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K-State Today

May 3, 2019

Anatomy and physiology department hosts animal behavior and welfare expert from Ireland

Submitted by Joe Montgomery

Dr. Gareth Arnott

The anatomy and physiology department will host Gareth Arnott, a senior lecturer from Queen's University in Belfast, Northern Ireland, during the week of May 6-10.

Arnott's research is focused on animal contest behaviors using predictions derived from game theory to better understand the information-gathering and decision-making processes underlying aggressive interactions. He has worked with a number of animal systems and species, including invertebrates. Arnott will present two seminars on his work in livestock and companion animals while he is at the College of Veterinary Medicine.

"We are excited to host Dr. Arnott, senior lecturer, as his group was one of the first to examine the effect of gender on play behavior in piglets," said Hans Coetzee, head of anatomy and physiology. "His research provides unique insights into how managing early life experiences in farm animals might impact later-life behavior, specifically aggression within captive settings."

Coetzee praised Arnott as one of an elite group of European scientists who is working to identify ways to understand and assess animal emotion and how this may impact animal welfare.

"Dr. Arnott's diverse background studying animal contest behavior across a broad spectrum of animals, including hermit crabs, fish and farm animals, also provides him a unique perspective into understanding behavioral ecology and complex systems," Coetzee added.

Arnott will present his first seminar at noon Wednesday, May 8, in Frick Auditorium in Mosier Hall. The title of the seminar is "Why do animals fight? How understanding animal contest behavior can advance animal welfare." He will present the second seminar at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, May 9, in the Mara Conference Center in Trotter Hall. The topic is, "An interdisciplinary approach to animal welfare."