Improving Animal Production & Welfare
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Complex phenotypes and genotype x environment interactions

This strand of work aims to understand the mechanisms by which stress, temperature, photoperiod, maternal behaviour, weaning and nutrition affect farm animal physiology and performance.

The results of this research have the potential to change farming practice and facilitate sustainable intensification whilst ensuring animal welfare.

Research Highlights

Examples of previous and current work in this area:

Play as an indicator of positive welfare

pig and piglets
Piglets play behaviour is associated with their physical development.

Seasonal body clocks

"Calendar cells" help animals adapt to the changing seasons.

Seasonal reproduction of Pekin ducks

Deep brain photoreceptors mediate photosensitivity and maintain testicular function in Pekin ducks.

Impact of stress in pregnancy

Maternal stress during pregnancy has harmful effects on first and second generation of rat offspring.

Early life stress and maternal behaviour

Stressful experiences during early life can shape the postnatal behaviour and well-being of sows

Rumen microbiome is associated with important livestock traits

A cow eating grass
Rumen metagenomes as an intermediate phenotype in methane emission from cattle.