Dr. Sampath S. Seneviratne

Dr. Sampath S. Seneviratne

Senior Lecturer II

Department of Zoology and Environment Sciences,
University of Colombo,
Colombo 03,
Sri Lanka.
Room: Library Block

Academic and Professional qualifications

PhD in Evolutionary Ecology 2008 – Memorial University, St. John’s, NL, Canada

BSc in Immunology and Parasitology 2002 – University of Colombo, Sri Lanka

Post Doctoral Fellow – National Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)

Post Doctoral Fellow – Biodiversity Research Centre – University of British Columbia (UBC)


Teaching areas

  • Animal Form and Function
  • Evolution and Biogeography
  • Molecular Ecology
  • Conservation Genetics
  • Ornithology


Research interests

My research interests are rooted in the studies of island biogeography, causes of endemicity and the evolution of novel traits. My approach uses both field- and laboratory-based research grounded in a strong conceptual framework to address processes underlying trait divergence and species (trait) boundaries. Sri Lanka in particular offers a great assortment of species assemblages to study critical questions related to speciation in island biogeographic framework.

Avian Evolution Node

Research Gate


  • Wickramasinghe, N, Robin, VV., Ramakrishnan, U., Seneviratne, SS Non-sister Sri Lankan white-eyes (Genus Zosterops) are a result of independent colonizations. (in press – PLOS-One).
  • Abeyrama, DK. and Seneviratne SS Evolutionary Significance of Sri Lanka’s Avifauna. WildLanka, 5:1-10.
  • 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 60-65
  • Grossen, C., Seneviratne, SS, 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, Martin K, and Irwin DE 2016. Low levels of hybridization across two contact zones among three species of woodpeckers (Sphyrapicus sapsuckers). Journal of Avian Biology (in press)
  • 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
  • Krzeminska U, Wilson R, Song BK, Seneviratne SS, 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 Invasions14: 1-15
  • Davidson, P.J.A. and Seneviratne, SS. 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
  • Krzeminska U, Wilson R, Rahman S, Song BK, Seneviratne SS, Gan HM, Austin CM 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
  • 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.
  • 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.
    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.


On-going Research Projects

PhD project 1 – Speciation and evolutionary ecology in Asian Flameback woodpeckers

PhD project 2 – Island endemicity and colonization patterns in Zosterops white-eyes in Southern India and Sri Lanka

PhD project 3 – Mixed species flocks and the ecology of rainforest bird communities in Sri Lanka

PhD project 4 – Genetic basis of vocalization in Drongos

Undergrad ProjectS :

Phylogeny and Evolution in Conservation prioritization,

Rain forest Ecology and characterization

Genetic fragmentation and associated effects in urban forests

Phylogenetics of tree snakes


Extended CV: Dr.Sampath Seneviratne