Associate Professor and Ramanujan Fellow
PhD (Maharshi Dayanand University)
+91.79.61911284 (office); +91.79.61911286 (Lab)
Research Interests: Evolutionary Physiology (Species Response To Climate Change).
Dr. Subhash Rajpurohit is an evolutionary physiologist. He is interested in understanding fundamental questions around spatiotemporal variation, metabolic ecology, and rapid adaptations through an evolutionary physiology lens. In addition, he uses experimental evolution to study how physiological systems function and evolve under defined conditions. The big question his lab is interested in understanding ‘species response to climate change’. Dr. Rajpurohit describes his approach as ‘Macrophysiology to molecules’. He has been involved in using Indian drosophilids as a natural laboratory of evolutionary biology and leading long-term studies on tropical drosophlids. His lab ‘EEE Lab’ (Experimental Ecology & Evolution Lab) also hosts a resource on Indian Drosophila <http://www.rajpurohit-lab.org/drosocline.html>. At this Lab, undergraduates, graduate students, and postdocs are engaged in various evolutionary physiology projects. Dr. Rajpurohit ‘believes in the big picture’, and so collaborates with several labs in India, North America, Europe and Australia. At the School of Arts and Sciences, Ahmedabad University, he teaches evolutionary biology and research methodology.
To know more about his group and the research work please visit his laboratory webpage:http://www.rajpurohit-lab.org/
PhD Programme Chair (2019-present)
Biological and Life Sciences, School of Arts and Sciences
Anthropogenic climate change is now recognized as a major force driving alterations in the fitness, behaviour, distribution and ecology of species across the planet. Climate exerts powerful effects on the distribution and abundance of the earth's insect species. Based on major climatic models Earth’s temperature is going to rise 3-6 °C by the end of this century and this climate change related warming is going to generate changes for many insect populations and the ecosystems they inhabit. The unprecedented rates of climate changes in the future, coupled with land use changes that impede gene flow, can be expected to disrupt the entire ecology of many species. Warmer temperatures, and desertification associated with climate changes will tend to influence (and frequently amplify) insect species’ population dynamics directly through effects on survival, generation time, fecundity, response to stress and dispersal. A systematic and in-depth approach provides a foundation for describing how insect species are responding to recent climatic trends on the basis of insect physiology, and predicting generalized species distributions and population dynamics for the future.
EEE Lab is interested in understanding responses of organisms to changing environment i.e. warming. Our approach is from ‘macrophysiology to molecules’. The focus is on interaction between phenotypic plasticity and adaptation, and relationship between underlying physiological and molecular mechanisms. Ecological changes drive evolution which acts on organism’s physiology and thereby fitness. The ecological conditions are never stable, and organisms must cope with varying conditions i.e. physiological performance or some form of regulation. We do it by either manipulating organisms or their environments. We also make use of experimental evolution to study how physiological systems function and evolve under defined conditions. The combined approach we follow helps us understand ecological patterns and processes, survival in and adaptation to a changing world.
EEE Lab also hosts a resource on Indian Drosophila Ecology & Evolution (a window to Indian Drosophila clines DrosoCline). The research findings associated to this long-term study are regularly updated on the following web-resource:
Spatiotemporal variations as a tool to understand organismal responses to climate change:
In the past, we studied ecologically relevant traits in Drosophila species populations along spatial and temporal scales in India (reviewed in Rajpurohit et al. 2017). This work established that seasonal temperature variability along the Indian latitudes play a critical role in defining various fitness trait clines (i.e. an increase or decrease in a trait value along the latitudes or altitude). We are trying to find out the genetic architecture of populations collected along the latitudes and altitudes. We use high-throughput platforms/approaches-genome resequencing of natural populations, gene expression analysis, and metabolomics to understand the molecular genetic wiring of natural populations. The efforts are in direction to integrate findings from genomics and metabolomics to understand the organismal responses to climate change.
Evolutionary potential of populations/species (Field and Laboratory conditions)
There is a possibility that if populations are not adapting fast enough in the changing climatic conditions they might go extinct. At this important juncture we might need to dig biological complexities a bit deeper and explore the capacities of natural populations to adapt genetically to environmental changes. We expose known populations to growing tropical summers and check their genetic capacities. This approach helps us to test various ecological hypotheses. Experimental Evolution Study Stations at the Ahmedabad University has a set of mesocosm units to test such hypotheses (see Rajpurohit et al. 2018). This set-up is equipped with a climate tower to collect weather data day/night to keep track of population’s responses to climatic variables.
Recent Invited TALKS
The little Fruit-fly and big Climate Change: Short story of Drosophila melanogaster and the Flyfolk.
Mighty Evolution! Is Evolution a Hoax?
What does a fruit-fly tell us about water?
Panel Discussion; To mark the launch of the Global Centre for Environment and Energy at Ahmedabad University, a panel discussion was organized titled No ‘Plan B’: Looking Through the Sustainability Lens.
City Nature Challenge 2018 Ahmedabad, India
April 27-29, 2018
We, humans, share Ahmedabad with a large number of organisms living in our neighbourhoods! Let's try to find out what's out there! Join us (Rajpurohit Lab @ the Division of Biological & Life Sciences, School of Arts & Sciences, Ahmedabad University, Ahmedabad) in this citizen science adventure to catalogue our city's biodiversity!
Participation is very simple. Download the iNaturalist app to your mobile phone; then, from April 27-30, 2018, use the app to take photos of plants, trees, insects, animals, fungi, moss or other organisms you see and the iNaturalist community will help you identify it.
Note: For this project, our geographical boundary is outer ring road. Anything inside the outer ring road is advised to go in this work. Please keep your mobile coordinates open.
Stay tuned to us for further updates.
The City Nature Challenge is organized by Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and California Academy of Sciences, USA.
May 1-3, 2018
Fruit flies' microbes shape their evolution
Scientific Conference/Meetings Presentations
ISEB2: Indo-Swiss Meeting on Evolutionary Biology. Date: 12-14 Dec 2019. Centre for Human Genetics, Bangalore, India (Invited Talk: Thermal preference in Drosophila: It's not that simple).
ISEB1: Celebrating Ecology and Evolution in India. First Conference of the Indian Society of Evolutionary Biologists. Date: 24-25 October 2019. Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Bangalore, India (Invited Talk: Molecules matter: cuticular hydrocarbons).
The 3rd Bangalore School on Population Genetics & Evolution. Date: 15 March 2018. International Centre for Theoretical Sciences-TIFR Bangalore, India (Invited Talk: Natural variation, laboratory selection, and genomics of desiccation tolerance in Drosophila).
The 5th Asia Pacific Drosophila Research Conference APDRC and Indian Drosophila Research Conference. Date: 6-10 Jan 2020. Indian Institute of Science & Education, Pune, India (Poster Presentation with Homica Arya: But first, give me water!: Drosophila adults refrain from copulation when dehydrated).
The 3rd Biennial Indian Drosophila Research Conference (InDRC). 6-9 Dec 2017. Indian Institute of Science & Education, Bhopal, India (Poster Presentation- Rajpurohit et al.: Post-eclosion temperature effects on insect cuticular hydrocarbon profiles).
European Society of Evolutionary Biology. 10-14 Aug 2015. Lausanne, Switzerland (Oral Presentation- Rajpurohit et al.: Allelic variation at TrpA1 and trpl regulated thermal-mediated behavior in the lab and field in Drosophila).
European Society of Evolutionary Biology. 10-14 Aug 2015. Lausanne, Switzerland (Poster Presentation- Rajpurohit et al.: Eco-evolutionary dynamics in response to seasonal adaptation in Drosophila).
Drosophila Research Conference. Date: March 4-8, 2015. Chicago, USA (Oral Presentation- Bergland et al.: Genome-wide test of a life-history model underlying seasonal adaptation in Drosophila).
The 5th International Symposium on the Environmental Physiology of Ectotherms and Plants (ISEPEP). Date 12-16 Aug 2013. Ontario, Canada (Poster Presentation-Nedved & Rajpurohit: Clinal variation in ecophysiological traits in drosophilids of the Indian subcontinent).
EVOLUTION 2013. Date June 21-25, 2013. Salt Lake City, USA. (Poster Presentation-Rajpurohit et al.: Spatial and temporal variation in drought tolerance in North American populations of Drosophila melanogaster).
EVOLUTION 2013. Date June 21-25, 2013. Salt Lake City, USA. (Poster Presentation-Etges et al.: Transcriptomics of cuticular hydrocarbon expression in a desert drosophilid: age and temperature/desiccation stress).
Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology SICB 2013. Date: 3-7 Jan 2013. San Francisco, USA (Oral Presentation-Gibbs et al. Testing melanism-desiccation hypothesis using experimental evolution).
EVOLUTION 2011. Date: 17-21 June 2011. Norman, Oklahoma, USA (Poster Presentation-Etges et al.: Ecological genomics of stage and age specific responses to different host plants in populations of Drosophila mojavensis).
APS Intersociety Meeting: Global Change & Global Science: Comparative Physiology in a Changing World. Denver, Colorado, USA. Date: 4-7 Aug 2010. Westminster, Colorado, USA (Poster Presentation-Rajpurohit et al.: Transcriptome analysis of desiccation in desert adapted Drosophila mojavensis).
EVOLUTION 2010. Date: 25-29 Jun 2010. Portland, Oregon, USA (Poster Presentation-Etges et al.: Ecological genomics of host use and mating status in Drosophila mojavensis).
The Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology SICB. Date: 3-7 Jan 2010. Seattle, WA, USA (Poster Presentation-Marlon et al.: Evolution of gene expression in larval fat body of stress-selected Drosophila).
Drosophila Research Conference. Date: 4-8 Mar 2009. Chicago, USA (Poster Presentation-Rajpurohit et al.: Drosophilids as indicators of changing climatic conditions).
Gordon Research Conference on Evolutionary and Ecological Functional Genomics. Date: 12-17 Jul 2009. New Hampshire, USA (Poster Presentation-Rajpurohit et al.: Evolution of gene expression in larval fat body of stress-selected Drosophila).
Gordon Research Conference on Evolutionary and Ecological Functional Genomics. Date: 12-17 Jul 2009. New Hampshire, USA (Poster Presentation-Oliveira et al.: Ecological genomics of host plant adaptation and stress in desert Drosophila).
International Workshop on The Evolution of Sexual Size Dimorphism. Date: 4-7 Sep 2005. Locarno, Switzerland (Poster Presentation-Rajpurohit et al.: Morphometric variations in altitudinal populations of three Drosophila species).
The 8th Japanese Drosophila Research Conference. Date: 2-4 Jul 2006. Osaka, Japan (Poster Presentation-Rajpurohit et al.: Adaptations to altitudinally varying colder environments: Correlated changes in melanism, desiccation tolerance and reproductive fitness traits in Drosophila immigrants).
Our current research has been generously funded by:
3. SERB Core Research Grant 2019-2021
Title Cuticle soft or hard: How do insects balance water?
2. SERB-DST Ramanujan Fellowship 2018-2022
1. University Research Board- Ahmedabad University 2018-2020 (Startup Research Grant)
Scientific Journals (Journal Board Member)
1. Current Research in Insect Science (CRIS)
Editorial Board Member
2. Journal of Evolutionary Biology
Board of Reviewing Editors
3. Current Science
Board of Subject Editors
Reviewer: American Naturalist; Functional Ecology; Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing Group); Evolution; Journal of Insect Physiology; Scientific Data (Nature Publishing Group); Genetica; Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology; Behavioral Ecology; Zoological Research; Journal of Experimental Zoology Part A: Ecological Genetics and Physiology; Proceedings of Royal Society B; Journal of Evolutionary Biology; Journal of Experimental Biology; Chemoecology; Journal of Thermal Biology; Heredity; Molecular Ecology.