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My main research interests lie in understanding animal behaviour and how animals inter-relate with production environments, both intensive and extensive. Alongside colleagues, I am involved in the development of science-based and practical approaches to on-farm welfare assessment.
Since 2005 I have worked with dairy cows, investigating on-farm welfare assessment. I have been involved in a project to compare the health and welfare of cows reared on organic farms with those reared on non-organic farms. I am currently involved in a project investigating the relationships between genetics and the behavioural and physiological phenotypes of stress responses in growing pigs.
My PhD research, funded by the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW), investigated whether sleep could be recognised and characterised in sheep using non-invasive electrophysiological methods, and if disturbances to sleep could be used as a method of welfare assessment. I have a strong interest in sleep, resting behaviour and circadian rhythms and how they relate to farm animal welfare and I hope to incorporate these interests into research in the near future.
I coordinate and teach the Farm Animal Welfare module on the postgraduate Applied Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare MSc course run jointly by the University of Edinburgh and SRUC.
I also teach a variety of animal behaviour and welfare topics to SRUC undergraduates.
I have supervised a number of undergraduate and MSc postgraduate research projects in diverse areas of animal welfare science from sleep in sheep to pain in working donkeys.
Address: Animal & Veterinary Sciences, SRUC, Roslin Institute Building, Easter Bush, Midlothian EH25 9RG
Fax: 0131 535 3121