Vijay Ramesh

Postdoctoral Fellow


Bioacoustics • Community science • Historical ecology

My research is focused on understanding how the environment shapes the ecology and behavior of tropical montane birds.

Specifically, I study the role of climate and habitat in structuring bird communities of the Western Ghats biodiversity hotspot. My research uses an interdisciplinary approach that borrows from bioacoustics, community science, and historical ecology. Previously, my work incorporating acoustic data showed how bird species have responded to ecological restoration. Additionally, I have worked with eBird data and historical datasets of species occurrence to identify how birds have responded to a century of global change.

A common thread in my experience working with birds has been the terrain that I have studied them in: mountains. As a Cornell Lab Rose Postdoctoral Fellow (and a Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Tirupati), I am exploring how the environment—specifically, climate and vegetation structure—drives bird community assembly and acoustic structure along an elevational gradient in the Western Ghats biodiversity hotspot.

At Cornell, I will continue to form networks among both faculty and students, and through mentoring, I will aim to emphasize the importance of working towards making ecology and conservation science more cross-disciplinary than it is today. I will be actively involved with the Nilgiri Field Learning Center, a partnership between Cornell University and Keystone Foundation (a non-profit organization in the Nilgiri hills of the Western Ghats) to promote cultural exchange and learning. Additionally, I will continue communicating the research I carry out to a wide audience who are far removed from it. I have previously written for The Wire (an Indian publication), Mongabay India and Sanctuary Asia.


Ph.D., Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology, Columbia University
M.A., Conservation Biology, Columbia University
B.Tech., Biotechnology, RV College of Engineering

Recent Publications

Sethi, S. S., A. Bick, R. M. Ewers, H. Klinck, V. Ramesh, M.-N. Tuanmu, and D. A. Coomes (2023). Limits to the accurate and generalizable use of soundscapes to monitor biodiversity. Nature Ecology & Evolution:1–6.
Ramesh, V., P. Hariharan, V. A. Akshay, P. Choksi, S. Khanwilkar, R. DeFries, and V. V. Robin (2023). Using passive acoustic monitoring to examine the impacts of ecological restoration on faunal biodiversity in the Western Ghats. Biological Conservation 282:110071.
Ramesh, V., T. Gopalakrishna, S. Barve, and D. J. Melnick (2017). Finer spatial resolution improves accuracy of species distribution models in heterogeneous landscapes--a response to Praveen J. Biological Conservation 213:247–248.
Ramesh, V., T. Gopalakrishna, S. Barve, and D. J. Melnick (2017). IUCN greatly underestimates threat levels of endemic birds in the Western Ghats. Biological Conservation 210:205–221.
A man stands in a forest with recording equipement.
Center K. Lisa Yang Center for Conservation Bioacoustics

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Golden-cheeked Warbler by Bryan Calk/Macaulay Library