Prior to my joining Presidency in 2012, I have been associated with Rhodes University, South Africa (2010 to 2012); Tropical Forest Research Institute, India (2008 to 2010); Directorate of Weed Research, India (2005-2008) and Rani Durgawati University, India (2002 to 2008).
The thrust area of my research:
- multitrophic interactions associated with invasive plant species management
- biochemical and molecular mechanisms involved in insect-plant-pathogen interactions
- mycoherbicide formulation
- microbial metabolites as an ecofriendly industrial consortium
- butterfly ecology and behaviour under global environmental changes
- impact of climate changes on ecological interactions
Students or researchers with an interest in microbiology, biotechnology, ecology, wildlife, etc, are very much welcome to work with us. I am especially looking for Ph.D. aspirants with CSIR/ UGC NET. Feel free to email me (email@example.com) your research interest and CV.
To know more about me and my research, please visit:
Our lab website: https://sites.google.com/view/dr-puja-rays-research-group/home
PhD. BioSciences (R.D. University, Jabalpur, India, 2008)
M.Sc. Zoology (Spl. Entomology) (Govt. Auto. Science College, Jabalpur, India, 2000)
B.Sc. Biology (M.H. College of Home Science and Science for Women Jabalpur, India, 1998)
With immense interest in studying biology back in those days, I did my Masters's degree in Zoology with a specialization in Entomology. I obtained my Ph.D. from RD University, Jabalpur, India, wherein I worked on integrated management of aquatic weed, water hyacinth using insects and plant pathogens. I was employed at National Research Centre for Weed Science (now Directorate of Weed Research), Jabalpur, India, for three years as a Senior Research Fellow (SRF). Here a major part of my work consisted of activity enhancement of Zygogramma bicolorata, an insect biocontrol agent of noxious weed parthenium. Next, I worked as an SRF at Tropical Forest Research Institute, Jabalpur, where my work was mostly on the taxonomy of braconid parasitoids from central India and their possible role in insect pest management. Further after being awarded the Rhodes postdoctoral fellowship, from Rhodes University, South Africa, I studied the interactions between the insect and fungal biocontrol agents of water hyacinth. I joined Presidency University, Kolkata in November 2012 as Assistant Professor, Zoology, and look forward to fruitful years of teaching and research.
Research / Administrative Experience+
To know more about our research please visit: https://sites.google.com/view/dr-puja-rays-research-group/home
I am basically a researcher with a diverse research interest revolving largely around but not limited to the following areas:
I. Ecology and the management of invasive plant species:
We look into eco-friendly and sustainable weed biocontrol aspects including (i) determining host ranges and assessing potential non-target effects, (iii) quantifying the impact of insect herbivory or disease on the target weeds (iv) insect ecology, behaviour and taxonomy (v) bioherbicide (from microbial metabolites) formulation and application (vi) non-target toxicity impact of chemical pesticides on the environment and (vii) implementing biological control under field conditions. We are very much interested in studying the activity enhancement of biocontrol agents of weeds using selective breeding and genetic improvement of the strains. Our studies also include the impact evaluation of alien invasive plants on biodiversity, native insect and plant communities. Another area that fascinates us is the multitrophic interactions in biological control systems, especially the effects of interactions among host plants, herbivores, and microbes on plant community composition.
Our current projects involve aquatic invasives. We are working on the interaction and integration of insect and fungal biocontrol agents of water hyacinth, described as the world’s worst aquatic weed. We are also looking into developing fungal metabolites as eco-friendly biopesticides for wide use.
II. Wildlife and butterfly ecology and their biochemical interactions at multitrophic levels.
Human-mediated global changes are drastically impacting the biological systems and are a major concern for the well-being and survival of many species. More than research interest, this comes from the guilt of seeing the impact of human activities on the environment. Working in this area we wish to accelerate awareness, enhance the interest of students to do research in the field of wildlife and conservation ecology. Short term internships are especially welcome if you wish to work with us in greenhouse/ lab and help study butterfly ecology and behaviour under the impact of urbanization or work in the field looking into human-wildlife conflict, invasive- native species interactions, etc., basically if you are interested in studying species ecology and interactions. Will love to hear from you and if you would like to team with us to do our small bit in saving our biodiversity, basically safeguarding our own wellbeing in the process.
1. Project Investigator in DST funded project (under SERB- OYS Scheme) entitled, “Studies on enhancing biological control mechanism of aquatic weed, water hyacinth through integration of insects and fungal agents”[Project vide Dairy No. : No.SERB/F/5316/2013-14 dated 18.11.2013]
2. Project Investigator in WB-DBT funded project entitled, “Evaluation of phytopathogens associated with some major aquatic weeds with emphasis on their toxin production" (Project No. : BT(Estt) / RD 36 /2015
3. Project Investigator in UGC funded project entitled, "Survey for collection and identification of phytopathogenic fungi associated with noxious weed, water hyacinth, Eichhornia crassipes"
1. Superintendent, Presidency University Girls' Hostel, Salt Lake City, Kolkata (2013- 2020).
Teaching / Other Experience+
My teaching interest largely revolves around my research. I love taking my laboratory and field research into my classroom teaching with an aim to implant in my students from being information consumers to creators of knowledge. My teaching interests lie particularly in graduate and post-graduate level biology. My research background has given me experience in agricultural entomology, plant pathology, weed and insect pest management and related ecology. I have been interested in teaching research methods in environmental studies; insect biology and ecology; integrated pest management; tropical ecology; etc. Within more specialized topics of biological sciences, I am interested in eventually developing courses focused on climatic changes and ecosystem. I want the students to develop interest and awareness on (i) the impact of environmental changes (e.g. urbanization and climate change) on indigenous biodiversity, population dynamics, diseases, invasive weeds and insect pests, human, etc; (ii) multi-trophic interactions and cascading effects; (iii) organisms as biological indicators.
Post Graduate Supervision+
We at Multitrophic Interaction and Biocontrol Research Laboratory are looking for potential collaborators and students with multidisciplinary research interests in various fields to bridge different disciplines to be merged with our field of studies for innovative interdisciplinary research. Please feel to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) with new ideas and proposals.
Present and past members of Multitrophic Interaction and Biocontrol research group
- Writuparna Dutta, Ph.D. Scholar - Thesis submitted
- Samapika Nandy, Ph.D. Scholar
- Ria Ghosh, Research Assistant
- Arnab Saha, M.Sc. Dissertation Student
- Sarbari Dasgupta, M.Sc. Dissertation Students
Past research scholars:
- Swagata Ghosh, Research Assistant, 2015-16
- Deblina Misra, Junior Research Fellow, 2016-17
- Debattam Mazumdar, Research Assistant, 2017-21
Past M.Sc. Dissertation students:
- Deepa Mal, MSc Dissertation (Jan-May 2015): Studies on disease causing potential of some phytopathogens associated with aquatic weed, water hyacinth. (Status: Completed).
- Parbani Chaudhury, MSc Dissertation (Jan-May 2016): Invasive aquatic weeds: Understanding the role of interspecific competition in association with climatic and biochemical attributes as the primary step towards their eradication. (Status: Completed).
- Supratick Seal, MSc Dissertation (Jan-May 2016): Effects of urbanization mediated habitat changes on butterfly diversity of different zones of Kolkata. (Status: Completed).
- Madhurima Sarkar, MSc Dissertation (Jan-May 2017): Studies on metabolites of Fusarium oxysporum (Schlecht.)Snyd.et. Hans. and Fusarium verticillioides (Sacc.) Nirenberg as bioherbicide (Status: Completed).
- Paromita Chowdhury, MSc Dissertation (Jan-May 2017): Studies on some phyto-pathogenic fungus associated with the aquatic weed, water hyacinth (Status: Completed).
- Esha Roy, MSc Dissertation (Jan-May 2018): Impact of invasive species on pollination behaviour of butterflies. (Status: Completed).
- Chayan Biswas, MSc Dissertation (Jan-May 2018): Territorial and courtship behaviour of Indian common crow butterfly (Euploea core core). (Status: Completed).
- Shreyashi Das, MSc Dissertation (July 2018-July 2019): Studies on ecological and biological control of aquatic weeds with emphasis on waterhyacinth and alligator weed. (Status: Completed)
- Neha Chowdhary, MSc Dissertation (July 2019-July 2020): Studies on herbivores insects: butterflies and aphids to understand their life cycle, behaviour and ecological role. (Status: Completed)
- Suman Haldar, MSc Dissertation (July 2019-July 2020): Studies on biodiversity of butterflies of Kolkata and larval growth, food consumption and utilization of Lime butterfly. (Status: Completed)
- Sohini Sarkar, MSc Dissertation (July 2020-June 2021). Fungal endophytes in biological control of weeds. (Status: Completed)
- Ananya Basak, MSc Dissertation (July 2020-June 2021). Fungal metabolites in biological control of weeds. (Status: Completed)
- Sanchayita Biswas, M.Sc. Dissertation (July 2020-June 2021). Wildlife ecology and urbanization impact. (Status: Completed)
Past Student Research Interns:
- Shayan Sarkar (UG, DLS)
- Kumaresh Mandal (UG, DLS)
- Dipanjan Routh (UG, DLS)
- Pintoo Santra (UG, DLS)
- Shreyasi Neogi (UG, DLS)
- Jashaswi Basu (UG, DLS)
- Oishika Chatterjee (UG, DLS)
- Oishika Gangopadhyay (UG, DLS)
- Sandeepa Chowdhury (Online internship, 2020-21)
To know more about our research please follow the link- https://sites.google.com/view/dr-puja-rays-research-group/home
• Indian Society for Weed Science, India
• Society for Basic and Applied Mycology, India.
• Weed Science Society of America, USA.
• Society for Biocontrol Advancement, India.
• Entomological Society of America, USA.
• International Society for Pests Information, Germany
• Indian Science Congress Association, India
Total number of publications: 45 manuscripts, under review: 2, Conferences & Proceedings: 50+
Anwesha Chakraborty and Puja Ray (2021) Mycoherbicides for the noxious meddlesome: Can Colletotrichum be a budding candidate? Frontiers in Microbiology, doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2021.754048
Sohini Sarkar, Abhijit Dey, Vinay Kumar, Gaber El-Saber Batiha, Mohamed A. El-Esawi, Michal Tomczyk and Puja Ray (2021) Fungal endophyte: An interactive endosymbiont with the capability of modulating host physiology in myriad ways. Frontiers in Plant Science, doi: 10.3389/fpls.2021.701800
Writuparna Dutta, Papia BasuThakur and Puja Ray (2021) Gardening the menace! Environment and Sustainability Indicators. 12, 100148. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.indic.2021.100148
Puja Ray (2021). Birds of different feather. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 19(6): https://doi.org/10.1002/fee.2386
Sushil Kumar, Malay K. Bhowmick and Puja Ray (2021). Weeds as alternate and alternative hosts of crop pests. Indian Journal of Weed Science 53(1): 14-29. http://dx.doi.org/10.5958/0974-8164.2021.00002.2
Writuparna Dutta and Puja Ray (2017). A glimpse into the compatibilities and conflicts between arthropods and fungal biological control agents of aquatic weed waterhyacinth. Phytoparasitica. 45 (3): 429-437.
Puja Ray and Martin P. Hill (2016). More is not necessarily better: The interaction between insect population density and culture age of fungus on the control of invasive weed water hyacinth. Hydrobiologia. 766: 189-200..
Puja Ray and Sushilkumar (2015) Population dynamics and sex ratio of the two waterhyacinth weevils, Neochetina bruchi and N. eichhorniae in central India. Indian Journal of Weed Science 47(2): 188–192.
Writuparna Dutta, Durga Ray and Puja Ray (2015) Molecular characterization and host range studies of indigenous fungus as prospective mycoherbicidal agent of waterhyacinth, Eichhornia crassipes. Indian Journal of Weed Science 47(1): 59–65.
Ray, P. and Hill, M.P. (2013) Microbial agents for control of aquatic weeds and their role in integrated management. CAB Reviews. 8 (14) 1-9.
Ray, P. and Hill, M.P. (2012) Impact of feeding by Neochetina weevils on pathogenicity of fungi associated with waterhyacinth in South Africa. Journal of Aquatic Plant Management. 50 79-84.
Ray, P. and Hill, M.P. (2012) Fungi associated with Eichhornia crassipes Mart. Solms-Laubach (Pontederiaceae) in South Africa and studies on their pathogenicity. African Journal of Aquatic Science, 37(3) 323–331
Sushilkumar and Ray, P. (2011). Evaluation of augmentative release of Zygogramma bicolorata Pallister (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) for biological control of Parthenium hysterophorus L. Crop Protection, 30 587-591.
Sushilkumar and Ray, P. (2010). Activity enhancement of Zygogramma bicolorata, a biocontrol agent of Parthenium hysterophorus, by temperature regulated diapause aversion. Biocontrol Science and Technology, 20(9) 903-908.
Ray, P. and Yousuf, M. (2009). Record of two new species of Apanteles Foerster from Central India. Journal of Bombay Natural History Society, 106(3) 335-338.
Ray, P, Sushilkumar and Pandey A.K. (2009). Influence of photoperiod on growth and mycoherbicidal potential of Alternaria alternata, a biocontrol agent of waterhyacinth. Journal of Mycology and Plant Pathology, 39(3) 458-461.
Ray, P., Sushilkumar and Pandey A.K. (2009). Impact evaluation of Neochetina spp. on different growth stages of waterhyacinth. Journal of Plant Protection Research, 49(1) 7-13.
Ray, P., Sushilkumar and Pandey A.K. (2008). Deleterious effect of herbicides on waterhyacinth biocontrol agents Neochetina bruchi and Alternaria alternata. Biocontrol Science and Technology, 18(5) 523-533.
Ray, P., Sushilkumar and Pandey A.K. (2008). Efficacy of pathogens of waterhyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes), singly and in combinations for its biological control. Journal of Biological Control, 22(1) 173-177.
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