D e p a r t m e n t   o f



Prof. Rupika Subashini Rajakaruna (Amarakoon)

Professor of Applied Zoology

B.Sc., M.Phil. (Perad.), Ph.D. (MUN, Canada)

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About Me

My research and teaching reflect my interests in Infectious Diseases especially eco-epidemiology of vector-borne diseases, Ecotoxicology, and Disease Ecology of Amphibians and Marine Turtle Conservation. I teach a wide variety of courses at the University of Peradeniya. My current teaching includes Applied Parasitology, Vector-Borne Diseases, Research Methods, and Data Analysis, and Scientific Writing.

Positions Held

President/AAUP (Alumni Association of the University of Peradeniya)

Member of the Committee on Sexual and Gender-based Harassment and Violence at the University of Peradeniya

Chairperson, Board of Study in Zoological Sciences, PGIS, University of Peradeniya

Head, Department of Zoology, University of Peradeniya

Member of Board of Discipline, University of Peradeniya

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Faculty Coordinator/International Research Centre (InRc), University of Peradeniya

Deputy Proctor/Faculty of Science, University of Peradeniya

Member of the Physical Education and Sports Advisory Committee of the University of Peradeniya

Warden, Ramanathan Hall, University of Peradeniya

Member, Editorial Board, Ceylon Journal of Science (Biological Science)

Member, Editorial Board, Open Ecology Journal, Bentham Science Publishers 

Member, National Bioethics Committee, National Science Foundation, Sri Lanka

Deputy Coordinator, World Bank Project on Improving Relevance and  Quality of Undergraduate Education (IRQUE) Project, Faculty of Science, University of Peradeniya

Ongoing Research and Projects

Ecoepidemiology of tick borne diseases with special focus on ricketsioses

We investigate the type of pathogens, vertebrate reservoir community composition and the tick species on circulation and maintenance of pathogens of spotted fever group recketsioses (SFGR) in the Central Province, an area with high disease prevalence. The sampling is carried out in three ecosystems in areas with recent cases of SFGR: a wildlife ecosystem, agricultural /rural ecosystem and a peri-urban/urban ecosystem. Types of vertebrate hosts in the area are noted down and blood samples are collected to examine the presence of the pathogen. Among wild and peri-domestic vertebrates, special attention is given to the non-volant small mammals because they are the most important hosts for the sub-adult stages of many tick species in addition to being suitable reservoirs for many pathogens.

Lethal and sublethal effects of pesticides and parasites on amphibians

Sea turtle conservation

Contribution of turtle hatcheries towards sea turtle conservation; Hatching success of hatchery relocated sea turtle eggs; These are matched with rural community based socio-ecological research to assess their contribution towards sea turtles conservation and to build capacity to utilize the natural resources for sustainable tourism while providing local impetus to support the conservation of turtles and their natural environment. Status of the hatcheries under Covid19 pandemic situation and survey of egg poacher.

Canine vector-borne diseases

Canine vector-borne diseases (CVBDs)are a significant health problem among dogs, especially among pedigree dogs and the military working dogs of Sri Lanka. They die early and CVBDs have been listed as one of the speculated causes. We examine CVBDs in the working dogs of the Sri Lanka Air Force together with free-roaming and privately-owned dogs country-wide.

plastic and microplastic pollution in marine and freshwater environment

Plastic pollution is recognized as a severe anthropogenic issue in coastal and marine ecosystems across the world. Unprecedented and continuous accumulation of growing plastic contaminants into any respective aquatic ecosystem by the anthropogenic sources causes direct and/or indirect interruption to ecosystem structure, functions, and consequently, services and values. Currently, we assess the levels of microplastics in sea salt, drinking water bottles, sea sand, and river water. We conduct surveys on the knowledge, practices and attitudes of the community on microplastics and plastic pollution.

Memberships & Awards


President’s Awards for Research 2016, 2015, 2014, 2011, 2010 & 2008


Fulbright Advanced Research and Lecturing Fellowship, Georgia Southern University, USA 2020


SUSRED (Support Scheme for Supervision of Research Degrees) National Science Foundation, SL.2017, 2019


Award for Excellence in Scientific Research, Young Scientists Forum (YSF), National Science and Technology Commission (NASTEC) Sri Lanka 2010


National Research Council Merit Award for Scientific Publications 2013


Merit Certificate for Research, Young Scientists Forum (YSF), National Science and Technology Commission (NASTEC) Sri Lanka 2009


Fellow of the Graduate School, School of Graduate Studies, Memorial University of Newfoundland in recognition of continued academic excellence throughout the Ph.D. 2002


Association of Commonwealth Universities Blue Charter Fellowship, Brunel University London, UK. 2019


Endeavour Research Fellowship, James Cook University, Australia 2017


Fellow of the Graduate School, School of Graduate Studies, Memorial University of Newfoundland. 2002