Reproductive conflict in meerkat societies

Reproductive conflict in meerkat societies

Dr Andrew Young
Associate Professor of Evolutionary Biology


My research seeks to understand the evolution of social behaviour and its impact on life-histories, in particular patterns of ageing, using wild social vertebrates as model systems

My research group website can be found at

I am interested in the evolution of cooperation, conflict and dispersal in vertebrate societies and their implications for life-histories, particularly for patterns of senescence. I take an integrative approach, asking both evolutionary and mechanistic questions, given the potential for mechanistic insights to shed light on evolutionary constraints and the origins of variation. My work combines analyses of long-term life-history data with longitudinal and experimental studies of physiological mechanisms, such as endocrine and oxidative stress, and telomere dynamics. I am also interested in the evolution of mechanisms, particularly those that selection might not be expected to have favoured (e.g. the chronic stress response and the mechanisms of ageing). My work therefore spans the fields of behavioural, evolutionary and physiological ecology.

My research group work in all of these areas using a range of wild model systems, including white-browed sparrow weavers, Damaraland mole-rats, European badgers and banded mongooses. Do get in touch if you are interested in collaborating or joining the group.

My teaching portfolio reflects my research interests. In second-year Animal Ecophysiology we explore how adaptation has shaped physiological mechanisms and how key physiological processes may constrain and thereby explain evolutionary outcomes. In second-year Biology of Mammals I explore the origins, diversity and evolutionary consequences of mammalian sociality. And in our new third-year Costa Rica Fieldcourse, we explore the evolutionary origins and conservation of biodiversity while getting up close and personal with the spectacular natural history of the Neotropics.

I am a member of the Behaviour Theme and the Human Biological and Cultural Evolution Group

My photography site can be found here


2003 PhD Zoology, University of Cambridge
1997 BA (Hons), University of Cambridge


2016-         Associate Professor of Evolutionary Biology, Exeter
2010-2016 BBSRC David Phillips Research Fellow, Exeter
2007-2010 NERC Blue Skies Research Fellow, Exeter
2004-2007 Magdalene College Research Fellow, Cambridge
2000-2003 PhD, Cambridge

Professional Associations:

* European Society for the Study of Evolution
* Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour
* British Society for Research on Ageing
* American Society of Naturalists
* British Ecological Society

* Fellow of the Higher Education Academy


Contact details

Tel+44 (0) 1326 254241
AddressDaphne du Maurier Building
University of Exeter
Penryn Campus
TR10 9FE

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