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The areas represented include stress and welfare assessment, behavioural ecology, applied animal welfare (especially companion, farm, laboratory and zoo animals), marine animal behaviour and primatology. 

Animal behaviour is a vast field, encompassing the study of both wild and captive animals. Our understanding of how animals respond adaptively to their current environment and why they show particular behavioural and physiological responses is vital for predictions regarding future effects of environmental fluctuations and for local and national conservation efforts. Here at Chester, we study a range of systems, from marmots to equids, amphibians to gorillas, both in wild and captive populations. Animal welfareis also an essential consideration for modern society; animals that are farmed, kept as pets, used for research and maintained in ex situ populations in zoos are all major focuses of research by various members of staff within our department. Staff collaborate on research with colleagues nationally and internationally, and participate in research committees with organisations around the world.

Current research projects include:

  • Behavioural ecology of alpine marmots
  • Amphibian behaviour & endocrinology
  • Welfare implications of barefoot horse management in UK horses
  • Behavioural ecology of pelagic thresher sharks in the Philippines
  • Social behaviour and welfare in captive fruitbats
  • Captive management of great apes and other zoo animals
  • Behavioural and physiological impact of visitors on zoo animals
  • Behavioural, social and management correlates of hypothalamic pituitary adrenal activity in captive primates
  • Review of behaviour problems reported in companion animals to Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors
  • Welfare of canids in different societal roles
  • The use of facial expression to assess pain in sheep