Dr. Pritish Chakravarty

Department for the Ecology of Animal Societies

Main Focus

I am a multidisciplinary researcher interested in the measurement and analysis of animal behavior. I trained as an engineer with a specialization in signal processing, algorithm development, and wearable sensors, and transitioned into animal ecology for my PhD.

I use sensors (e.g. accelerometers, magnetometers, gyroscopes) and/or cameras to record animal behavioral data, typically at high temporal resolution, and analyze these by developing new methods that are based on concepts and tools from signal processing, machine learning, image processing, and biomechanics. These analyses are driven by ecological research questions, where I collaborate closely with behavioral ecologists.

Some past and ongoing projects include: fine-scale foraging strategies in meerkats, movement patterns of leopard tortoises, and perception and motion of fish in visually noisy environments.

My current work focuses on studying sleep in social animal species living in their natural habitat using accelerometers*.

*The accelerometer is a versatile (and tiny) motion sensor that is sensitive to both motion and gravity. Roughly speaking, a uniaxial accelerometer is like a block attached to a spring; the block is free to move back and forth along a straight line depending on the mechanical forces acting upon it. The block's displacement is translated to a measurable voltage via specially designed electric circuits. You might have a triaxial accelerometer (with three axes pointing in the up-down, left-right, and forward-backward directions) in your hand right at this very moment, for smartphones today use these sensors to detect when the phone has been picked up or rotated, or to count the number of steps you walked today.

Curriculum Vitae


Ph.D.Measurement and Analysis of Animal Behavior (2020)

Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland

M.Sc., Bioengineering (minor in Biomedical Technologies) (2015)

EPFL, Switzerland

B.Tech. (Hons), Chemical Engineering (2012)

Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay, India



Postdoctoral Researcher (2022- )

Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior, Konstanz, Germany

Postdoctoral Research Associate (2021-22)

Marine Behavioural Ecology Group, University of Cambridge, UK
modelling the effects of noise and movement on visual perception in fish

Postdoctoral Forschungskredit Fellow (2020-21)

Population Ecology Group, University of Zurich, Switzerland
using accelerometers to study meerkat foraging strategy

Graduate Research Assistant (2015-20)

Laboratory of Movement Analysis and Measurement, EPFL, Switzerland
methods to quantify animal behaviour and energetics using body-borne sensors

Visiting Student Researcher (2015)

Stanford BioMotion Lab, Stanford University, USA
constructing 3D tissue models from MR/CT images (co-developer of software TiProScope)

Summer Intern (2014)

Swiss BioMotion Lab, Lausanne University Hospital, Switzerland
analysis of cartilage properties using MRI

Research Assistant (2012-13)

Microfluidics Lab, IIT Bombay, India
physics of hydrodynamic fluid focusing in microchannels for lab-on-a-chip diagnostics


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