Queen's University, Belfast
Key Research Interests
- Animal contest behaviour: Understanding the information-gathering and decision-making processes underlying aggressive interactions, working with a range of animal species including vertebrates and invertebrates. Additional behavioural topics being addressed include: animal cognition, personality, and lateralization.
- Animal welfare: Minimising aggression in captive environments to improve welfare. E.g. using early life socialisation to reduce aggression during later life regrouping in pigs. Other welfare topics being addressed include: the importance of play behaviour, using novel techniques to better understand animal emotion, examining dairy cow welfare and the welfare of dogs in commercial breeding environments.
- Animal welfare sensor development: Working with industry partners to develop a next generation farm animal welfare and performance sensor.
Summary Title of Current Studentships
- The effects of early-life social environment on play behaviour, later-life aggression, and assessment ability in domestic pigs (Sus scrofa)
- Exploring emotion-cognition interactions to assess and improve animal welfare
- The development of systems to improve the health and performance of dairy-origin beef youngstock
- Quantifying and evaluating factors influencing the socialisation period of puppies reared in commercial breeding environments
- The role of cognitive ability and affective state during aggressive encounters: implications for contest behaviour and animal welfare