Congratulations to Purabi Deshpande for a successful defense of her PhD Thesis!

Purabi Deshpande defended her PhD thesis on June 19th, 2023.

Purabi successfully defended against opponent Prof. Jason Tylianakis from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. Her thesis, Alien Species, Warming Climates, Growing Cities, and the Birds that live with them, adds insight into changes on avian species distributions and alien species interactions in the light of climate change.

The importance of snow

In her dissertation Purabi demonstrated that a reduction in snow depth has led to an increase of overwinter bird abundance in Finland. Importantly, this response is variable between habitat types. These results highlight that snow cover shapes winter bird communities as much or more than temperature alone.

Native non-native interactions

Purabi's thesis involved and immense amount of field work conducted both in Helsinki, Finland and in Bengaluru, India. This work revealed that native bird prefer native fruits, despite a high abundance of alien species. Despite this, there is equal dispersal between native and alien seeds. In Bengaluru alien trees in fact provide in important food resource for fauna, but are unlikely to spread out of the city from bird pollination.


Throughout her time as part of the ESB group Purabi has been an important part of the group cohesion and social activities and her homemade pub-quizzes will be missed. She is looking to continue to expand her research in urban ecology and behavior across Europe, focusing on the evolutionary effects urban and non-urban pressures on avian species.