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Behaviour and stress biology

Research aim and focus

The research group produces and disseminates new knowledge of the behavioural needs, stress biology and adaptability of domesticated animals in order to develop principles for arrangement of local environment and handling ensuring animal welfare, health and functionality when used for production, research and as hobby and therapy animals. The research group contributes to the development of new methods for assessment of welfare and adaptability, which can be used in animal breeding, decision support systems as well as in disease surveillance and documentation of animal welfare. Further, the research group develops animal models of pain and mental states.

 Primary focus areas

  • Behaviour and behavioural needs of animals with regard to preventing harmful behaviour and improving barn design, management and transport.
  • Importance of genetics and the physical and social environment for behavioural and physiological reactions of the animals, including interactions between animals and humans.
  • Methods for automatic recording and surveillance of behaviour with regard to assessment of welfare and early identification of disease.
  • Methods for quantification of emotional states.
  • Stress reactions related to biological costs affecting the effectiveness and production.

Key disciplines

Ethology; Stress physiology; Pain biology; Individual welfare assessments; Biometry/applied statistics. 

Research perspectives

Our research group contributes with new knowledge of behaviour, stress reactions and adaptability for developing a sustainable production of farm animals where housing, handling and transport of animals consider both functionality and animal welfare together with the knowledge of the interaction between animals and humans for the benefit of agriculture and society.