Roehampton University PhD Studentship in the Department of Life Sciences 2017, UK

Publish Date: Aug 14, 2017

Deadline: Sep 01, 2017

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Roehampton University PhD Studentship in the Department of Life Sciences

Social networks, personality and social support in goats

Start date: 1 January 2018

Supervisor: Dr AG McElligott (Life Sciences)

This PhD studentship will be supervised by Dr Alan McElligott of the Department of Life Sciences (from 1 Sept 2017).

Dr McElligott’s research group is focussed on developing goats as a model species for comparative cognition and welfare studies. Traditionally, animal welfare research has focussed on identifying and preventing poor welfare. However, preventing poor welfare is not the same as providing animals with opportunities to experience positive welfare. Therefore gaining a better understanding of the cognitive abilities of goats and other livestock is critical for progress. This research will investigate the links between social networks, personality, social support and prosocial behaviour in goats.

The project will include behavioural observations, as well as cognitive and playback experiments. All data collection will be carried at an animal sanctuary, using a large number of habituated animals.

The successful candidate will need to be able to work independently, and as part of a team. They will receive appropriate training for the research, e.g. bioacoustics and other technology for studying behaviour and physiology (e.g. heart rates). It is extremely important that the successful candidate can maintain our excellent working relationship with the host animal sanctuary.

Applicants should have at least a 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in Zoology, Psychology or a related subject and a relevant Master’s degree. International students are required to provide evidence of their proficiency in English language skills.

A full, clean driving license is required, as all data collection will take place at the study site in Kent.

Informal enquiries about the project can be made by email to Dr Alan McElligott at


Briefer E, McElligott AG (2011) Mutual mother-offspring recognition in an ungulate hider species, (Capra hircus). Animal Cognition 14, 585-598.

Briefer EF, McElligott AG (2012) Social effects on vocal ontogeny in an ungulate, the goat (Capra hircus). Animal Behaviour 83, 991-1000.

Briefer EF, McElligott AG (2013) Rescued goats at a sanctuary display positive mood after former neglect. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 145, 45-55.

Briefer EF, Padilla de la Torre M, McElligott AG (2012) Mother goats do not forget their kids' calls. Proceedings of the Royal Society, B 279, 3749-3755.

Briefer EF, Haque S, Baciadonna L, McElligott AG (2014) Goats excel at learning and remembering a highly novel cognitive task. Frontiers in Zoology 11, 20.

Briefer EF, Tettamanti F, McElligott AG (2015) Emotions in goats: mapping physiological, behavioural and vocal profiles. Animal Behaviour 99, 131-143.

Nawroth C, Brett JM, McElligott AG (2016) Goats display audience-dependent human-directed gazing behaviour in a problem-solving task. Biology Letters 12, 20160283.

Pitcher BJ, Briefer EF, Baciadonna L, McElligott AG (2017) Cross-modal recognition of familiar conspecifics in goats. Royal Society Open Science 4, 160346.

The Studentship

This PhD is fully-funded by Roehampton University Dept of Life Sciences and will cover Home/EU fees and provide an annual stipend at current Research Council rates.   International students would need to be able to pay the difference between Home and Overseas fees for the duration of the programme.

Closing Date: Midday on September 1, 2017

Interviews are expected to be held in the week commencing September 18, 2017.

For more information please click "Further Official Information" below.

This opportunity has expired. It was originally published here:

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