Field notes from a Fly

transcribed by Gauri Gharpure – A fly’s perspective on the recent fieldwork in Sikkim where we tested our artificial flower models to check pollinators’ responses and preferences. Somewhere in Sikkim, Sometime in May 2019 “It was a usual day – the sun rose and I began to get ready for my daily tasks. It had been really cold in the…

Our Collaboration with Artists featured at the Victoria and Albert Museum!

We recently worked with Thomas Pausz and artists at Srishti School of Design in Bangalore to deconstruct the flower cues important to pollinators and understand their preferences across climates and environments. Our work together was selected as an exhibit at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London showing until October 20, 2019 called “FOOD: Bigger than the Plate”! You can…

Reason and Purpose

by Shannon – Our website has been silent. We have experienced unspeakable tragedy on our little campus. First, a member of our lab met with a serious accident, but is fortunately recovering slowly. Then, just a couple of weeks later, our campus lost one of our students forever. At these times, one always seeks the answer to two questions: the reason…

Our newest paper on a skeleton key for insect olfaction!

Congratulations to Srishti Batra on her newest publication describing a well-known food favoring agent that elicits behavioral and olfactory activity across the Insects. As Srishti notes:  “this known food additive elicits a behavioral response for several insects, including mosquitoes, flies, and cockroaches. A broad-scale behaviorally active molecule non-toxic to humans thus has significant implications for health and agriculture. Coffee furanone…

Simple but Complex

by Shalini V – One day, while gazing at the lawn, I noticed something that stirred my thoughts. I saw a rock pigeon, picking sticks to build its nest. The pigeon picked a stick. Then, in less than a minute, dropped it, picked another, dropped it again, and finally selected one after rejecting four sticks. Now the question – Why did…

Our Sibilant Neighbors

by Deepa Rajan – Several years ago, when I was in elementary school, my parents grounded me after they found out I had been trying to approach a snake. While on a walk around the neighborhood with my younger brother, I had seen a flash of orange out of the corner of my eye and turned to find a thin, hand-length…

A week in the Heart of India

by Srinivas Rao – Last month, I got an opportunity to be a part of Field Biology Course, teaching  VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) sampling in field including a brief introduction into VOC analysis using GCMS techniques held at Pachmarhi, Madhya Pradesh, India. Pachmarhi is a hill station in Madhya Pradesh within central India. Pachmarhi comes under the Pachmarhi Cantonment Board of…

 Marine Sponges – The vacuum cleaners of our oceans

by Anshika Singh – Marine sponges belong to phylum ‘Porifera’, which means ‘pore-bearers’. They are generally known as sponges due to their soft, porous and squashy body. They look nothing like the famous cartoon character Spongebob Squarepants. Neither do they resemble the synthetic sponge which you might have seen in your kitchen or bathroom. They are very diverse in their sizes,…

The NICE Lab Kitchen – Mustard

by Sebastian Sturm – Born and raised in Thuringia (Germany) often means being nurtured with table mustard – a spicy paste made from mustard seeds – served with the traditional Thuringian Bratwurst (fried sausage) and other hearty dishes. Nostalgia and withdrawal made me do some research searching for a substitute. The outcome was my first bottle of self-made table mustard made…