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Subhash Rajpurohit

Assistant Professor
Areas of interest
Ecological & Evolutionary Physiology

Dr. Subhash Rajpurohit is a member of the Division of Biological & Life Sciences, Ahmedabad University, Ahmedabad since August 2017 as Assistant Professor. He obtained his M.Sc. in Zoology from Mohan Lal Sukhadia University, Udaipur and a Ph.D. in Bioscience from Maharshi Dayanand University, Rohtak. In his Ph.D. work he studied thermal adaptations in Indian drosophilids, and then began a postdoctoral fellowship (2008-2012) at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, USA and University of Georgia-Athens, USA. His postdoctoral work included studies of functional genomics of a desert fly in the arid lands of the southwestern USA and northwestern Mexico, Drosophila mojavensis, from several transcriptome experiments involving host cactus specialization, mating status, desiccation and thermal physiology. In 2009, he established a long-term artificial selection experiment on body pigmentation in D. melanogaster. For the last five years (2012-2017), he has been working as a Research Associate in the Dept. of Biology, University of Pennsylvania, USA. His most recent work has spanned studies of latitudinal clines, seasonality, and rapid adaptation in D. melanogaster. He has discovered five more clines for desiccation tolerance, cuticular hydrocarbons, pigmentation, body size, and thermal preferences in natural populations of D. melanogaster along the east coast of the USA, and is tracking seasonal dynamics in mesocosms in order to elucidate effects of temperature increases. He has also developed a three-dimensional thermal gradient apparatus for temperature preference studies in smaller size organisms like Drosophila, wasps, and mosquitos. He has been involved in using Indian drosophilids as a natural laboratory of evolutionary biology and leading long-term studies on tropical Indian drosophilids. His lab also hosts a resource on Indian Drosophila ( For more details about his work and ongoing projects visit his Lab page.


At Ahmedabad University, the Rajpurohit Lab is focusing on three major research areas:

1. Clines, seasonality, and rapid adaptations

2. Climate and metabolic ecology

3. Urban evolution


Lab website:


In my Lab, we study ecological- and evolutionary-physiology, focusing on mechanisms fundamental to the understanding of ecological patterns and processes, survival in and adaptation to a changing world. We are currently focusing on three major areas:

1. Clines, Seasonality, & Rapid Adaptations

In the past, I studied ecologically relevant traits in Drosophila species populations along spatial and temporal scales in India (Rajpurohit et al. 2008 abc; Rajpurohit & Nedved 2013; Rajpurohit et al. 2017). My most recent research in the Gibbs Lab (in collaboration with William J. Etges) and the Schmidt Lab (in collaboration with Dmitri A. Petrov) included artificial selection (Rajpurohit & Gibbs 2012), functional genomics (Rajpurohit et al. 2013), spatiotemporal variations (Rajpurohit & Schmidt 2016, Rajpurohit et al. 2017 ab), experimental evolution (outdoor mesocosm settings), and eco-evolutionary dynamics/rapid adaptations in North American Drosophila melanogaster populations (Rajpurohit et al. 2017 cd, in preparation). I am following up this work here at the Division of Biological & Life Sciences using tropical drosophilid populations. This work is in collaboration with Volker Loeschcke (Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark) and two other Drosophila consortiums: Dros-RTEC (North America) and DrosEU (Europe). My lab is particularly interested in ecological and evolutionary physiology questions. All these efforts are part of a long-term study on tropical Indian drosophilids relating to organismal responses to climate change and monitoring. My 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: 
Current Projects:
-revisiting classic clines along the Indian latitudes
-testing ecological hypotheses (experimental evolution, genes, & functions)

2. Climate & Metabolic Ecology

Metabolic rates are the fundamental biological rate that governs most observed patterns in organismal ecology. The thermal sensitivity of physiological rates (i.e. metabolic rate) is one of the most significant characteristics of all organisms. It is especially important in ectotherms, which frequently have a more limited scope for thermoregulation than do endotherms and so are more susceptible to changing environmental temperatures. 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 insect species. At the physiological level, we could argue that the entire metabolic machinery of an organism is going to be affected. Warmer temperatures (mediated through metabolic machinery) associated with climate changes will tend to influence (and frequently amplify) insect species' population dynamics directly through effects on survival, generation time, fecundity and dispersal. We are studying metabolic responses to climate warming. My current focus is on the life in the Thar Desert. This is one of the hottest areas of India - with summer temperatures averaging and peaking at 49.5 °C. This work is in collaboration with Allen G. Gibbs, William J. Etges, and Eran Gefen.
Current Projects:
-metabolic rate, water balance, and behaviour 
-metabolomics of extreme conditions

3. Urban Evolution

In last fifty years or so, one exciting finding in biology has changed our views about evolutionary processes that evolution can happen very quickly. It is happening around us (e.g. antibiotic resistance, peppered moth morph changes, bird beak size in the Galapagos Islands, guppies in Trinidad, lizard's leg size in Bahamas, etc.) at a pace that we can actually study. Despite this realization that evolution can occur very rapidly, very few researchers have taken the next logical step to consider what's happening around us. Studying contemporary evolution requires field studies for the most part, in forests, deserts, on islands, and so on. We are also interested in whether evolution is happening in cities. Temperatures in urban areas are about 2 °C higher than the surrounding countryside. We are focusing on aspects of physiological adaptations. 
Current Projects:
-temperature, behaviour, and fitness


Google Scholar            ResearchGate

1. *Rajpurohit S, Zhao X, and Schmidt PS. 2017. A resource on latitudinal and altitudinal clines of ecologically relevant phenotypes of the Indian Drosophila populations, Scientific Data – Nature 4:170066 DOI: 10.1038/sdata.2017.66.

2. Etges WJ, de Oliveira CC, Rajpurohit S, and Gibbs AG. 2016. Effects of temperature on transcriptome and cuticular hydrocarbon expression in ecologically differentiated populations of desert DrosophilaEcology & Evolution 7:619-637.

3. Rajpurohit S, Hanus R, Vrkoslav V, Behrman EL, Bergland A, Dmitri P, Cvacka J, and Schmidt PS. 2016. Adaptive dynamics of cuticular hydrocarbon profiles in DrosophilaJournal of Evolutionary Biology 30:66-80.

4. *Rajpurohit S, Richardson R, Dean J, Vazquez R, Wong G and Schmidt PS. 2016. Pigmentation and trade-off through the lens of artificial selection, Biology Letters, DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2016.0625.

5. *Rajpurohit S, Peterson LM, Orr A, Marlon AJ, and Gibbs AG. 2016. An experimental test of the relationship between melanism and desiccation survival in insects, PLoS One 11(9):e0163414.

6. Rajpurohit S, and Schmidt PS. 2016. Measuring thermal behaviour in smaller insects: a case study in Drosophila melanogaster demonstrate effects of sex, geographic origin, and rearing temperature on adult behaviour. Fly 10:149-161.

7. Etges WJ, Oliveira de CC, Rajpurohit S, and Gibbs AG. 2016. Preadult life-history variation determines adult transcriptome expression. Molecular Ecology 23:741-763.

8. Etges W, Trotter MV, de Oliveira CC, Rajpurohit S, Gibbs AG, and Tuljapurkar S. 2015. Deciphering life history transcriptomics in different environments. Molecular Ecology 24:151-179.

9. Rajpurohit S, de Oliveira CC, Etges WJ and Gibbs AG. 2013. Functional genomic and phenotypic responses to desiccation in natural populations of desert drosophilid. Molecular Ecology 22:2698-2715.

10. *Rajpurohit S, Nedved O and Gibbs AG. 2013. Meta-analysis of geographical clines in desiccation tolerance of Indian drosophilids. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology 164:391-398.

11. *Rajpurohit S, and Gibbs AG. 2012. Selection of body tergite pigmentation and correlated responses in trident: a case study in Drosophila melanogaster. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 106:287-294.

12. *Rajpurohit S, and Marlon AJ. 2011. Pigmentation scoring method for DrosophilaDrosophila Information Service 94:134-139.

13. Parkash R, *Rajpurohit S, and Ramniwas S. 2009. Impact of darker, intermediate and lighter phenotypes of body melanisation on desiccation resistance in Drosophila melanogasterJournal of Insect Science 9:1-10. First two authors equally contributed.

14. Parkash R, Rajpurohit S, and Ramniwas S. 2008. Changes in body melanization and desiccation resistance in highland vs. lowland populations of D. melanogasterJournal of Insect Physiology 54:1050-1056.

15. *Rajpurohit S, Parkash R, and Ramniwas S. 2008. Pigmentation, ovariole number and fecundity variations in lowland and highland populations of Drosophila melanogaster. Insect Science 15:553-561.

16. *Rajpurohit S, Parkash R, and Ramniwas S. 2008. Climatic changes and shifting species boundaries of drosophilids in the western Himalaya. Acta Entomologica Sinica 51:328-335.

17. *Rajpurohit S, Parkash R, and Ramniwas S. 2008. Climate change, boundary increase and elongation of a pre-existing cline: a case study in Drosophila ananassaeEntomological Research 38:268-275.

18. *Rajpurohit S, Parkash R, and Ramniwas S. 2008. Body melanization and its adaptive role in thermoregulation and tolerance against desiccating conditions in drosophilids. Entomological Research 38:49-60.

19. Parkash R, Ramniwas S, Rajpurohit S, and Sharma V. 2007. Variations in body melanization impact desiccation resistance in Drosophila immigrans from western Himalaya. Journal of Zoology 276:219-227.

20. *Rajpurohit S, Parkash R, Ramniwas S, Nedved O, and Singh S. 2007. Parallel trend in pigmentation and desiccation tolerance: altitudinal and latitudinal effects in Drosophila melanogaster. Drosophila Information Service 90:70-79.

21. Pregent SR, and Rajpurohit S. 2007. Genome, Evolution, Drosophila and Beyond. Fly 1:297-302. (Meeting Report)

22. Parkash R, Tyagi PK, Sharma I, and Rajpurohit S. 2005. Adaptations to environmental stress in altitudinal populations of two Drosophila species. Physiological Entomology 30:353-361.


1. *Rajpurohit S, and Nedved O. 2013. Clinal variation in fitness related traits in tropical drosophilids of the Indian subcontinent. Journal of Thermal Biology 38:345-354.

Book Chapter

1. Gibbs AG, and Rajpurohit S. 2010. Cuticular Lipids and Water Balance. In Insect Hydrocarbons-Biology, Biochemistry, and Chemical Biology, G. J. Blomquist, ed. (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Publisher), pp. 100-119.


*corresponding author


Ecology & Evolution

# I follow a project based teaching approach and it involves a considerable component of field work. The entire approach goes from 'macrophysiology to molecules'.

Professional Service

1. BMC Research Notes

Associate Editorial Board Member

2. Frontiers in Physiology (Integrative Physiology)

Topic Editor (with Aya Takahashi, Tokyo Metropolitan University), Melanism: macrophysiology to molecules



284, Division of Biological & Life Sciences,
Ahmedabad University,
Central Campus,
Navrangpura, Ahmedabad,
Gujarat, India