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«Nottingham Trent University Doctoral School School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences PhD Projects 2016 Welcome to the Nottingham Trent ...»

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Dr Richard Yarnell is a Principal Lecturer in Biodiversity Conservation, and has research interests in ecology and conservation of mammals. Dr Yarnell leads the Ecology and Conservation Research Group, and has current research projects in the UK and Southern Africa. He is also a member of the IUCN Hyaena Specialist Group.

Entry requirements

In order to be eligible to apply, you must hold, or expect to obtain, a UK Master’s degree (or equivalent according to NARIC) with a minimum of a merit/commendation, and/or a UK 1stClass/2.1 Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent according to NARIC) in Biological Sciences, or related subject. The minimum English language proficiency requirement for candidates who have not undertaken a higher degree at a UK HE institution is IELTS 6.5 (with no element to be below 6.0).

Contact: Richard.yarnell@ntu.ac.uk for informal discussions about this project.

Applications should be made to the Doctoral School – www.ntu.ac.uk/doctoralschool Personality and cognitive bias in the ridden horse There is a large body of recent evidence indicating that animals, including horses, have ‘personalities’. Animal personalities (or temperament/behavioural type) are defined as repeatable individual differences in behaviour through time and across contexts.

Personalities in horses can be reliably measured either through behavioural tests or ratings by owners. A horse’s personality type is influenced by its breed, its environment and experience.

Animal personalities have been repeatedly linked with an individual’s response to its environment. Horse personality types have been shown to affect their restlessness, ease of handling, response to unfamiliar humans and their learning ability.

Recent studies have shown that an indicator of an animal’s state of mind (cognitive bias) can be obtained through simple choice tests. These tests can indicate whether an animal is responding optimistically or pessimistically to a stimulus and therefore can be interpreted as an indicator of welfare. Judgement bias has been previously used to assess the mood of horses based on positive or negative reinforced training.

This project aims to investigate the interaction between personality type and cognitive bias to inform welfare decisions in domestic ridden horses. This will be investigated through observing how individuals with different personality types respond to changes in the horse’s routine and environment.

Publications

Hall, C., Kay, R. and Yarnell, K. 2014. Assessing ridden horse behaviour:

• professional judgement and physiological measures. Journal of veterinary behaviour: Clinical Applications and Research, 9 (2): 22-29 Yarnell, K., Hall, C. and Billett, E. 2013. An assessment of the aversive nature of • an animal management procedure (clipping) using behavioral and physiological measures. Physiology & Behavior, 118: 32-39 Hall, C.A., Goodwin, D., Heleski, C., Randle, H. and Waran, N. 2008. Is there • evidence of learned helplessness in horses? Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, 11: 249-266 Jachowski, D.S., Bremner-Harrison, S., Steen, D. A., and Aarestrup, K. In Press.

• Accounting for potential physiological, behavioral, and community-level responses to reintroduction. Chapter 8 in Reintroduction of Fish and Wildlife Populations.

University of California Press Bremner-Harrison, S. & Cypher, B. L., and Harrison, S.W.R. 2013. An • investigation into the effect of individual personality on reintroduction success, examples from three North American fox species: swift fox, California Channel Island fox and San Joaquin kit fox. In Soorae, P.S. (ed) Global Reintroduction Perspectives: 2013. Further case studies from around the globe. Gland, Switzerland, IUCN/SSC Reintroduction Specialist Group and Abu Dhabi, UAE, Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi. Page 152-158.

Supervisors: Dr Carol Hall and Dr Samantha Bremner-Harrison

Supervisor biogs Dr Carol Hall is a Reader in Equitation Science, with research interests in equine perception, the welfare of ridden horses, equine emotion and the use of environmental enrichment to increase social cohesion in horses. Dr Hall is a member of the International Society for Equitation Science. Dr Hall has supervised 3 PhD students to completion and is currently supervising a further 3 PhD students.

Dr Samantha Bremner-Harrison in a Senior Lecture, with research interests focusing on animal personality in a variety of wild, captive and domestic species. Dr BremnerHarrison has supervised 2 PhD students to completion and is currently supervising 3 further PhD students.

Entry requirements

In order to be eligible to apply, you must hold, or expect to obtain, a UK Master’s degree (or equivalent according to NARIC) with a minimum of a merit, and/or a UK 1stClass/2.1 Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent according to NARIC) in equine studies, animal behaviour or related subject. The minimum English language proficiency requirement for candidates who have not undertaken a higher degree at a UK HE institution is IELTS 6.5 (with no element to be below 6.0).

Contact: carol.hall@ntu.ac.uk for informal discussions about this project.

Applications should be made to the Doctoral School – www.ntu.ac.uk/doctoralschool Association between personality and factors affecting reintroduction success Personality research is becoming more prevalent in the field of animal behaviour and ethology, and there is a clear role for application of this work in real-world conservation issues. The project takes current levels of knowledge in the field and advances them.





The proposed work will i) combine advancing theoretical knowledge within the field of ethology by testing novel theories and objectives that combine personality and conservation, with ii) the development of an applied practical application that can be utilised globally across the disciplines of conservation and animal welfare.

Previous work led by the supervisor has demonstrated the impact of personality on survival, dispersal and reproductive output. Recent work has confirmed that release groups with high levels of behavioural diversity show higher site fidelity and survival.

This project will advance the applied aspects of the field of study by a) investigating the impact of personality on stability of release groups in response to variability in risks and resources and b) assess whether personality can be utilised to select optimal individual release points within a release site. The project will use both model species and existing species recovery programmes to test and apply experimental theories and findings.

Publications

Jachowski, D.S., Bremner-Harrison, S., Steen, D. A., and Aarestrup, K. In Press.

• Accounting for potential physiological, behavioral, and community-level responses to reintroduction. Chapter 8 in Reintroduction of Fish and Wildlife Populations.

University of California Press Bremner-Harrison, S. & Cypher, B. L., and Harrison, S.W.R. 2013. An • investigation into the effect of individual personality on reintroduction success, examples from three North American fox species: swift fox, California Channel Island fox and San Joaquin kit fox. In Soorae, P.S. (ed) Global Reintroduction Perspectives: 2013. Further case studies from around the globe. Gland, Switzerland, IUCN/SSC Reintroduction Specialist Group and Abu Dhabi, UAE, Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi. Page 152-158.

Bremner-Harrison, S. & Cypher, B. L. 2011. Reintroducing San Joaquin kit fox • (Vulpes macrotis mutica) to vacant or restored lands: identifying optimal source populations and candidate foxes. Final Report prepared for the Central Valley Project Conservation Program, pp84.

Bremner-Harrison, S., Prodohl, P. A., & Elwood, R. W. 2004. Behavioural trait • assessment as a release criterion: boldness predicts early death in a reintroduction programme of captive-bred swift fox (Vulpes velox). Animal Conservation 7: 313-320.

Supervisors: Dr Samantha Bremner-Harrison and Dr Louise Gentle Supervisor biogs Dr Bremner-Harrison is a Senior Lecturer in the Animal and Equine team. Prior to joining NTU Samantha was a Research Biologist for the Endangered Species Recovery Program in California where she conducted research on the link between animal behaviour and reintroduction success. Dr Bremner-Harrison has supervised 2 PhD students to completion and is currently supervising 3 further PhD students.

Dr Louise Gentle is a Senior Lecturer in the Environment team and Course Leader for Wildlife Conservation. Dr Gentle has supervised 3 PhD students to completion and is currently supervising a further 3 students. Dr Gentle has conducted research into behavioural ecology with application to species conservation.

Entry Requirements

In order to be eligible to apply, you must hold, or expect to obtain, a UK Master’s degree (or equivalent according to NARIC) with a minimum of a distinction, and/or a UK 1stClass/2.1 Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent according to NARIC) in animal behaviour, conservation, behavioural ecology or a related subject. The minimum English language proficiency requirement for candidates who have not undertaken a higher degree at a UK HE institution is IELTS 6.5 (with no element to be below 6.0).

Contact: samantha.bremnerharrison@ntu.ac.uk for informal discussions about this project.

Applications should be made to the Doctoral School – www.ntu.ac.uk/doctoralschool The welfare implications of human-animal interactions and relationships in zoos Behavioural management programmes of captive exotic species rely heavily on positive reinforcement training (PRT), which describes the addition of a motivating reward (reinforcer) to an animal’s habitat (Pryor, 2002; Brando, 2010). PRT methods can be used to encourage reliable and duplicable behaviours for management aspects such as veterinary examination/treatment (Heidenreich, 2007). However, PRT has since been utilised as a means of investigating human-animal interactions (HAI). Ward & Melfi (2013) indicated that PRT had a positive impact on the HAI and subsequently found that it was the animal involved who decided upon the interactions rather than the keeper controlling them (Ward & Melfi, 2015).

HAIs developed through PRT or other means can develop into human-animal relationships and/or bonds between the keepers and the animals (Hosey & Melfi, 2012;

Hosey & Melfi, 2014). However, what motivates the animals to initiate HAIs, when do interactions develop into relationships and how might these interactions and relationships impact on the animals’ welfare? These are the questions that will be addressed by this PhD project.

Publications

Ward SJ, and Melfi V (2015). Keeper-Animal Interactions: Differences between • the Behaviour of Zoo Animals Affect Stockmanship. PLoS ONE 10(10): e0140237.

doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0140237.

Ward, SJ, and Melfi, V (2013). The implications of husbandry training on zoo • animal response rates. Applied Animal Behaviour Science. 147, 179– 185.

Lester, K.M. and Ward, S.J. (In prep.) To behave or misbehave? An investigation • into the compliance of captive trained California Sea Lions (Zalophus californianus).

Supervisors: Dr Samantha Ward, Dr Sarah Broadberry and Dr Chris Royle Supervisor biogs Dr Samantha Ward has experience conducting and supervising zoo based research (including the papers mentioned above) with a behaviour and welfare focus and is a member of the BIAZA Research Committee REG. She currently is on supervisory teams for two PhD students, one at NTU (red squirrel behavioural ecology) and one based at Murdoch University, Australia who is investigating the housing and husbandry implications on oral health in captive kangaroos across Europe and Australia.

Dr Sarah Broadberry’s PhD in research studied the effects of age on the chemical senses and feeding behaviour in the horse, following on from her work in industry for a nutrition company. Since 2005 she has lectured in animal behaviour and nutrition, specialising in zoo species. She is additionally involved in pedigree dog health, breeding and training and her current research interests include zoo education and the human-animal relationship; both zoo based and domestic.

Dr Chris Royle is a physiologist whose research interests include stress, animal welfare and lactation. He has supervised three PhDs to completion, on subjects ranging from equine behaviour and physiology to personality in wood mice.

Entry Requirements

In order to be eligible to apply, you must hold, or expect to obtain, a UK Master’s degree (or equivalent) with a minimum of a merit, and/or a UK 1st Class/2.1 Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) in Animal Sciences including behaviour, welfare or zoo focussed degrees or related subject area. The minimum English language proficiency requirement for candidates who have not undertaken a higher degree at a UK HE institution is IELTS 6.5 (with no element to be below 6.0).

Contact: samantha.ward@ntu.ac.uk for informal discussions about this project.

Applications should be made to the Doctoral School – www.ntu.ac.uk/doctoralschool Population distribution and viability of the endangered Golden Jackal The Golden Jackal (Canis aureus) is the most endangered canid in Greece. Samos Island contains one of the few remaining populations in the entire country and the only remaining island population in the Mediterranean. Some of the major threats to the Jackal population include habitat loss due to urbanisation, mortality as a result of traffic collisions, hunting and poisoning. In order to conserve the remaining population, data is required about the population size and distribution.

To date, researchers at the Archipelagos Institute have used acoustic surveys to estimate the population size and to assess the impacts of anthropogenic disturbance on the home range and activities of the jackal population. In 2015, Operation Wallacea began work with the Archipelagos Institute, based in Samos, to expand the current work.

Surveys will be extended to areas of the island that have previously not been surveyed and radio tracking collars will be used to monitor the activity patterns of individual animals.



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