Writtle students present research at specialist conference

April 2019

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(NOTE: This is an archived press release.)

Writtle University College PhD students, Dr Holly Hodges and Sarah Jowett, successfully presented their research to the Animal Science community during the ASAB Easter Conference.

The three day event took place at the University of York from 3-5 April 2019. It was aimed at postgraduate students and postdoctoral researchers studying animal behaviour.

Holly achieved her PhD while working with Writtle academics, including Dr Jonathan Amory and Dr Zoe Barker, on the Cow Tracking Project.

This ground-breaking programme has been featured by media outlets including the BBC. It pioneers the use of wireless tracking sensors and mathematical techniques to develop an automated early warning system for welfare problems in dairy cows.

Holly’s work revealed the influence of factors, including disease, on social position in a network based on automatic monitoring. The research was conducted using sensors from Omnisense.

Third year PhD student Sarah Jowett also shared her findings. Her work looks at the social structures of a dynamic sow herd or, in layman’s terms, ‘do pigs have friends?’ She revealed the social and environmental challenges intensive farming can present to commercial pigs.

Dr Jonathan Amory, who accompanied the students, was pleased by the conference’s success: “It is great to see our PhD students from Animal Science presenting alongside other students from the leading animal behaviour research institutions.”