- Email Address
- [email protected]
- Research Areas
- Research Keywords
- Research Description
My lab's overall aim is to understand and improve animal well-being (e.g. on farms, in labs and in zoos). We are in how well animals adjust to captivity: do the benefits of being safe and well fed outweigh the potential harms of being confined and unable to perform some natural behaviours? And how can we assess this using well-validated indicators of stress and welfare?
- Research Summary
Our research typically involves assessing animals' preferences for and responses to 'enriched' housing conditions that are more complex and naturalistic than the standard norms; investigating abnormal behaviours like stereotypic pacing; validating potential welfare indicators (e.g. facial expressions), and we also analyse multi-species datasets to looks for species-level welfare risk and protective factors. We have worked or are working with mink, rats, mice, rhesus monkeys and zebra fish; and with large datasets from elephants, Carnivora, parrots and lemurs.
- Techniques Used
We use behavioural observation (live and from video), specific behavioural tests (e.g. for sociability or cognitive flexibility), the assay of cytokines and glucocorticoids, thermal imaging for regional changes in blood flow caused by sympathetic adrenal responses, and for cross-species work, phylogenetic comparative methods.
- Lab Equipment
We make a lot of our own eccentric equipment out of cardboard and duct-tape. But we also have video cameras, part-share of an infra-red camera, equipment to measure startle reflexes, and even an apparatus that can measure the heart rate of a mouse through the soles of her feet.
- Locations of international collaborators
Mike Mendl (Bristol, UK), and many current and former students in the US and UK.