Research Interests: Species, Climate Warming, and Evolution
Dr. Subhash Rajpurohit is an ecological and evolutionary physiologist. He is interested in understanding fundamental questions around spatiotemporal variation, metabolic ecology, and rapid adaptations. 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/
Editorial Board Member:
Journal of Thermal Biology Publisher: Elsevier
Current Opinion in Insect Science Publisher: Elsevier
Current Research in Insect Science (CRIS) Publisher: Elsevier
Current Science Publisher: Current Science Association along with the Indian Academy of Sciences
PloS Climate Publisher: PLOS
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 the responses of organisms to changing environments i.e. warming. Our approach is from ‘macrophysiology to molecules’. The focus is on the interaction between phenotypic plasticity and adaptation, and the 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 with this long-term study are regularly updated on the following web resource:
Our Approach: 'macrophysiology to molecules'
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 the 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 to 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.
Current LAB Members
Dr. Harshad Mayekar
National Post-doctoral Fellow, SERB
Start Date: Jan 2022
PhD from IISER, Trivandrum, India
Harshad is interested in how phenotypic plasticity (a genomes' ability to express alternative phenotypes) enables organisms to cope with environmental variation. He works with insects and explores plasticity associated with different life-history traits. He uses a combination of lab experiments and field analyses to understand the adaptive nature of plasticity.
PhD Candidate, Shodh Fellow
Start Date: Jul 2020
M.Sc. in Life Sciences from Mount Carmel College, Bengaluru, India
Divita is interested in the evolution of thermal preference in natural populations of Drosophila species. Ecology could drive organism's physiology and thereby fitness. One of her approaches is to study these using populations made of different genetic backgrounds. To understand the underlying molecular wiring she uses metabolomics, transcriptomics and whole-genome sequencing platforms. MORE
PhD Student-Lab Rotation
Start Date: Jan 2022
Integrated MS in Life Sciences from Ahmedabad University, Ahmedabad, India
Abhishek is particularly interested in the structures and functions of insect cuticles. With the use of integrative approaches, he is trying to make connections across morphology and physiology. To address the questions of interest he uses natural populations of Drosophila species.
4. Abhishek Nair, Project Assistant: 2021-2021
Now: PhD Student, Ahmedabad University, Ahmedabad, India
3. Prachi Mehta, Project Assistant: 2020-2021
Now: Masters Student, Northeastern University, Boston, USA
2. Mayur Variya, Project Assistant; 2019-2020
Now: Field Biologist, Namdapha Tiger Reserve, Arunachal Pradesh, India
1. Rupesh Maurya, Senior Research Fellow; 2017-2019
Now: Assistant Professor in Bioscience at Indrashil University, Mehsana, Gujarat, India
Master Thesis Candidates/ PhD Candidates:
7. Kavya Durga, Integrated MS in Life Sciences; Master's Thesis Candidate 2021
6. Yusra Mariam, Integrated MS in Life Sciences; Master's Thesis Candidate 2021
5. Disha Patel, Integrated MS in Life Sciences; Master's Thesis Candidate 2020
4. Iffat Khan, Integrated MS in Life Sciences; Master's Thesis Candidate 2020
3. Shrusti Shah, Integrated MS in Life Sciences; Master's Thesis Candidate 2020
2. Jaydip Pipaliya, Integrated MS in Life Sciences; Master's Thesis Candidate 2019
1. Homica Arya, Integrated MS in Life Sciences; Master's Thesis Candidate 2019
High School/Undergraduate/Masters Interns/Lab Rotation-PhD Programme Students:
6. Kamayani Vajpayee, Lab Rotation-PhD programme: Monsson Semester 2021
5. Divita Garg, Lab Rotation-PhD programme: Monsoon Semester 2020
4. Harshita Bhati, Lab Rotation-PhD Programme: Monsoon Semester 2019
3. Shreyas Iyer, Integrated MS in Life Sciences; Summer Intern 2018 & 2019
2. Riddhi Rathod, Lab Rotation-PhD Programme; Monsoon Semester 2018
1. Shilpi Agrawal, 11/12th Grade; Ahmedabad International School; Summer Intern; 2018 & 2019
Media Coverage: The Times of India
Media Coverage: The Times of India
4. Ahmedabad University 2022-25
(Interdisciplinary Programmes around Sustainable Systems and Living: Cities, Health and Climate Change)
Title Climate understanding of dengue spread in urban landscapes (Team: Darshini Mahadevia, Aditya Vaishya, Bhargava Adhvaryu, Kaushik Jana, and Subhash Rajpurohit)
3. SERB Core Research Grant 2019-2022
Title Cuticle soft or hard: How do insects balance water? (PI Subhash Rajpurohit)
2. SERB-DST Ramanujan Fellowship 2018-2022 Core Research Grant 2019-2023
Title Fly populations response to warming (PI Subhash Rajpurohit)
1. University Research Board- Ahmedabad University 2018-2021 (Startup Research Grant)
Title Organismal responses to climate warming (PI Subhash Rajpurohit)
Awards & Fellowships
Recent Invited TALKS
Water balance in insects: phenotypes to genotype. 'Joint Scientific Discussion Ahmedabad University and Clemson University' organized by Ahmedabad University, Ahmedabad, India. Date: 01 Jul 2022.
Understanding water balance in insects. 'Zoology in 21st Century' organized by the Department of Zoology, Shivaji University, Kohlapur, India. Date: 17-22 Jan 2022.
Water balance in Drosophila: insights from natural populations, selection experiments, and genome-wide association studies. 'Indian Drosophila Research Meeting InDRC2021' organized by IISER-Kolkata, India. Date: 13-17 Dec 2021.
Wing-spot chemistry reflects male fitness and dictates female choice in Drosophila biarmipes. 'International Symposium on Advances in Comparative Endocrinology and Behavioural Ecology' organized by Department of Zoology, Pune University, Pune, India. Date: 1-3 Jul 2021.
Drosophila Ecology "Drosophila melanogaster as a model” organized by the Skill Development Centre (SDC), BEICH RUSA.2.0 and Department of Human Genetics and Molecular Biology, Bharathiar University, Coimbatore, India. Date: 27 Jan 2021
Scientific Conference/Meetings Presentations
International Conference on Insect Systematics and Evolutionary Biology ISEB3. Date 16-18 February 2022. Punjabi University, Patiala, India (Oral Presentation with Divita Garg: Wing-spot pigmentation responds to temperature in a non-linear fashion).
Indian Drosophila Research Conference InDRC2021. Date 13-17 December 2021. IISER, Kolkata, India (Poster Presentation with Divita Garg: Understanding ecological significance of Drosophila wing spot).
Virtual EVOLUTION 2021. Society for the Study of Evolution. Date 21-25 Jun 2021. On-Demand Talk: No water, no eggs - insights from a warming outdoor mesocosm experiment).
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).
Too hot to handle: High-temperature hits mating, reproduction in fruit flies
The little Fruit-fly and big Climate Change: Short story of Drosophila melanogaster and the Flyfolk
Fruit flies' microbes shape their evolution
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
1. Current Opinion in Insect Science
Editorial Board Member
2. Current Research in Insect Science (CRIS)
Editorial Board Member
3. Current Science
Board of Subject Editors
4. PLoS Climate
Academic Editorial Board Member
Journal of Evolutionary Biology
Board of Reviewing Editors 2018-2021
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.
European Society of Evolutionary Biology (ESEB)
Advisory Panel and Mentor:
@ the School of Arts and Sciences, Ahmedabad University
PhD Programme Chair, Biological and Life Sciences
May 2019 to April 2022