PhD, Ecology and Evolution (Advisor: Dr. Catherine Graham) 2012 - Present
Preliminary title: "Field-based physiological ecology: A key component in understanding species
distributions". Stony Brook University, New York.
M.Sc. Ecology and Environmental Sciences (Advisor: Dr. Priya Davidar) 2009 - 11
"Malabar Pied Hornbill (Anthracoceros coronatus) nest site parameters in the highly fragmented
Northern Western Ghats, India". Pondicherry University, Puducherry, India. First class.
B.Sc. Advanced Zoology and Biotechnology 2006 - 09
Stella Maris College, Madras University, Chennai, India. First class with distinction.
Graham CH, Beck PA, Powers DR, Supp SR, Lim MCW, Shankar A, Goetz S, and Wethington S. Extreme limits impacting hummingbird migration patterns and body condition. Ecosphere. 7(10): e01470. 10.1002/ecs2.1470.
Shankar A*, Schroeder RJ*, Wethington SM, Graham CH, Powers DR. 2018. Torpor duration, more than temperature, is key to hummingbird nighttime energy savings. bioRxiv. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory; 383679. Available on: bioRxiv (*Equal authors); also In Review.
Shankar A, Graham CH, Canepa JR, Wethington SM, Powers DP. Assessing energy budget flexibility in a small endotherm. In Review.
Aguilar JMA, Shankar A, Nieto AV, Tinoco BA. Year-round occurrences of birds in the Southwestern high Andes of Ecuador. Cotinga. In Review.
Shankar A., Morales AC, Urgilés GMU, Córdova GKC, Cisneros INH, Schroeder RJ, Tinoco BAT, Graham CH, Powers DR. From shallow to deep: A torpor spectrum in hummingbirds. In prep.
Eberts E, Shankar A, Morado M, Auger P, Curley M, Welch K, Tattersall G. Thermal imaging: Do nesting female hummingbirds use torpor? In prep.
Selected Awards and Grants
David F. Ludwig travel scholarship, Association for Environmental Health and Sciences, Aug 2017. $1000
For fieldwork on shallow torpor in hummingbirds in Arizona.
Distinguished Travel Award, Stony Brook University Graduate Student Organization, May 2017 $1500
SICB Broadening Participation travel award to attend Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB) $489
Annual Meeting, Jan 2017.
Experiment.com Crowd-funded grant, December 2016. (Together with Erich Eberts*, Dr. Peter Auger, $5000
Maria Curley, and Dr. Glenn Tattersall.) To study nesting female hummingbirds’ torpor use with thermal cameras.
Lewis and Clark Field Scholarship, American Philosophical Society. May 2016 $5000
Mildred and Herbert Weisinger Dissertation Fellowship for research on hummingbird physiology & ecology, $10,000
Stony Brook University, March 2016.
Cedar Brook Award for best talk, Stony Brook E&E departmental retreat, February 2016.
Departmental Unrestricted Research Award, Stony Brook University, March 2015. $750
NSF Young Scientist Mentoring Program (Travel, registration and mentorship award for GRC 2014:
”Unifying Ecology across Scales”), July 2014.
Tinker Field Research Grant, Tinker Foundation, May 2014. $2300
National Geographic Young Explorer’s Grant, March 2014. $4997
Departmental Research Excellence Award, Stony Brook University, March 2014. $1000
Graduate Student Organization, Stony Brook University RAP for conference attendance $350
Lawrence B. Slobodkin Award for Research in Ecology, March 2013. $900
Recent Research Experience
Dissertation work, Hummingbird energy management in the field 2012-18
Skills: Bird handling, mist-netting, field respirometry, doubly labeled water, resource measurements,
coding in R, MCMCglmm, mentoring.
Visiting Scientist, Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape WSL, Switzerland 2017,18
3 months; Analyses and paper writing with Dr. Catherine Graham and Dr. Don Powers.
Visiting Researcher, George Fox University, Oregon Jan 2018
Analyses and paper writing with Dr. Don Powers
Research Assistant, NASA hummingbird diversity grant, Stony Brook University, NY. 2013
Compiled data and performed data analysis, generated maps for publication, improved methods
of data collection and storage.
Field Assistant, NASA hummingbird diversity grant, Patagonia, AZ 2013
Performed physiological and morphological measurements on hummingbirds.
Field Technician, Shola evolution project, NCBS Bangalore. 2012
Mist-netted, collected blood samples, took morphological measurements, extracted DNA and carried
out PCR for high elevation bird species.
Summer Research Fellow, Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore. 2010
Carried out observational studies on the vertebrate visitors to Ficus benghalensis (Banyan) and
Lepidopteran visitors of the invasive Lantana camara.
Coding in R; ArcGIS, qGIS, Git Bash, GitHub /nushiamme, GPS use, Mist-netting, bird morphology measurements, DNA extraction, PCR, doubly-labeled water (DLW) method, open-flow respirometry, stable isotope micro-distillation, Radio-telemetry of snakes, photography; managing people, handling birds, arachnids and reptiles, science communication. Also, fruit juice.
Languages: British and American English, Tamil, Spanish some Malayalam and Hindi; And the skill and interest to learn new skills and languages quickly.
updated: Sept 2018
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To me exploration isn't about conquering natural obstacles, planting flags... It's not about going where no one's gone before in order to leave your mark, but about the opposite of that - about making yourself vulnerable, opening yourself up to whatever's there and letting the place leave its mark on you - Benedict Allen