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Main areas of research: Biodiversity, evolution of insects, social behaviour of wasps
Raghavendra Gadagkar is an Indian zoologist who researches biodiversity and the evolution of insects. His work involving the origin and evolution of social behaviour in wasps is ground-breaking.
Raghavendra Gadagkar is considered one of the most important researchers in the field of biodiversity. He is thereby not concerned with just taking stock of the existing species on the planet, but rather in what way the enormous diversity of species and their corresponding behaviours and survival strategies might develop on the earth. Gadagkar was able to produce groundbreaking insights into the social behaviour of insects, particularly with regard to wasps. He investigated under what conditions altruistic behaviour by the insects was beneficial and at what times it was better for them to meet life´s challenges on their own. His findings led to the development of his “assured fitness return” theory, which states that social behaviour under special conditions - such as, for example, under the strain caused by raiders – can lead to increased reproduction successes.
In addition, he is actively engaged in the exchange of scientific knowledge – both internationally and interdisciplinarily. He was the President of the Indian National Science Academy and founder of the Centre for Contemporary Studies, the goal of which is the creation of a platform for forging meaningful interaction between the natural sciences and the human sciences. In 2015 he received The Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany for his commitment to this project.
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