treks and hikes. I occasionally indulge in wildlife photography (mostly macro stuff), and you can find images I've taken over on my instagram account.