Animal Behaviour and Conservation

Animal models of behaviour and conservation involve the following areas of expertise.

Primate behaviour and welfare assessment

Primate research is conducted both in the field and in the laboratory by staff and research students. A wide range of species is studied including spider monkeys, marmosets and tamarins of South America and gorillas, chimpanzees and barbary macaques of Africa. Research questions are varied and collaborative, using behavioural and hormonal measures, and deal with issues of social behaviour and group dynamics, aggression, reproduction, maternal investment, welfare assessment and laterality of handedness.

Amphibian ecology

Research on the reproductive behaviour of amphibians has resulted in interesting findings regarding egg laying behaviour in newts.

Equine behaviour and welfare

Within the Anthrozoology Unit, staff and research students undertake equine research in several areas, involving both race horses and leisure animals. Areas currently under study include the physiological and behavioural measurement of stress, risk factors for poor welfare, horse personality and coping ability, behaviour counselling and human-horse interactions.

Fish behaviour and welfare

An active programme of research is underway within the area of fish behaviour and welfare, combining issues of personality and stress, molecular characterisation of personality, environmental enrichment and nociception.

Molecular analysis

Collaboration between staff in the Department has enabled exciting new research into the development of non-invasive DNA fingerprinting methods for conservation and phylogenetic analysis, concentrating on the Trinidad piping guan (Pipile pipile).