Dr. Sampath Seneviratne

Senior Lecturer in Zoology

Department of Zoology & Environment Sciences, 

Faculty of Science, University of Colombo,

P.O. Box 1490, Kumarathunga Munidasa Mw., Colombo 03

Phone: +94-710-821177; Fax: +94-112-583148

e-mail: sam@sci.cmb.ac.lk

Home: Rivendel, No 60 Nawetiya Road, Panadura

Webpage: http://evolution.cmb.ac.lk 

ResearchGate Profile: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Sampath_Seneviratne                                                                           

Staff page: http://www.cmb.ac.lk/academic/Science/departments/zoology/staff/academic-staff/dr-s-s-seneviratne


­­­­GENERAL INTRODUCTION

Consultant Biologist – Evolution | Conservation Genetics | Ornithology

PI: Avian Evolution Node| Laboratory for Molecular Ecology & Evolution

President – Sri Lanka Ecological Association

Vice-President – Field Ornithology Group of Sri Lanka

Country Representative – Association of Tropical Biology and Conservation

Section Editor – Avian Conservation and Ecology (https://www.ace-eco.org/)

Section Editor – Taprobanica: The Journal of Asian Biodiversity (https://tapro.sljol.info/)

Former Director of the International Unit (IUUC) of the University of Colombo 2015 – 2017


I completed my BSc. Honours degree in Zoology with a First Class and two gold medals in 2002 and went onto Canada for my Postgraduate studies. I studied evolution in arctic birds and received my PhD with a Distinction from the Memorial University, St. John’s, Canada in 2008. Followed by my doctoral studies I completed two postdoctoral fellowships on evolution and genomics at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada and Birds Canada at the Canada’s Ministry of Environment. In 2012 I joined the Department of Zoology & Environment Sciences at the University of Colombo as a Senior Lecturer Grade II.

I am currently a research Scientist specialized in Molecular Ecology, Evolutionary Genetics and Ornithology. My research approach uses both field- and laboratory-based research grounded in a strong conceptual framework ranging from basic ecology, phylogenetics, to next-generation genomics to address processes underlying biological evolution, island biogeography and causes of endemicity. I have postgraduate, undergraduate and foreign research students from both University of Colombo and elsewhere at the lab. Besides the laboratory that I conceptualized and developed for the Zoology Department to study molecular ecology and evolution, I have three field research stations across Sri Lanka; in Belihul-oya (Issengard Biosphere Centre),  western Sinharaja (LMEE Field House) and in Mannar (Sandpiper House) dedicated to the studies of ecology & evolution.


EDUCATION


Ph.D. (Evolutionary Ecology)

Memorial University, St. John’s, NL, Canada – (2004 – 2008)

Passed with a Distinction

Dissertation: On the evolutionary and ecological significance of ornamental traits: The function and variability of the acoustic and visual displays in Aethiini


B.Sc. (Zoology major)

Stream of specialization: Immunology and Parasitology

University of Colombo, Colombo, Sri Lanka – (1998 – 2002)

Passed with a First-Class Honors

Honors dissertation: Specificity of ecto-parasites of cave-dwelling chiroptera in selected cave roosts of Sri Lanka


Primary and secondary education (Grade 1 to 13)

Richmond College Galle


POSTDOCTORAL POSITIONS


Postdoctoral Fellow – Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Industrial R&D Fellowship (NSERC – IRDF) – (2011 – 2012)

Bird Studies Canada, Pacific Wildlife Research Centre, 5421 Robertson Road, Delta, British Columbia, V4K 3N2, Canada


Assistant Curator (Tetrapods) – (2010)

Beaty Biodiversity Museum, UBC, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada


Postdoctoral Research Fellow – (2009 – 2010)

Biodiversity Research Centre, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada


TEACHING AND INTRODUCTION OF NEW COURSES


  • Since July 2012, I have been working as a Senior Lecturer Grade II at the Department of Zoology and Environment Sciences. Upon my arrival I was involved with designing and implementing a new special degree course named: Immunology and Integrative Molecular Biology (IIMB), which was implemented in 2015.
  • I introduced 5 new courses to the IIMB special degree stream:
    • ZL3082 Foundations of Molecular Ecology
    • ZL3087 Conservation Genetics
    • ZL3088 Applications & Management of Genetic Resources
    • ZL4081 Phylogeography and Evolution (jointly with Dr. C. D. Dangalla)
    • ZL4083 Bioinformatics and Functional Genomics (jointly with Dr. C. D. Dangalla)
  • Due to my training and capacity to teach higher-level undergraduate classes ranging from cellular to ecosystem level, my workload was higher than average. I teach theory classes, laboratory classes on genetics and field classes on wildlife management. Below are some of the courses that I taught over the past eight years:
    • ZL2010 – Animal Form and Function
    • ZL2011 – Biosystematics
    • ZL3082 – Foundations of Molecular Ecology
    • ZL3087 – Conservation Genetics
    • ZL3088 – Applications and Management of Genetic Resources
    • ZL3073 – Animal Kingdom II
    • ZL4063 – Ornithology
    • ZL4065 – Wildlife Management
    • ZL4081 – Phylogeography and Evolution
    • ZL4083 – Bioinformatics and Functional Genomics
  • At postgraduate level I teach in the Wildlife Diploma Course conducted by the Department of Zoology for the officers of the Department of Wildlife Conservation, and the MSc. in Environment Management and Conservation (MEN5102).
  • At the Department of Zoology, University of British Columbia I worked as a Sessional Lecturer for a semester. I taught Biology 404: Ecological Methodology (2010).
  • I followed a one-year intensive course on university level teaching: Teaching Opportunity for Graduate Assistants (TOGA) (2006-2007). TOGA is an award-winning career development programme aimed at enhancing knowledge and skills for teaching at university level.
  • At the Department of Biology, Memorial University, St. John’s, Canada I worked as a part-time Graduate Teaching Assistant from 2004 – 2008. Courses taught: Ornithology, Entomology, Insect Systematics and General Biology.
  • After my graduation at the University of Colombo I worked as a Temporary Assistant Lecturer in Zoology at the Department of Zoology, University of Colombo (2002 – 2004)

OTHER SERVICES OFFERED TO THE UNIVERSITY


I have been a student Counselor for the Faculty of Science, University of Colombo for the past five years. I also acted as a member of several Disciplinary Inquiry Committees appointed by the Vice Chancellor and the Council of the University of Colombo.


RESEARCH EXPERIENCE AND CONTRIBUTION


I am a trained evolutionary biologist with a PhD in Evolutionary Ecology and two postdoctoral fellowships in Evolutionary Genetics and Molecular Ecology. I have diverse research experience ranging from Polar Arctic to Amazonian rainforests to tropical Asia. Based on this foundation I have established a research group called Avian Evolution Node (AviEN) to provide a research platform for Sri Lankan scientists, students and practitioners to link with the evolutionary ecologists across the globe in studies of evolution.

Avian Evolution Node has a laboratory, three research stations (Sandpiper House in Mannar Island LMEE Field House in Athwelthota and Issengard Biosphere Reserve in Belihuloya) and an active website (www.evolution.cmb.ac.lk).  Through research and communication, the students and collaborators of AviEN conduct scientific research, take conservation initiatives, helping government agencies such as Department of Wildlife Conservation and promote the Sri Lankan University system in the wider society.

Laboratory for Molecular Ecology and Evolution (LMEE)

I conceptualized, developed, and equipped a teaching and research laboratory for undergraduate and postgraduate students at the Department of Zoology.

LMEE is a key teaching and research laboratory at the department: 

I have supervised 22, 4th year undergraduate research projects, 4 PhD projects and 2 masters projects in the past eight years. The students were from different countries, departments, and faculties:

Department of Zoology: 17 student projects

Department of Plant Sciences: 03 student projects

University of Colombo School of Computing: 01 project

Department of Geography, Faculty of Arts: 01 student


Below are few significant outcomes from the AViEN network:


  • A discovery of a new species of woodpecker to science – The Red-backed Flameback (Dinopium psarodes). Since it’s a common garden bird, this species is now a key endemic species promoting Avitourism industry of Sri Lanka.
  • A discovery of a European eagle for South Asia – the description of the European Honey-Buzzard (Pernis apivorus) in Sri Lanka. This species has not been previously recorded in South Asia.
  • A discovery of a Russian grassland bird for South Asia – the description of the Eastern Yellow Wagtail (Moticilla tschutsensis) in Sri Lanka.
  • A discovery of an endemic tree snake to science – Wickramasinghe’s Bronze-back (Dendrelaphis wickrorum).
  • A discovery of two bat ectoparasites endemic to Sri Lanka from: Kanneliya Forest Reserve – Chiroptella kanneliya in Schneider’s Leaf-nose Bat.
  • Ridee Viharaya, Kurunagala – Whartonia rathnasooriyai in Rufus Horse-shoe Bats.
  • A discovery of a breeding colony of a rare seabird in the Rama’s Bridge of Sri Lanka – Brown Noddy (Anodis stolidus)
  • Promoting Sri Lanka as a center for biological exchange – I initiated an international programme to establish migratory connectivity in the Central Asian Flyway through a GSM/GPS Satellite tagging programme in the Central Asian Flyway in Sri Lanka in partnership with the Ministry of Defense, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wetlands International and Birdlife International. This study is the first of its kind in South Asia and a technological leap, in the studies of bird migration.
  • Aiding in Magistrate Courts of Sri Lanka as an expert biologist

I serve the Nuwara-Eliya Magistrate Courts as a Subject Expert in the court case B/158/20 to identify a large illegal collection of biological material across Sri Lanka. The case is ongoing.

  • Postdoctoral researcher on the biogeography and speciation of woodpeckers (2009 – to date)

Studying the hybrid zones of woodpeckers in western North America (Sapsuckers Sphyrapicus) and in Asia (Flamebacks Dinopium and Chrisocolaptes) to determine the genomic regions associated with gene flow and to establish hybrid zones as bioindicators of environmental change.

  • Designed and conducted research on the evolutionary ecology of north-Pacific seabirds in Aleutian Islands, Alaska, USA (2004 – 2008)
  • Collaborative sound recordist for the Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, New York, USA (2006-todate)
  • Biologist for seabird monitoring in the Bering Sea, Alaska (2005 – 2006)
  • Contributor to the Annual Asian Waterfowl Census (Asia), Christmas Bird Count and the BC Breeding Bird Atlas (Canada)
  • Field Assistant (four summers from 1999 – 2002) in a project on the social behavior of false-vampire bat (Megaderma lyra) in Sri Lanka conducted by the Institut für Zoologie, Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover, Germany (PI; Dr. Sabine Schmidt).

COMMUNICATIONS


POPULAR MEDIA


  • My research was featured in: Discovery Channel’s DAILY PLANET, Richard Dawkins net, Biodiversity Research Centre – Members in the news, UBC’s public affairs, Memorial University’s public affairs, Scientific Frontline, Evolving with Darwin, Veterinary Science Tomorrow, Scientific blogging, Daily India, Thaindian, Daily Science News, Oneindia, KopalniaWiedzy, Scottnet, and a host of non-English language sites.
  • Public Article in Sunday Aruna Newspaper. Title: Mannaram pitiwellea mudu paladina Kurrullo මන්නාරම් පිටිවැල්ලේ මුදු පලදින කුරුල්ලෝ (on ‘Bird banding operations and NBRP in Mannar Island’). 18 August 2019
  • Public Article in Aruna Sinhala Newspaper: Special Interview.
  • Title: Api nayakayeku soyannea mewan soubhagyak bharadeemataya – අපි නායකයෙකු සොයන්නේ මෙවන් සෞභාග්‍යක් භාරදීමටය (on the Sri Lanka’s Biological Heritage). 16 September 2019
  • Public Article in Sunday Lakbima Newspaper. Title: Ganadewi vahanayatath ugul atawana ratea wasangathayk woo Katharagama deviyange waarhanaya ගණදෙවි වාහනයටත් උගුල් අටවන රටේ වසංගතයක් වූ කතරගම දෙවියන්ගේ වාහනය (on the peafowl and its ecological effects). 5 May 2019
  • The woodpecker is our very own. 2017 – an article in Sunday Times newspaper
  • A cry from the wilds of Mannar. 2016 – Cover story of the Sunday Times Plus
  • Sathunge jaana saha kandukara parisara padathiya’ – a series of singhala language articles at Vidusara newspaper
  • An article on my research finding in sinhala language newspaper – ‘Sithasiyange Parnamaya Anuwarthan Soyayi’ March 2016 Lankadeepa Daily Newspaper.
  • Flaming mysteries. 2014. Sanctuary Asia. December:43-45 (referring to Fernando and Seneviratne 2014 SCCS Bangalore talk.)
  • Caught in the Middle. 2012. American Birding *referring to Seneviratne et al. 2012 J. Avian Biol 43:1-12
  • Seabird evolved head feathers as sensory device. 2010. NewScientist**. http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn18662-seabird-evolved-head-feathers-as-sensory-device.html
  • Auklets and penguins: birds use feathers ‘to touch’. 2010. BBC Earth News (referring to Seneviratne & Jones 2010, was the headline of the BBC Earth News in March 18-21, 2010 and in BBC Science and Environment page)
  • Bird uses ‘whiskers’ like a cat – facial feathers are more than just decoration. 2008. Nature. doi:10.1038/news.2008.674. (referring to Seneviratne & Jones 2008; was the headline of the Nature website in March 14-20, 2008.)
  • Public Article in Vidusara Science Newspaper. Title: Kandukara jaana vividathwaya jeaiwavividathwayata balapana arrkaraya කඳුකර ජාන විවිධත්වය ජෛව විවිධත්වයට බලපාන ආකාරය (on ‘How montane genetic diversity contributes to biodiversity in Sri Lanka’). 05 October 2016

DISSERTATIONS


  • On the evolutionary and ecological significance of ornamental traits: The function and variability of the acoustic and visual displays in Aethiini. 2009. PhD Dissertation. Memorial University, St. John’s, Canada (received a Distinction )
  • Specificity of ecto-parasites of cave-dwelling chiroptera in selected cave roosts of Sri Lanka. 2002. Honors Dissertation. University of Colombo, Colombo 03, Sri Lanka (Received the Gulamhusein Noorbhai Gold Medal for best honors project).

COMMISSIONED REPORTS FOR NATIONAL BODIES


  • Initial Environment Examination Report of the proposed 132kV transmission line project from Polpitiya to New Habarana and 220kV transmission line project from Polpitiya to Kotmale
  • Initial Environment Examination Report of the proposed 220/132kV transmission line project from Polpitiya to Hambanthota
  • Supplementary Report of the IEA of the proposed 132kV transmission line project from Polpitiya to New Habarana and propose 220kV transmission line project from New Polpitiya to Kotmale

PEER-REVIEWED PUBLICATIONS


  • Jah, A., Seneviratne, S.S. and Vasudevan K. 2021. Phylogeny identifies multiple colonisation events and Miocene aridification as drivers of South Asian Bulbul (Passeriformes: Pycnonotidae) diversification. Organisms Diversity & Evolution (in Press)
  • Allport, G., Collinson, M.J., Shannon, T.J. and Seneviratne, S.S. 2021. Eastern Yellow Wagtail Motacilla tschutschensis and Western Yellow Wagtail M. flava in Sri Lanka with comments on their status in the South Asia region. Ibis (in Press).
  • Alexander, T., Alwis, S., Anthonies, R., Peiris, I., Abayadeera, D.,  Anusha, C., Wickramasoriya, S., Muhandiram, S., Amarasinghe, B. and Seneviratne, S.S. 2021. Temporal and altitudinal variation of avifauna along an elevational gradient in a sub-montane forest in, Belihuloya. Loris 30: 26-33
  • Panagoda, B.G., Seneviratne, S.S., Kotagama, S.S. & Welikala, D. 2020. Sympatric breeding of two endangered Sternula terns, Saunders’s (S. saundersi) and Little (S. albifrons) Terns, in the Rama’s Bridge of Sri Lanka. BirdingAsia 34:76-83
  • Kodikara-arachchi, M.H. and Seneviratne, S.S. 2020. The first record of European Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus for Sri Lanka; A photographic record from the Indian Subcontinent. BirdingAsia 33:131-133
  • Buxton, R. T., Karnovsky, N. J. Wang, S., Jones, H., Philips, E., Provencher, J., & Major, H. 2019. REVIEWS: The Home Place: Memoirs Of A Colored Man’s Love Affair With Nature (Lanham, J.D.); The Seabird’s Cry: The Lives And Loves Of The Planet’s Great Ocean Voyagers (Nicholson, A.); The End Of The End Of The Earth (Franzen, J.); Making Motherhood Work: How Women Manage Careers and Caregiving (Collins, C.). Marine Ornithology 47: 285-290.
  • Danushka, A.D., Kanishka, A.S., Amarasinghe, A.A.T., Vogel, G.  and Seneviratne, S.S. 2020.  A new species of Dendrelaphis Boulenger, 1890 (Reptilia: Colubridae) from the wet zone of Sri Lanka with a redescription of Dendrelaphis bifrenalis (Boulenger, 1890). Taprobanica, 9: 83-102
  • Bond, A.L., Jones, I.L., Seneviratne, S.S. and Muzaffar, S.B. 2020. Least Auklet (Aethia pusilla). Birds of the World (A. F. Poole, Editor). Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA. Version 1. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.leaauk.01
  • Weerakkody, S., Gardiyawasam, P., Wijekulathilake, C., Bandara, J., Peiris, U., Senanayake, U., Siriwardana, S. and Seneviratne, S. S. 2019 Avifauna of a Critically Important Montane Forest Corridor: The Kande-Ela Forest Reserve. Loris 28 volume 3, 52-56
  • Kennedy, M., Seneviratne, S. S., Mendis, U. K. and Spencer, H. G. 2019 Sorting out the Snakebirds: The species status, phylogeny, and biogeography of the Darters (Aves: Anhingidae). Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research 57: 892-899
  • Seneviratne, S.S. 2019 Sri Lanka’s identity in the lost wilderness. Loris (125th Anniversary Special Issue): 28: 103-107
  • Kennedy, M., Seneviratne, S.S., Rawlence, N.J., Ratnayake, S. and Spencer, H.G. 2018 The phylogenetic placement of the enigmatic Indian Cormorant, Phalacrocorax fuscicollis (Phalacrocoracidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution: 130: 227-232
  • Jayasinghe J. A. N. S, Ranasinghe R. W. and S. S. Seneviratne. 2018 Parents’ Role on Egg Temperature Homeostasis of a Ground-nesting Shorebird: Oriental Pratincole (Glareola maldivarum). WildLanka 6:2 84-93
  • Abeyrama DK and Seneviratne SS 2018 Evolutionary distinctiveness of Important Bird Areas (IBAs) of Sri Lanka: Do the species-rich wet zone forests safeguard Sri Lanka’s genetic heritage? Ceylon Journal of Science 46:89-99
  • Wickramasinghe, N, Robin, VV., Ramakrishnan, U., Seneviratne, SS 2017. Non-sister Sri Lankan white-eyes (Genus Zosterops) are a result of independent colonizations. PLoS ONE 12(8): e0181441. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0181441
  • Abeyrama, DK. and Seneviratne SS 2017. Evolutionary Significance of Sri Lanka’s Avifauna. WildLanka, 5:1-10.
  • Perera J. N., Muthuwatta L P and S. S. Seneviratne 2016 Climate forecasts suggests a foggy future for the montane endemics of Sri Lanka. Siyo Siri: FOGSL Forty year anniversary book.  Pp 86-89
  • Fernando S and S. S. Seneviratne 2016 Woodpeckers as a tool for ornithological studies in Sri Lanka. Siyo Siri: FOGSL Forty year anniversary book.  Pp  75 – 79
  • Silva, M, Seneviratne, S.S., Weerakoon D. K. & Goonasekara C.L. 2016 Characterization of Daboia russelii and Naja naja venom neutralizing ability of an undocumented indigenous medication in Sri Lanka. Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine 14:1e7 (http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaim.2016.10.001)
  • Seneviratne, SS and Jayasinghe JANS 2016 Paving the way towards unbearable: what do shorebird embryos tell us on Sri Lanka’s newfound paving ritual. Siyo Siri: FOGSL Forty year anniversary book.  Pp 82-85
  • Grossen, C., Seneviratne, S. S., Croll, D. and Irwin, DE 2016.Strong reproductive isolation and narrow genomic tracts of differentiation among three woodpecker species in secondary contact. Molecular Ecology 25: 4247–4266
  • Seneviratne SS, Davidson P, MartinK, and Irwin DE 2016. Low levels of hybridization across two contact zones among three species of woodpeckers (Sphyrapicus sapsuckers). Journal of Avian Biology 47: 887–898doi: 10.1111/jav.00946
  • Fernando SP, Irwin DE and Seneviratne SS. 2016. Phenotypic and genetic analysis support distinct species status of the Red-backed Woodpecker (Lesser Sri Lanka Flameback: Dinopium psarodes) of Sri Lanka. Auk: Ornithological Advances 133;1-15
  • KrzeminskaU, WilsonR, SongBK, SeneviratneSS, Akhteruzzaman S, Gruszczynska J,
  • Widerek WS, Huy TS, Austin CM . Rahman S.  2016 Genetic diversity of native and introduced populations of the invasive house crow (Corvus splendens) in Asia and Africa. Biological Invasions 14: 1-15
  • Davidson, P.J.A. and Seneviratne, SS. 2015. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker in Davidson, P.J.A., R.J. Cannings, A.R. Couturier, D. Lepage, and C.M. Di Corrado (eds.). The Atlas of the Breeding Birds of British Columbia, 2008-2012. Bird Studies Canada. Delta, B.C.http://www.birdatlas.bc.ca/accounts/speciesaccount.jsp?sp=YBSA&lang=en
  • KrzeminskaU, WilsonR, RahmanS, SongBK, SeneviratneSS, GanHM, AustinCM 2015. The complete mitochondrial genome of the jungle crow Corvus macrorhynchos (Passeriformes: Corvidae). Mito Genome 9: Early online 1:3.
  • Seneviratne SS, Weeratunga V, Jayaratne TA & Weerakoon DK. 2015. First confirmed breeding record of Brown Noddy (Anous Stolidus) in Sri Lanka. Birding Asia 23:63-65
  • Fernando SP & Seneviratne SS. 2015. Quantitative analysis of the variation in plumage colouration in Dinopium Flameback complex of Sri Lanka. WILDLANKA 3:61-67
  • Seneviratne SS. 2013 Birds. In Biodiversity Indicators in Agricultural Systems: A Guide to Sustainable Farming. Mohotti K. M., Wijesinghe M. R., Perera I. C. and A. J. Mohotti (eds.). Institute of Biology, Sri Lanka
  • Jones IL, Bond AL, Seneviratne SS & Muzaffar SB. 2013. Least Auklet (Aethia pusilla). The Birds of North America Online (A. Pool, ed). Cornel Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY (http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna/).
  • Seneviratne SS, Jones IL & Carr SM. 2012. The patterns of vocal divergence in a group of non-oscine seabirds. Evolutionary Ecology Research 14:95-112.
  • Seneviratne SS, Toews, DPL, Brelsford A & Irwin DE. 2012. Concordance of genetic and phenotypic characters across a sapsucker hybrid zone. Journal of Avian Biology 43:1-12.
  • Jardine C, Bond A, Butler RW, Davidson P, Jenkins E, Kuwae T & Seneviratne SS. 2012. Biofilm and Western Sandpiper Distribution in the Fraser Estuary and Boundary Bay, British Columbia. Technical Report; Environment Canada, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
  • Cannings D & Seneviratne SS. 2011. Mapping hybrid zones. Bulletin of the British Columbia Breeding Bird Atlas 6: 15-19.   
  • Cannings D, Seneviratne SS & Davidson P. 2011. British Columbia: A hot spot for hybrids. Birdwatch Canada 57: 15 – 16.
  • Seneviratne SS & Jones IL. 2010. Origin and maintenance of mechanosensory ornaments in birds. Animal Behaviour 79: 637 – 644.
  • Seneviratne SS, Fernando HC & Udagama-Randeniya PV. 2009. Degrees of host specificity of cave dwelling bats: A natural experiment. International Journal for Parasitology 39: 995 – 1002
  • Seneviratne SS, Jones IL & Miller EH. 2009. Vocal repertoire of auklets (Alcidae, Aethiini): Structural organization and phylogenetic significance. Wilson Journal of Ornithology 121: 568 – 584.
  • Seneviratne SS & Jones IL. 2008. Mechanosensory function for elaborate facial plumage in the whiskered auklet, a crevice-dwelling seabird. Behavioural Ecology 19: 784 – 790.
  • Miller EH, Seneviratne SS, Jones IL, Robertson GJ & Wilhelm SI. 2008. Syringeal anatomy and allometry in murres (Alcidae: Uria). Journal of Ornithology 149: 545 – 554. 
  • Lorenz S & Seneviratne SS. 2008. Northern fulmar Fulmarus glacialis predation of common murre Uria aalge. Wilson Journal of Ornithology 120: 635 – 636.
  • Jones IL & Seneviratne SS. 2005. Status, behavior and demography of whiskered auklets (Aethia pygmaea) at Egg Island, Aleutian Islands, Alaska. Technical Report: Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Homer, Alaska.
  • Brown WA, Udagama-Randeniya PV & Seneviratne SS. 2003. Two new species of chiggers (Acari: Leeuwenhoekiidae and Trombiculidae) from bats (Chiroptera) collected in the Kanneliya forest reserve of Sri Lanka. International Journal of Acarology 29: 69 – 73.
  • Seneviratne SS. 1994. ‘Bimaka mahima bala jeewaya piree athie’. The Collage Magazine – 1994. Richmond Collage, Galle, Sri Lanka.

SEMINAR AND CONFERENCE PRESENTATIONS


  • Ranasinghe, R., Seneviratne, S.S. and Irwin, D. (2020) The patterns of genomic divergence in a three-way hybrid zone of flameback woodpeckers in the island of Sri Lanka. 7th North American Ornithological Conference (NAOC) – Virtual Conference
  • Seneviratne, S. S., Panagoda, P. A. B. G., Jayasinghe, S. and Kotagama,S. (2019, November). Status of the ground-nesting waterbirds of Mannar and Adam’s Bridge Islands of Northwestern Sri Lanka. International Conference on Wetlands and Migratory Waterbirds, India.
  • Panagoda, P. A. B. G., Kotagama,S., Welikala, D. and Seneviratne, S. S. (2019, November). Sympatric Breeding of two endangered Sternula terns (Saunders’s and Little terns) in the Adam’s Bridge of Sri Lanka. International Conference on Wetlands and Migratory Waterbirds, India.
  • Panagoda, P. A. B. G., Kotagama,S. and Seneviratne, S. S. (2019, September). Endangered Breeding Seabirds of the Adam’s Bridge of the Northwestern Sri Lanka. Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation – Asia-Pacific Conference, Sri Lanka.
  • Malalgoda, N., Seneviratne, S.S. and Wijesinha, M.R. (2019).Influence of forest characteristics on avifaunal diversity across three bioclimatic zones in Sri Lanka. Proceedings of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC), Asia Pacific Conference 2019. p. 179.
  • Wickramasinghe, N. K., Seneviratne, S. S. and Ramakrishnan, U. 2019. Population genetics of the two sympatric Zosterops white-eyes in the island of Sri Lanka. Asia Pacific Conference of the Association of Tropical Biology and Conservation, Sri Lanka p.135
  • Weerakkody, S. N., Goodale, E. and Seneviratne, S. S. 2019. Phenotypic and genetic divergence in an island endemic: Dicrurus paradiseus (Racket-tailed Drongo) allospecies cluster in Sri Lanka. Asia Pacific Conference of the Association of Tropical Biology and Conservation, Sri Lanka p.142
  • Seneviratne, S.S., Abeyrama, D.K., Wijekulathilake, C.K. Weerakkody, S.N., Perera, J.N. and Fernando, T.S.P. 2018. Evolutionary significance of Sinharaja and Kanneliya MABRs for highly volant animals. Research Symposium on Wet Zone Forests. Department of Forest Conservation. Colombo, Sri Lanka
  • Fernando, T.S.P., Ranasinghe, R.W and Seneviratne, S.S. 2017. Patterns of Divergence Revealed Across Biochemical, Morphological, Vocal and Genetic Traits in an Island Endemic: The Flameback Woodpeckers of Sri Lanka. Meeting of the International Biogeography Society, Bangalore, India
  • Seneviratne S. S. 2017. Phylogenetic and Evolution in Conservation Prioritization, Invited Plenary Talkat the Symposium on Understanding and Conserving Biodiversity: The Use of Ecological, Phylogenetic and Evolutionary Relationships. Organized by the Institute of Biology, Sri Lanka at SLIDA. Title:. 26 May 2017
  • Fenrnado S.P. and Seneviratne S.S. 2016 Dynamics of a hybrid zone between an island endemic and its continental sister species of flameback woodpeckers in Sri Lanka. 7th North American Ornithological Conference.
  • Seneviratne S.S. 2017 Evolution and phylogeny in conservation prioritization for Sri Lanka. Keynote Speech – Understanding and Conserving Biodiversity: The use of Ecological, Phylogenetic and Evolutionary Relationships. Institute of Biology, Sri Lanka
  • S. Jayasinghe, R. W. Ranasinghe, R. Manjujeewa, H. Jayaweera, and S. S. Seneviratne 2016 Effect of surface temperature on the temperature homeostasis and embryonic survival of a ground-nesting shorebird along a thermal gradient across Sri Lanka. Blue-green era – sustainability conference, Mahaweli development Authority.
  • Zohara Rafi, Enoka Kudavidanage, Sampath Seneviratne 2016. Genetic and Phenotypic Divergence of Zosterops White-eyes along a Dry Elevational Gradient in Sri Lanka. Asian Chapter meeting of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation. Singapore
  • Seneviratne S. S. (2015) Barriers to gene flow and resulting endemicity in avian contact zones: the need for establishing regions of genetic interchange and implications of its management. A national symposium on conservation biogeography of Sri Lanka: Integrating biogeography and biodiversity conservation in a changing climate. National Science Foundation, Colombo 07, Sri Lanka
  • Mathiaparanum KJ, Seneviratne S. S. and Udagama PV 2015 Implications of urbanization and associated anthropogenic perturbation on fitness of the Rock Pigeon (Columba livia). Student conference in Conservation Sciences, National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore, India 2015
  • Mathiaparanum KJ, Seneviratne S. S. and Udagama PV 2015 Influence of Anthropogenic Perturbation on Energy Trade-offs of the Rock Pigeon (Columba livia). 8th International Research Conference of Kotelawala Defence University, Colombo.
  • Fernando S.P, and Seneviratne S. S. (2015). A phylogenetic analysis of Dinopium woodpeckers in Sri Lanka using Cyt b and COI nucleotide sequences (Aves:Piciformes), Proceedings of the 35th Annual sessions of Institute of Biology, Sri Lanka. pp 64.
  • Fernando, S.P. and Seneviratne, S. S., (2015).Genetic clustering and hybrid inferiority support distinct species status of the Red-backed Woodpecker (Dinopium psarodes) of Sri Lanka, Proceedings of the Annual Research symposium, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka. Pp 117
  • Wickramasinghe, N. and Seneviratne, S. (2015). Phylogenetic status of the Zosterops white-eyes in Sri Lanka. Annual Research Symposium 2015, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka.
  • Wickramasinghe, N., Robin, V.V., Reddy S. and Seneviratne. S.S. (2015). Phylogenetic relationships of Zosterops white-eyes in Western Ghats and Sri Lanka. National Conference in Ethology and Evolution, Mohali, Punjab, India.
  • Silva M.M., Seneviratne S. S., Weerakoon D.K., Goonasekera C.L. (2015) A simplified version of ex ovo cultivation method of chicken embryos as a model for evaluating venom toxicity. 35th Annual Sessions of Institute of Biology, Colombo.
  • Silva M.M., Goonasekera C.L., Seneviratne S. S., Weerakoon D.K. (2015) Daboia russelii venom neutralizing ability of a herbal preparation used in indigenous medicine in the wet zone of Sri Lanka. 2nd International conference of Traditional and Complementary medicine on Health, Taiwan.
  • Silva M. M., Seneviratne S. S., Weerakoon D. K., Goonasekera C. L. (2015) Potential of an herbal preparation used in the indigenous medicine to neutralize Naja naja venom: Example from wet zone, Sri Lanka. 8th International Research Conference of Kotelawala Defense University, Colombo. (Full paper)
  • Wickramasinghe, N. and Seneviratne, S. (2014). Patterns of phenotypic variation in Zosterops white-eyes along an elevational gradient in the wet zone of Sri Lanka. Annual Research Symposium 2014, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka.
  • Mathiaparanum KJ, de Silva MM, Galagedara RS & Seneviratne S. S. Local adaptations to wet climate has contributed to phenotypic variation in Giant Squirrel of South-Asia. Annual meeting of the World Biodiversity Congress, Colombo, Sri Lanka, 2014
  • Fernando S. P & Seneviratne S.S. Local adaptations and distance away from the Indian mainland had contributed towards endemism in Dinopium Flamebacks in Sri Lanka. Student conference in Conservation Sciences, National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore, India 2014
  • Silva K. M., Dodangoda P. S. & Seneviratne S. S. A peculiar biogeographic pattern of a flameback woodpecker reveled through next-generation sequencing. 51st meeting of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation, Cairns, Queensland, Australia, 2014
  • Seneviratne S.S. 2014. What makes us unique: a modern answer to a very old question. Plenary talk, Annual Birdwatchers Conference. Colombo
  • Dodangoda P. S., Silva K. M. & Seneviratne S. S. 2014 Biogeographic history of flameback woodpeckers in Sri Lanka. Annual Birdwatchers Conference. Colombo.
  • Fernando S. P & Seneviratne S.S. 2013Character variation along the climatic gradients in birds endemic to Sri Lanka. Proceedings of the Annual Research symposium, University of Colombo, 2013
  • Seneviratne S. S. 2012 Maintenance of phenotypic divergence despite rapid gene flow in a hybrid complex of allospecies. The 5th North American Ornithological Conference (NAOC), Vancouver, Canada.
  • Seneviratne S. S. 2011. Genetic and phenotypic characters variation across a hybrid zone of red-breasted and yellow-bellied sapsuckers. The 129th meeting of the American Ornithologists’ Union (AOU), Jacksonville, Florida, USA, 2011
  • Seneviratne S. S. 2009 East meets west: Range overlap and hybridization of sapsuckers of the Northwest. Fall Ecology and Evolution Retreat, Brackendale, British Columbia, Canada.
  • Seneviratne S. S. 2008 Showy head plumes; how sexy can they be? Biology graduate student’s symposium, Memorial University, St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada (the best talk of the symposium), 2008
  • Seneviratne S. S. 2006 Evolutionary ecology of Pacific auklets: An overview. The 12th annual meeting of the Atlantic Cooperative Wildlife Ecology Research Network (ACWERN), St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada
  • Seneviratne S. S. 2006 Vocal repertoire of the whiskered auklet and a comparison with vocalizations of other Aethiini. The 33rd annual meeting of the Pacific Seabird Group (PSG), Girdwood, Alaska, 2006
  • Seneviratne S. S. Behavioural ecology of Atlantic puffin (Fratercula arctica) in Newfoundland and Labrador 2004. The 10th annual meeting of ACWERN, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada.
  • Seneviratne S. S. 2002 Ecto-parasites of cave dwelling chiroptera in selected roosts of Sri Lanka. Proceedings of the 22nd annual sessions of the Institute of Biology, Colombo, Sri Lanka
  • Seneviratne S. S. 2002 Specificity of ecto-parasites of Chiroptera. The 58th annual sessions of the Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of Science (SLAAS), Colombo, Sri Lanka.

GUEST LECTURES AND PUBLIC TALKS


  • 125th Anniversary Lecture of the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society. ‘Where is Wildlife Conservation in Sri Lanka Today’ held at the BMICH, 16 May 2019. Speakers Dr. Sampath Seneviratne, Dr. Pruthiviraj Fernando, Dr. Nishan Perera and Mr. Rukshan Jayawardana. Moderator Dr. Sumith Pilapitiya.
  • Two public lectures at the 74th Annual General Meeting and the Public Exhibition of the Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of Science (SLAAS) held at the University of Colombo. Titles Jaana saha parisaraya sathun hadana heti (The gene’s role in evolution) and Aprikarnuwa balangodata arr heti (History of mankind from Africa to Balangoda). 08 December 2018.
  • Forty years of bird research in Sri Lanka – an overview. Field Ornithology Union 40 year commemorative symposium. Colombo, Sri Lanka. 2017
  • Art and Science of the Bird Song. Annual Birdwatchers Conference. Field Ornithology Group of Sri Lanka, Colombo 2016
  • Causes and consequences of endemicity in birds of Sri Lanka. An invited public lecture at the Ceylon Bird Club, Colombo, 2015
  • Flying penguins and sexy ornaments: five summers in the great Alaskan wilderness. An invited public lecture at the Sri Lanka Natural History Society, Colombo, 2014
  • Studying the emergence of new life forms using high performance computing. A presentation for the HETC-W2, University of Colombo, 2013
  • Genetic and phenotypic basis of speciation in birds. Invited Seminar, Monash University, Sunway Campus, Malaysia 2013
  • Studying bird communities through hybrid zones: Next-generation genomics and an old question. A presentation at the faculty of Forestry, University of British Columbia, Canada, 2012
  • Hybrid sapsuckers: A nuisance or a rare opportunity. Invited public lecture at the Vancouver Natural History Society (Nature Vancouver), Vancouver, Canada, 2011
  • Sexual selection and the evolution of ornamental traits. Guest speaker for Biology 427 – Ornithology and Herpetology class, UBC, 2010
  • Origin and maintenance of mechanosensory feathers in birds. Guest speaker for Biology 427 – Ornithology and Herpetology class, UBC, 2010
  • Evolutionary ecology of north Pacific seabirds. Guest speaker for Biology 427 – Ornithology and Herpetology class, UBC, 2009
  • Showy facial feathers – how sexy can they be? The origin of elaborate feathers in birds. Invited public lecture at the Faculty of Science, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka, 2008

GRANTS AND AWARDS


  • Senate Award for Research Excellence 2016 – University of Colombo
  • President’s Award for Scientific Research – the government of Sri Lanka, 2016
  • Collaborative Research Grant (PI – Sampath Seneviratne) – University of Colombo, Sri Lanka, (Rs. 3,000,000), 2017 – 2019
  • National Research Council Competitive Research Grant (PI – Sampath Seneviratne) – University of Colombo, Sri Lanka, (Rs. 2,990,000), 2014 – 2017
  • National Science Foundation Travel Award to attend and present a research paper at the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation, Australia ($2000), 2014
  • Collaborative Research Grant (PI – Sampath Seneviratne) – University of Colombo, Sri Lanka, (Rs. 3,000,000), 2013 – 2016
  • President’s Award for Scientific Research – the government of Sri Lanka, 2009
  • NSERC Industrial Research and Development Fellowship (NSERC IRDF) – Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, (CDN$60,000), 2011
  • NSERC Visiting Fellow (pre qualified for the scholarship) – NSERC, 2010
  • A research grant from the Werner and Hildegard Hesse Foundation for my woodpecker biogeography study, (CDN$ 20,000), 2009
  • Fellow of the School of Graduate Studies (honoring the distinction obtained for the PhD) – Memorial University, Canada 2008
  • Frank M. Chapman Memorial Grant – American Museum of Natural History, USA, 2007
  • Donald L. Bleitz Research Award – American Ornithologist’s Union, USA, 2007
  • Memorial University Biology Graduate Fellowship, (CDN$32,000), 2004 – 2008
  • Travel grant and a living allowance – Chiroptera Conservation and Information Network of South Asia (CCINSA) and Chester Zoo, UK, 2003
  • Gulamhusein Noorbhai gold medal for the most outstanding honours student (Zoology) – University of Colombo, 2002
  • Gulamhusein Noorbhai gold medal for the best honours research project (Zoology) – University of Colombo, 2002
  • Kirthisinghe Memorial Award for the best result for Zoology in the B.Sc. degree program (1st and 2nd year) – University of Colombo, 2002
  • Environmental Award 1996(school category; Honorable mention) – the Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of Science (SLAAS), Sri Lanka, 1996
  • D G Wellikala medal for the most outstanding Advanced Level student of the college in 1996 – Richmond College, Galle, Sri Lanka, 1996
  • All island 1st place for the research paper titled“Biodiversity of Kottowa Arboretum” – SLAAS, 1990
  • All island 1st place in the environmental research competition for the study titled“A study of two Dutch canal systems, its’ environment, biodiversity, and its’ impact to the surrounding human habitations” – SLAAS, 1989

PROFESSIONAL, VOLUNTEER AND OTHER CONTRIBUTIONS


  • Assistant Curator (Tetrapods), Beaty Biodiversity Museum (April – Dec 2010)

      I was hired to establish a DNA collection for the Beaty Biodiversity Museum, Vancouver, Canada. At the Beaty Museum I performed curatorial duties for the bird collection that included management of the collection (of over 20,000 specimens), specimen preparation for the research collection, pest management, conducting laboratory classes for student taxidermists and public outreach.

  • Mentor and a career counsellor

      I act as a mentor for the University of Colombo’s Career Guidance Unit, an academic mentor for the undergraduates of the Faculty of Science, University of Colombo in the Internship Training Programme FS 3001/4001. Also I was a Career Counsellor for the undergraduates of the Faculty of Science, University of Colombo in the EC1016 Career Planning course, a Science mentor for the Vancouver Science Fair and the gifted education programme organized by the Vancouver School Board and the City of Vancouver (2009 – 2011).

  • Leader in creating Citizen Scientists to engage the public for environmental awareness and conservation

      I am the creator and administrator of the Colombo Breeding Bird Atlas (CBBA)– a social media (Facebook) based data platform where the general public can report to and engage with GIS and conservation sciences. There are over 340 active members using this site:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/563846043998932

  • Amateur documentary filmmaker, wildlife painter, birder, taxidermist and a recreational boater (Canoe and catamaran)

      I have completed a 14-day resident documentary filmmaking course conducted by the National Geographic Society (2010). In my leisure time I conduct workshops on documentary filmmaking for school children in schools across Sri Lanka.

      My paintings have been featured in several journals, I design museum exhibits and study skins including several paratypes. My birding skills have been useful in many aspects of my life and boating keeps me away from alcohol.


PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS


Section Editor

Section Editor – Avian Conservation and Ecology (https://www.ace-eco.org/)

Section Editor – Taprobanica: The Journal of Asian Biodiversity (https://tapro.sljol.info/)

Science Editor – Loris: Journal of the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society of Sri Lanka (since 1895).

Reviewer

For several journals including, Naturwissenschaften, Journal of Avian Biology, Tropical Ecology, Heredity, Ibis, Journal of Cytology and Histology, ForkTail, Water Birds, Asian Journal for Biodiversity, Ceylon Journal of Science, Auk, ACTA Chiropeterologica,

Committee Member

President – Field Ornithology Group of Sri Lanka

Co-chair and the Member of the Local Organizing Committee of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation – Asia Pacific Conference 2019

Member of the Steering Committee and Research Awards Committee, 5th North American Ornithological Conference (NAOC-V), Vancouver, Canada 2012

Committee Member, 03rd International conference on Holistic Medicine, Colombo, Sri Lanka, 2012

Member – Local organizing committee, Conflict resolution and sustainable fisheries governance in the Palk Bay of South Asia, Colombo 2014

Professional Memberships

International Ornithological Union, Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC – Sri Lankan representative), American Ornithologist’s Union (AOU), Oriental Bird Club (OBC), Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of Science (SLAAS), Field Ornithologists Group of Sri Lanka (Vice Precedent), Ceylon Bird Club, Sri Lanka Ecological Association (President), Institute of Biology (IOB),

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