Ajay Narendra

Group membership

My stint with ants began as a keen naturalist in Western Ghats, India. I did a BSc (2000) in Environmental Sciences with Honours in Entomology at Bangalore University, Bangalore and an MSc (2002) in Remote Sensing & Cartography at Madurai Kamaraj University, Madurai. As part of a Cumulative Impact Assessment team at the Indian Institute of Science Bangalore, I investigated ant distribution patterns in Western Ghats. In 2007, I was awarded a PhD from Macquarie University Sydney, for my work on ant navigation in deserts of Central Australia and North Africa. 

Since then I have held the following postdoctoral positions at the ANU: 

  • 2006-2008: ARC Centre of Excellence in Vision Science Postdoctoral Fellow
  • 2009-2011: ARC Australian Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • 2012-2014: ARC Discovery Early Career Resarcher Award.
  • Read more on my personal website, Ant visions
  • Ant gallery.

Research interests

I am interested in how animals find their way to their places of interest in different ecological and temporal niches. My research interests spans across fields of behavioural ecology, neuroethology, sensory ecology, cognition and community ecology - with a strong focus in myrmecology.

Recent grants

  • 2013-2014. Two year research grant from GO8-Australia-Germany Joint Research Co-operation Scheme: Ajay Narendra, Jochen Zeil, Wolfgang Rössler: "Navigation and experience-dependent brain organization in ants"
  • 2012-2014. Three year Discovery Early Career Researcher Award by the Australian Research Council: Ajay Narendra: "Miniaturisation: sensory limitations and navigational competence".
  • 2010-2013. Three year research grant from Hermon Slade Foundation: Ajay Narendra & Jochen Zeil: "The knowledge base of navigation and the foraging cost of being day-active in Australian Jack Jumper ants".
  • 2009-2011: Three-year Australian Postdoctoral Fellowship grant by the Australian Research Council [APD]: Ajay Narendra: "Moving between day and night: navigational strategies and the foraging costs of temporal niche partitioning".

Selected publications

  • 2014. Zeil J, Narendra A & Stürzl W. Looking and homing: how displaced ants decide where to go. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 369: 20130034.
  • 2013. Narendra A, Gourmaud S & Zeil J. 2013. Mapping the navigational knowledge of individually foraging ants, Myrmecia croslandi. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 280: 20130683.
  • 2013. Narendra A, Raderschall CA & Robson SKA. Homing abilities of the Australian intertidal ant, Polyrhachis sokolova. Journal of Experimental Biology 216: 3674-3681.
  • 2013. Narendra A, Reid SF & Raderschall CA. Navigational efficiency of nocturnal Myrmecia ants suffers at low light levels. PLoS One 8(3): e58801.
  • 2011. Narendra A, Reid SF, Greiner B, Peters RA, Hemmi JM, Ribi WA & Zeil J. Caste-specific visual adaptations to distinct daily activity schedules in Australian Myrmecia ants. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 278: 1141-1149.
  • 2010. Narendra A, Reid SF & Hemmi JM. The twilight zone: ambient light levels trigger activity in primitive ants. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 277: 1531-538.

All publications

  • Lectures and practicals for Sensory Physiology and Animal Behaviour (ANU - BIOL3103), since 2007
  • Lectures on Animal Navigation (in Brain, Behaviour and Evolution (BBE01), Macquarie University), 2009
  • Lectures & practicals for IBRO-ANS Advanced Neuroscience School on Neuroethology, Australia, 2009
  • Lectures & practicals for ACEVS-CVS Summer School on Animal Navigation, 2006-2009.

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