Integrative Animal Sciences
With the increasing complexity of natural and social issues facing farmed animals and their systems it is becoming increasingly important to recognise the benefits of interdisciplinary and integrated scientific approaches in achieving sustainable farming systems. Fortunately, the advancement of new technologies and methods, such as high throughput –omics data, enhanced computer memory, modelling, and data-driven biology provide new capabilities for integrating information that has not previously existed.
The SRUC Integrative Animal Sciences team aims to synthesise the perspectives of a wide spectrum of scientific disciplines to address complex questions or problems. Our team includes a diverse range of expertise, but also aims at collaborative efforts with other scientific/technical disciplines and industry to examine linkages among single-disciplinary perspectives, during which new methods, concepts, and approaches are often developed. Some of the areas we cover include:
- Developing new systems for the appraisal of the benefits of changing biological traits (e.g., economic, social, environmental, ecosystem services) and the co-benefits/trade-offs that may result from such change.
- Developing and quantifying the benefit of new (and integrative) tools to improve animals and their farming systems.
- Merging and mining data to create and understand novel phenotypes so that the livestock industry can measure, monitor and manage their performance.
- Developing cost-effective biomarkers for difficult to record traits (including health, fertility, energy status, methane emissions) as targets for animal management and/or genetic improvement programmes.
- Applying statistical and mathematical modelling to better understand biological phenomena.
- Integrating heterogeneous and large –omics based data to understand biological systems and livestock performance.