Many have pondered over how the innumerable numbers of species, plants and animals alike, have come to be. Why are species around the world distributed in a particular manner? How does this contribute to large-scale diversity patterns? What kinds of relations exist within and between species? Why do two species, thought to be natural enemies, work together cooperatively? These are some of the questions that Dr. Shanker and his research team are examining. Delving into the field of evolutionary biogeography, the lab has been examining how the present distribution of organisms was shaped over evolutionary time; and how ancestral species have evolved and radiated to form the different species we see today, called 'diversification'. One of the strengths of the lab is that they combine a range of field and lab-based techniques (such as computer modeling and genetic studies) to arrive at a conclusion. The lab works across a variety of taxonomic groups, from plants to vertebrates and invertebrates. They have also studied marine intertidal invertebrates, such as inter-tidal fauna, and coral reefs. Dr. Shanker has also been involved in projects on marine turtles for over 25 years. For his post-doctoral research, he studied the historical processes that maybe responsible for the current geographic distributions of olive ridley turtles on the east coast of India -- a field of research called 'phylogeography'.