Tejasvini Chalikonda, PhD student

tejaWebsite: http://www.zoo.cam.ac.uk/directory/tejasvini-chalikonda

Contact: c.tejasvini@gmail.com


Causes and consequences of individual differences in foraging success


An individual’s foraging behaviour is a major determinant of its growth, survival and reproductive success. The aim of my PhD research is to explore the extent and causes of individual differences in food choice, foraging success and daily weight gain and assess the consequences of these differences for juvenile and adult survival and breeding success. I answer these by addressing three main questions:

  • How are individual differences related to differences in age, sex and maternal rank and whether the magnitude of these differences changes with age?
  • How does early life environment such as season and number of helpers in a group at birth, maternal condition and rank and exposure to prenatal cortisol play a role in the development of an individual’s foraging success?

By conducting supplementary feed experiments, I ask how increased food during different stages of life affects an individual’s foraging skill and what the consequences of this are for its fitness. Is this strategy maintained or do meerkats alter it based on changing environmental conditions? To read more about my work and life at the KMP, visit my blog https://tejasvinichalikonda.wordpress.com

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