With a bachelor degree in Biomedical Sciences and a dream to pursue research in drug designing, I joined IISc as Integrated PhD student. As a part of the programme, mandatory rotations in different departments provided me with an opportunity to try and explore the so far untouched areas of biology. Complete absence of any exposure to ecology in bachelors prompted me to choose CES as my first rotation resulting in love at first sight with the field of chemical ecology. And the love for chemistry got integrated with fascination for biology when I joined Prof. Renee’s lab for my PhD.
My work focuses on the role of ovipositor in short range host location in non-pollinating fig wasps in Ficus racemosa. Given that the hosts for non-pollinating fig wasps are hidden inside the fig syconium and they locate their specific targets with the help of probing ovipositor, it becomes the major sensory organ involved in host location. This study is also an attempt to quantify the sensory nature of ovipositor as its structure in different species may lead to differences in sensitivity and specificity of the different wasps for host locations. We are also investigating the role of other factors like volatile profiles, surface chemistry etc. in host-recognition by wasps and its relation to life-history strategies with implications for survival,oviposition and thereby reproduction.
1. Yadav, P. and Borges R. M., 2017. The insect ovipositor as a volatile sensor within a closed microcosm. Journal of Experimental Biology 1557. doi:10.1242/jeb.152777
2. Yadav, P. and Borges, R. M., 2017. Host parasitoid development and survival strategies
in a non- pollinating fig wasp community, Acta Oecologica.