Sreekar Rachakonda

Sreekar Rachakonda

Higher Degree by Research Candidate

School of Biological Sciences

Faculty of Sciences


My research focuses on determining natural variation in biodiversity (beta-diversity), and how they change with anthropogenic disturbance at local, landscape and regional scales. My current interests lie in determining the drivers of community assembly and food webs at multiple scales in different habitats.

Measuring Beta-diversity: What is beta-diversity and how to measure it? Beta diversity is the site-to-site variation in species diversity, and is traditionally measured as the ratio between gamma (regional) diversity and alpha (local) diversity. Multiple measures have been proposed since then. However, there is a lack of consensus among ecologists on the use of a standardised measure, mainly due to the correlation between species richness and beta-diversity. We are using data from i) simulations, ii) large tree plots in Panama and Malaysia, and iii) other published sources to understand the causes and consequences of contrasting results in beta-diversity studies. 

Beta-diversity in different habitats at different spatial scales: Is beta-diversity higher in the tropics? Niche compression hypothesis predicts higher beta-diversity in hyper-diverse communities. But, ecologists haven't reached an agreement yet. For example, basic questions like variation in beta-diversity across latitudinal and landuse gradients are still being discussed among community ecologists. We are using standardised tree data from multiple CTFS-ForestGEO plots across Asia-Pacific, and standardised bird data from the rainforests of Western Ghats and Sri Lanka to determine the drivers of beta-diversity in different habitats at multiple spatial scales.

2015-2018 University of Adelaide postgraduate award

2011-2014 Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden postgraduate award

2011 Madras Crocodile Bank Trust research grant (1000 USD)

2010 The Gerry Martin Project research grant (250 USD)

2009 Harvard Summer School scholarship (c. 2000 USD)

2014 Instructor at the BASIC STATISTICS COURSE (invited). Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming, China.

2011-14 Teaching assistant at the ADVANCED FIELD ECOLOGY COURSE. Program for Field Studies (PFS), China.

2014 Teaching assistant at the BASIC STATISTICS COURSE. 51st Annual Meeting of the ATBC, Australia [in July].

2013 Teaching assistant at the ADVANCED STATISTICS COURSE. ATBC Asia Pacific chapter meeting, Indonesia. 

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  • Consulting/Advisories

    Date Institution Department Organisation Type Country
    2015 - 2015 Conservation and environment China

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