Athmanathan Senthilnathan

Research Associate

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Athma Senthilnathan is a theoretical ecologist who aims to explain patterns of biodiversity, especially coexistence and trait distributions in a variety of ecological and eco-evolutionary scenarios. He has recently focussed on describing the synergistic effects of plant-soil feedback and plant competition on spatial trait patterns. At the Ong lab, Athma aims to describe the processes that lead to irreversible loss of an ecological state (due to hidden-loop hysteresis).


112A Fairchild
HB 6182


  • PhD (Ecology), University of Tennessee
  • MS (Mathematics), University of Tennessee
  • BSc (Mathematics), Indian Institute of Science

Selected Publications

  • Senthilnathan, A. (2023). Smaller is better in competition for space. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 290(2001), 20230627.

  • Senthilnathan, A., & D'Andrea, R. (2023). Niche theory for positive plant–soil feedbacks. Ecology, 104(4), e3993.

  • Grainger, T. N., Senthilnathan, A., Ke, P. J., Barbour, M. A., Jones, N. T., DeLong, J. P., ... & Germain, R. M. (2022). An empiricist's guide to using ecological theory. The American Naturalist, 199(1), 1-20.

  • Senthilnathan, A., & Gavrilets, S. (2021). Ecological consequences of intraspecific variation in coevolutionary systems. The American Naturalist, 197(1), 1-17.

Works In Progress

  • Senthilnathan, A., D'Andrea, R. Coexistence of competing plants under plant-soil feedback.

  • Senthilnathan, A., Ke, P., Yan, X., Crawford, K., D'Andrea, R. Challenges in linking plant-soil feedbacks to community structure.