"...deals the cards to find the answer
The sacred geometry of chance
The hidden law of a probable outcome
The numbers lead a dance"
I am an engineer-turned-ecologist (computer-scientist-turned-conservation-biologist, if you will) and my research involves applying quantitative tools to visualize and analyze scientific data. I’m fascinated by the sheer diversity of organisms on earth, how these organisms interact with each other, and how these interactions affect where they are found. I’m interested in how species are distributed in space and time, and how their interactions influence them at different levels - individual, population, community, ecosystem.
As a PhD candidate in organismic and evolutionary biology at UMass, I’m working on modeling wildlife communities with a focus on monitoring vertebrates. My PhD research focuses on the effects of global change and species interactions on carnivore communities. I am trying to understand the abiotic and biotic drivers of carnivore community dynamics at local scales using a field study in a protected area in Zambia with fifteen species of carnivores.
Carnivore Community Dynamics
Field site: Kasanka National Park (Zambia)
I am working with the Kasanka Trust on studying the entire carnivore community at Kasanka National Park. There are fifteen species of carnivores, ranging from leopards and hyenas to genets and otters, in the Park. I'm interested in understanding the effects of abiotic factors (such as habitat and climate) and species interactions on the distribution patterns of the different carnivores. This has enormous conservation implications in terms of long term monitoring of the populations.
My pilot study in the summer of 2019 was made possible thanks to funding from the UMass Natural History Collections Grant and the UMass OEB Research Grant. My dissertation research in late 2020 is funded through a National Geographic Early Career Grant, UMass Dissertation Fieldwork Grant, and UMass OEB Research Grant.
- Kadambari Devarajan (September 2019), "More Tales from Trails", That's Life[Science]
- Kadambari Devarajan (August 2019), "Tales from Trails - Field Dispatches from Africa", That's Life[Science]
Carnivore Communities Across Scales
I am using existing data on mammals in the global tropics and sub-tropics to understand patterns of variation in carnivore community structure, richness, and function across different spatial scales.
Canids and Competition
Field site: Banni Grasslands, Kutch (India)
I worked on understanding how a community of four co-occuring canids (golden jackal, Indian fox, desert fox, and domestic dog) partitioned space, time, habitat, and diet in an arid landscape. This was one of the first studies designed to study multiple species simultaneously, with an emphasis on incorporating species interactions.
This project was funded by the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) - India, Department of Science and Technology (DST) - Government of India, and Research and Monitoring in the Banni LandscapE (RAMBLE) Fellowship through the Thakar Jaikrishna Indraji Research Fund.
- Kadambari Devarajan, Abi Tamim Vanak, & Vishwesha Guttal, "The Company Canids Confront: Resource Partitioning in Sympatric Carnivores in an Arid Ecosystem", in prep.
- Kadambari Devarajan, Abi Tamim Vanak & Vishwesha Guttal (December 2015), "The Company Canids Confront: Resource Partitioning in Sympatric Carnivores in an Arid Ecosystem", Master's thesis submitted to Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, 55 pages. (PDF 18.2MB)
- Kadambari Devarajan (August 2019), "There Is Nary a Pest as Hated as Mesquite in the Desert Flatland of Kutch", The Wire
- Kadambari Devarajan (April 2018), "The Field After Cancer", Fem Field Secrets blog
- Kadambari Devarajan (September 2017), "A Salt County Almanac", Saevus (Issue: September 2017)
- Kadambari Devarajan (February 2017), "Stories in the Sand", Celebrating Natural Heritage Souvenir (2017)
I reviewed existing methods for studying communities including multi-species occupancy models (MSOMs) as well as coming up with best practices and frameworks for modeling communities, in a shift from studies focusing on single species.
- Kadambari Devarajan, Toni Lyn Morelli, & Simone Tenan (2020), "Multi-species Occupancy Models - Review, Roadmap, and Recommendations", Ecography.
Field site: NCBS, Bengaluru and IIT Madras, Chennai (India)
I worked on a term paper for an invertebrate ecology course on the factors influencing the structure and arrangement of weaver ant nests in trees. With encouragement from the course instructor, I was able to convert an assignment into a journal publication.
Collaborators - Krushnamegh Kunte
ViXeN : View eXtract and aNnotate media
Blog post: https://methodsblog.com/2019/05/14/vixen/
Mailing list: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/vixen
ViXeN is a simple tool to facilitate easily viewing, adding, and annotating metadata associated with media. ViXeN has been designed primarily to assist field biologists with managing the large amount of media they collect in a minimally intrusive manner. ViXeN is a special, customizable file browser with which one may view and edit metadata associated with media files like videos, images and audio.
It was designed and developed by Prabhu Ramachandran and me.
- Prabhu Ramachandran & Kadambari Devarajan^ (September 2017), "ViXeN: An Open-source Package for Managing Multimedia Data", Methods in Ecology and Evolution DOI: 10.1111/2041-210X.12892 (^ Joint first author) (Online version, PDF 808KB)
- Kadambari Devarajan (May 2019), "ViXeN - View eXtract aNnotate Multimedia Data", Methods.blog