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Department of

Photo of Sutirth  Dey

Sutirth Dey



Population dynamics, life-history evolution, simulations, Drosophila melanogaster



Sutirth Dey obtained his PhD from JNCASR, Bengaluru in 2007, and joined IISER Pune the same year as an Assistant Professor. Currently, he is a Professor at IISER Pune.


Investigating the ecology and evolution of populations and communities

Currently, there are four broad themes of work in Prof. Sutirth Dey's group:

Ecology and evolution of dispersal
Dispersal is a complex, multi-stage, polygenic process that can have complex interactions with environment. Therefore, disentangling the various causes and consequences of dispersal evolution, requires a long-term research program consisting of a series of careful experiments performed under highly controlled environments. Since 2014, such a program has been established in Prod. Dey's lab.

Effects of fluctuating environments and population size on microbial evolution
There is considerable understanding about how laboratory populations respond to predictable (constant or deteriorating environment) selection for single environmental variables such as temperature or pH. However, such insights may not apply when selection environments comprise multiple variables that fluctuate unpredictably, as is common in nature. Moreover, it is now clear that the evolutionary outcomes of exposure to complex, fluctuating environments depends critically on the population size. The group has investigated these issues through a number of experimental evolution studies on laboratory populations of E. coli.

Controlling unstable dynamics
Although a large number of methods have been proposed to control the non-linear dynamics of unstable populations, very few have been verified using biological populations. The group has proposed a new method of control called Adaptive Limiter Control, and have numerically as well as empirically shown that it can stabilize spatially-structured as well as spatially-unstructured populations. They have also investigated the effects of multiple methods of controlling the dynamics of biological populations using laboratory populations of Drosophila melanogaster.

Extended Evolutionary Synthesis
In association with Foundations of Genetics and Evolution Group (FOGEG), Prof. Dey's group is also interested in various aspects of the ongoing Extended Evolutionary Synthesis.

Selected Publications

Chavhan, Y., Malusare, S. and Dey, S., (2020). Interplay of population size and environmental fluctuations: A new explanation for fitness cost rarity in asexuals. Ecology Letters. 24, 1943-1954. DOI: 10.1111/ele.13831.

Mishra, A., Tung, S., Shreenidhi, P. M., Sadiq, M. A., Sruti, V. S., Chakraborty, P. P., and Dey, S. (2018). Sex differences in dispersal syndromes are modulated by environment and evolution. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 373, 20170428. DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2017.0428

Chavhan, Y. D., Ali, S. I., and Dey, S. (2019). Larger numbers can impede adaptation in asexual populations despite entailing greater genetic variation. Evolutionary Biology 46, 1-13. DOI: 10.1007/s11692-018-9467-6

Tung, S., Mishra, A., Gogna, N., Sadiq, M. A., Shreenidhi, P. M., Sruti, V. S., Dorai, K., Dey, S. (2018). Evolution of dispersal syndrome and its corresponding metabolomic changes. Evolution 72, 1890-1903. DOI: 10.1111/evo.13560

Dey, S. and Joshi, A., (2018). Two Decades of Drosophila Population Dynamics: Modeling, Experiments, and Implications. Handbook of Statistics 39, 275-312. DOI: 10.1016/bs.host.2018.06.006

Gupta, M., Prasad, N. G., Dey, S., Joshi, A., & Vidya, T. N. C. (2017). Niche construction in evolutionary theory: the construction of an academic niche? Journal of Genetics 96, 491-504.doi:10.1007/s12041-017-0787-6

Karve, S.M., Daniel, S., Chavhan, Y.C., Anand, A., Kharola, S.K., and Dey, S. (2015). Escherichia coli populations in unpredictably fluctuating environments evolve to face novel stresses through enhanced efflux activity. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 28, 1131-1143. DOI: 10.1111/jeb.12640