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Name of scholarship/program

Vocalisations as a welfare indicator in pigs

Important description
Project detail: -

Acoustic signals are widely used across the animal kingdom and they contain honest information about the state of a signaler such as its quality, health, motivation, or arousal. In several domesticated and non-domesticated species, an individual’s specific state has been associated with the production of distinct vocalisations. In domesticated animals, detailed characterization of vocalisations has been used to assess an individual’s welfare. In domestic pigs, for example, previous research has shown that surgical procedures such as castration cause changes in signaling behaviour by changing the acoustic structure and frequency of calls.

The PhD student on this project will be working closely alongside a large-scale BBSRC-funded research project to identify early warning indicators of poor welfare in commercially raised pigs.

Aims: -

- To measure and analyse group and individual vocalisations in different environmental conditions known to affect pig welfare.
- To assess whether differences between individuals could be explained by individual personality types.
- To measure and analyse group vocalisations in known stressful conditions for pigs, such as during transport.

The PhD supervisor is Dr Lisa Collins and the co-supervisor is Dr Hansjoerg Kunc of Queen's University School of Biological Sciences.

Funding is available to start the PhD from May 1st 2013.

Eligibility and other criteria
This research project has funding attached. Funding for this project is available to citizens of a number of European countries (including the UK). In most cases this will include all EU nationals. However full funding may not be available to all applicants and you should read the full department and project details for further information.

Application deadline
*No more applications being accepted

Additional information, and important URL

Funding is from the Department for Employment and Learning, Northern Ireland.

If you are resident in the UK/EU, please refer to the terms and conditions of DEL postgraduate studentships ( http://go.qub.ac.uk/delterms ) to ascertain whether you are eligible for a studentship covering fees and maintenance or a studentship covering fees only.

Non-EU residents are NOT ELIGIBLE.

Criteria: -

- A 2.1 (or a 2:2 PLUS a MSc with a final grade of at least 60% or equivalent) in biological sciences, veterinary science, animal science or psychology.
- Experience handling pigs or other medium-large mammals.
- A full, valid UK driving license.

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