... towards excellence in science

An Autonomous Institution, Under the Ministry of Education, Government of India

Robert John Chandran

Associate Professor
Dept: Biological Sciences (DBS)
E-mail: robert.john [at]
Personal homepage: Click Here

Research Interest:

My long term goal is to contribute to understanding the causes and consequences of life history variation among plant species for species diversity and structure of plant communities and for ecosystem processes. I work in a wide range of ecosystems - from cold and dry sub-alpine meadows to sub-tropical riverine grasslands to warm and wet tropical rainforests. I use basic data on plant species richness, distributions, and abundance, but also quantitative measures of species traits including demographic traits, ecophysiological traits and other plant functional traits to evaluate the importance of deterministic (niche) and stochastic (random dispersal and drift) processes in structuring plant communities. I work independently and also in collaboration with scientists across the world in obtaining data using a range of study designs - from small quadrat samples to large permanent vegetation plots from both short-term and long-term studies. I believe that such quantitative measures of plant life histories is critical for scientific management and for understanding the response of ecosystems to global environmental change. My emerging interest areas include assessing landscape and regional responses of vegetation to climate change using data from remote sensing and ground measurements, phylogenetic approaches to understanding species distributions, and protected area management for both the vegetation and wildlife populations.

Academic Background:

  1. PhD (Tropical Forest Ecology), Centre for Ecological Sciences (Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore), 2001
  2. M.Tech. (Chemical Spectroscopy), Department of Chemistry (Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi), 1993
  3. M.Sc. (Chemistry), Department of Chemistry (Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi), 1989


  1. Associate Professor, IISER Kolkata (current)
  2. Fellow, Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and and the Environment (ATREE), Bangalore (2006 - 2010)
  3. Post-Doctoral Associate, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, USA (2004 - 2006)
  4. Post-Doctoral Associate, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), USA (2003 - 2003)
  5. Post-Doctoral Associate, University of Georgia, Athens, USA (2002 - 2002)

Selected Publications:

  1. Krishnaswamy, Jagdish; John, Robert and Joseph, Shijo. 2014."Consistent response of vegetation dynamics to recent climate change in tropical mountain regions." Global Change Biology, 20, 203-215
  2. Baldeck, Claire A; Harms, Kyle E; Yavitt, Joseph B; John, Robert; Turner, Benjamin L; Valencia, Renato; Navarette, Hugo; Davies, Stuart J; Chuyong, George B; Kenfack, David; Thomas, Duncan W; Madawala, Sumedha; Gunatilleke, Nimal; Gunatilleke, Savitri; Bunyavejchewin, Sarayudh; Kiratiprayoon, Somboon; Yaacob, Adzmi; Nur Supardi, Mohd. N and Dalling, James W. 2013."Soil resources and topography shape local tree community structure in tropical forests.." Proceeding of the Royal Society, London Series B, 280, 1753
  3. Zhang, Hui; John, Robert; Peng, Zechen; Yuan, Jianli; Chu, Chengjin; Du, Guozen and Zhou, Shurong. 2012."The Relationship between Species Richness and Evenness in Plant Communities along a Successional Gradient: A Study from Sub-Alpine Meadows of the Eastern Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, China." PLos One, 7, e49024
  4. Dalling, James W and Schnitzer, Stephan A. 2012."Resource-based habitat associations in a neotropical liana community." Journal of Ecology, 100, 1174-1182

All Publications: Click Here