Wood-Gush Memorial Lecture
Dr. Stephen Porges
Title: Social Behavior: An Emergent and Adaptive Property of the Mammalian Autonomic Nervous System
Dr. Stephen Porges is currently a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and the Director of the Brain-Body Center in the College of Medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago and holds appointments in the Departments of Psychology, BioEngineering, and Anatomy and Cell Biology. He is a neuroscientist with particular interests in understanding the neurobiology of social behavior. His research crosses disciplines and he has published in anesthesiology, critical care medicine, ergonomics, exercise physiology, gerontology, neurology, obstetrics, pediatrics, psychiatry, psychology, space medicine, and substance abuse. In 1994 he proposed the Polyvagal Theory, a theory that links the evolution of the autonomic nervous system to the emergence of social behavior. The theory provides insights into the mechanisms mediating symptoms observed in several behavioral, psychiatric, and physical disorders. The theory has stimulated research and treatments that emphasize the importance of physiological state and behavioral regulation in the expression of several psychiatric disorders including autism and provides a theoretical perspective to study and to treat stress and trauma.
Plenary 1: Pain, Distress and Humane Endpoints
Dr. Lily Edwards
Title: Castration as a Model for Studying Pain-Triggered Behavioral Responses in Growing Calves
Dr. Lily Edwards is an Assistant Professor of Animal Behavior and Welfare at Kansas State University. She grew up in Rhode Island. She completed her B.A. in French at Amherst College in 2002. After teaching in Belgium for a year after graduating, she decided to continue her education in Animal Science, an area that she was always interested in but had not pursued as an undergraduate. She received her M.S. at the University of Rhode Island in 2006 studying behavior and welfare of captive zoo species. She completed her Ph.D. at Colorado State University in 2009 focusing on understanding and minimizing pre-slaughter stress of swine. At KSU, Dr. Edwards conducts research, advises students and teaches courses in animal behavior, welfare and ethical issues in agriculture.
Plenary 2: Maternal Behavior & Effects
Ms. Rie Henriksen
Title: Echoes from the Past: Does Maternal Heat Stress Adjust Offspring to High Temperature? An Experiment in Quails
A native of Copenhagen, Denmark, Rie Henriksen obtained her Master of Science degree in Biology from the University of Copenhagen in 2007. Her master thesis focused on the behaviour of sows and piglets in loose housing systems in order to evaluate these systems functionality and thereby possible replacement of more intensive housing systems. In 2008 she joined the Behavioural biology group at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands, as a PhD student. Under the supervision of Professor Ton Groothuis (University of Groningen) and Dr. Sophie Rettenbacher (University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna) she is currently investigating the effects of maternal stress during egg formation in domestic chickens and Japanese quails. Her studies are aimed not only at investigating the effects of maternal stress on the offspring’s physiology and behaviour, but also to try and disentangle the underlying mechanism of these effects by analysing the prenatal environment (the egg). Lately she has begun to incorporate the postnatal environment into her research in order to study possible interactive effects of the prenatal and postnatal environment.
Plenary 3: Laboratory Animal Behavior, Welfare & Enrichment
Dr. Marina Ponzio
Title: Modifications Induced by an Enriched Environment on Reproductive Physiology and Post-natal Development of Albino Swiss Mice
Dr. Marina Ponzio's main area of interest is the study of the reproductive physiology of mammals, including gamete and endocrinology research. During the development of her career, she has also developed interest in some aspects of captive animal behaviour and the link with the reproductive function. She obtained a PhD in biology in 2006 at the National University of Córdoba, in Argentina where her research was based on the study of the development of fur chewing behaviour in captive chinchilla, an abnormal repetitive behaviour. She is currently an established researcher with the National Science Council of Argentina, and she is also a Professor in the Human Physiology Department at the Medicine School at the National University of Córdoba. At the same Institution she develops her research and she is a member of the Laboratory Animal Care and Use Committee. At present she is studying the effects of environmental enrichment on the reproductive physiology and development of male and female Albino swiss mice.
Plenary 4: Social Behavior in Swine
Dr. Jean-Loup Rault
Title: Oxytocin Reduces Separation Distress in Piglets when Given Intranasally
Jean-Loup recently finished his Ph.D. at Purdue University under the supervision of Dr. Don Lay. He previously worked with Drs. Xavier Boivin and Alain Boissy and received his M.S. from the University of Paris 13. His research interests focus on the potential for positive social interactions to enhance animal well-being, with an emphasis on social support. He recently conducted a series of experiments to elucidate the involvement of oxytocin in social behavior. Oxytocin has received much attention for its role as a neuropeptide underlying social behavior. Research shows anxiolytic effects and an association with positive mental states. His work tackled topics such as the link between oxytocin and separation distress, weaning, and the effects of oxytocin administration in early life. The ultimate goal of Jean-Loup's program is to determine if oxytocin can be used as an indicator of positive affective states, specific to the social environment.
Plenary 5: Zoo Animal Behavior, Welfare & Enrichment
Dr. Paul Koene
Title: Behavior in Natural and Captive Environments Compared to Assess and Enhance Welfare of Zoo Animals
Paul Koene is a behavioural biologist interested in the behaviour and environment of wild and captive animals. He is educated at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands, as ecologist and ethologist and is especially interested in the basic rules of behaviour and how they apply under natural and captive conditions. He did his PhD on resolution of approach-avoidance conflicts in rats as an animal model of human phobia. Then he went to Wageningen University and to applied ethology and animal welfare. Main subjects of study were social behaviour, communication, and especially emotional expressions which he studied in chicken. As supervisor of students in biology and animal science many other subjects were investigated in lab animals, pet animals, farm animals, zoo animals, animals in nature reserves and animals in the wild. His viewpoint is that animals often speak for themselves, i.e. in overt behaviour and vocalizations they show their appreciation of their environment. Research on stereotypies in zoo animals and vocalizations in crows, rats, cattle and chicken illustrate his approach. His interest in behaviour under restricted conditions started with studying interference competition in oystercatchers and chicken. To integrate the basic and applied approach, research is preferably done in situ and ex situ, and he likes to compare behaviour under natural conditions and captive housing conditions by observation and using tests. The long-term studies on many aspects of zoo animal behaviour are recently more focussed on zoo animal welfare assessment and methods. Key words of his non-focussed research are de-domestication, brown bears, catastrophe theory, veal calves, veterinary risks of feral cattle, giraffes, transport of homing pigeons, sled dogs, re-wilding, rabbits, behaviour and conservation, raccoon dogs and welfare and conservation.
Paul is currently lecturer at Wageningen University and researcher in Wageningen UR Livestock Research. Subjects of teaching are behaviour and environment, animal welfare assessment, natural behaviour, (de-)domestication and conservation and behaviour. His current research is focussed on vocal expressions, density, group size and social networks in chicken, social networks in horses, determining suitability of animals as companion animals and zoo animal welfare assessment.
Plenary 6: Engineering Environments & Measurement Technologies for Science & Welfare
Dr. Lindsay Matthews
Title: Perceptual Threshold for Cold Stress in Dairy Cows
Lindsay Matthews obtained his D.Phil from University of Waikato in 1983. Following this, he was awarded a prestigious Alexander von Humbolt Fellowship to develop innovative techniques to measure the behavioural requirements of livestock. In 1989 he was appointed to MAF Technology (now AgResearch) as a Behaviour/Animal Welfare scientist to develop and lead the first substantial research programme in Animal Welfare research in New Zealand. Dr. Matthews has made many novel contributions to improving the management of domestic and wild animals through research and an application of a fundamental understanding of animal behaviour. A cornerstone of his work has been the development and utilisation of principles and methodologies from the fields of the experimental analysis of behaviour and behavioural economics for quantifying motivation and welfare in farm and laboratory animals. This work has set a standard for rigorous, objective assessment of an animal's perceptions of its requirements. Areas where he has applied these methodologies include the identification of thermal thresholds in cattle and the effects of variation in body condition on animal welfare in sheep and cattle. Other areas where Dr. Matthews has demonstrated his aptitude for innovative, yet practical, behavioural science include: the development of non-chemical, humane methods of pain relief for use in farmed deer; development and utilisation of automated blood samplers for use on free-ranging deer to identify humane methods for handling and transporting farmed deer; understanding societal dimensions relevant to the objective assessment of welfare; based on animal learning principles, development and patenting of a novel bird repellent that lessens the risk of harming native birds during mammalian pest control operations; contribution to the design and development of an exclusion barrier that protects indigenous New Zealand's flora and fauna from common mammalian predators.