My research interests expand to quite a wide range – Ecology, Physiology, Immunology, Conservation and Wildlife Management to name a few. I’m particularly interested to see how climate change may affect biological systems and their adaptations to overcome challenges brought about by it. My research work has thus far mainly been on bats (megachiropterans), however I am open to (and interested in) many other animal taxa as well.
I am currently a PhD student in the Climatic and Metabolic Energy Lab (CAMEL) based in the Department of Zoology at the University of Melbourne. I hope to study how climate affects the heat budgets of the Australian flying-foxes (Pteropus spp.) and the roles of their behaviour, physiology and morphology towards this, under the supervision of A/Prof Michael Kearney, Dr Justin Welbergen, Dr Christopher Turbill and A/Prof Rodney van der Ree. With heatwaves becoming hotter and longer each year, it’s no surprise that these bats who hang exposed to sunlight on trees become heat stressed and die in large numbers (thousands!) in the Summer. I mainly hope to create a mechanistic model, using the first principles of thermodynamics, to predict when the bats will start to get heat stressed. This will also be validated using laboratory experiments and field observations.
I completed my undergraduate degree at the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka. In my final year I carried out a research project under the theme of ‘Eco-immunology’, where I studied the impact of parasite load on selected parameters of health status, using the Fulvous fruit bat (Rousettus leschenaulti) as a model species, under the supervision of Prof Preethi Udagama, Prof Devaka Weerakoon and Prof Wipula Yapa.
Besides good scientific research I love trying out new places to eat (lucky to be in Melbourne!) and most genres of theatre, film and music – but especially acapella!