One of the oldest challenges in ecology is to understand the processes that underpin the composition of communities. Unravelling the complexities of the distribution, abundances and interactions between species requires novel approaches. Together with taxonomy, ecological experiments and observations, we develop mathematical and statistical approaches for integrating different facets (traits, phylogeny, systematics, dynamics) of species interactions and biodiversity.
Imperfect mimicry in British hoverflies provides an opportunity to investigate aspects of reliable signalling and community structure. Shankari’s study focused on the taxonomic level at which variability in traits that might be involved in aposematic signalling is seen in these communities. This could provide an insight into where the variability originates as well as how it might be maintained. Variability may be a key factor in explaining the mimicry seen in these hoverflies.
Shankari was pursuing an MSc degree in Evolution, Ecology and Systematics at the Ludwig-Maximilian’s University, Munich (2012-2014).