Postdoctoral candidate in social behaviour, cognition, communication and welfare of goats
My research group is focussed on developing goats as model species for comparative cognition and welfare studies. In doing so, we hope to further an appreciation of the need for excellent animal welfare practices in this and other livestock species. Traditionally, animal welfare research 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. I have potential comparative cognition and behaviour PhD research projects, using goats as the model species. The topics are open to discussion, but may include: emotions, social networks, long-term memory and recognition, social learning, personality, physical and social cognition, and vocal communication.
The project will potentially combine behavioural observations, cognition experiments, as well as playback experiments and bioacoustics. 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, as well as working as part of a team. It is extremely important that the successful candidate can maintain our excellent working relationship with the host animal sanctuary.
This is an exciting time for the University; our new £35m state-of-the art library has just opened and we are continuing to develop a number of external partnerships across the globe.
We have a strong emphasis on supporting our students to reach their full potential in order to launch themselves onto successful graduate careers and we are embarking on a radical programme of enhancement in learning and teaching across all our academic areas. ‘In the Complete University Guide 2018, Roehampton is the highest-ranked modern university in London. Modern, or new, universities are defined as those granted university status post-1992. Complete University Guide does not itself define modern universities and does not produce a separate league table in which these are ranked.’
The University has a beautiful, vibrant parkland campus, is located in the heart of south-west London and offers excellent facilities for researching, learning, teaching and working.
Applicants wishing to apply for Marie Sklodowska Curie Individual Fellowship, or funding through science foundations in Germany, Switzerland and France (or any others) are welcomed. If interested, please send an email that briefly outlines a research idea, a short CV, and sources of funding that you have identified.
Baciadonna L, McElligott AG (2015) The use of judgement bias to assess welfare in farm livestock. Animal Welfare 24, 81-91.
Briefer EF, McElligott AG (2011) Mutual mother-offspring recognition in an ungulate hider species, (Capra hircus). Animal Cognition 14, 585-598.
Briefer EF, McElligott AG (2011) Indicators of age, body size and sex in goat kid calls revealed using the source-filter theory. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 133, 175-185.
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.
Briefer EF, Oxley J, McElligott AG (2015) Autonomic nervous system reactivity in a free-ranging mammal: effects of dominance rank and personality. Animal Behaviour 110, 121-132.
Nawroth C, Baciadonna L, McElligott AG (2016) Goats learn socially from humans in a spatial problem-solving task. Animal Behaviour 121, 123-129.
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.
Spence CE, Osman M, McElligott AG (2017) Theory of Animal Mind: Human Nature or Experimental Artefact? Trends in Cognitive Sciences 21, 333-343