Bee study boosted by scholarship

Tobias Smith.

A childhood interest in bees has resulted in the receipt of a prestigious Queensland-Smithsonian Fellowship for a PhD student from Queensland University (UQ), Tobias Smith.

The fellowship, valued at $17,000, will allow Smith to further pursue his research on the diversity patterns of bees and flies in tropical rainforests areas, at Smithsonian Research Centres in North and Central America.

Smith is researching pollinator communities in Far North Queensland and exploring the impacts of habitat fragmentation and other landscape change. He has already collected a comprehensive data set on bees and flies during six months of surveys on the Atherton tablelands and aims at highlighting the significance of these insect communities in Queensland’s tropics. Continue reading Bee study boosted by scholarship

Accumulation of ammonia and other potentially noxious gases on live export shipments from Australia to the Middle East

Noxious gases on ships are irritant pollutants that have potential impacts on the comfort and health of both livestock and humans. Identification of environmental influences on the pollutants will assist live exporters to control them.

Ammonia, hydrogen sulphide and carbon dioxide, as well as wet and dry bulb temperature, dew point, air speed and depth of faeces that the sheep stood in, were measured on two ship voyages in which sheep were transported from Australia to the Middle East. Continue reading Accumulation of ammonia and other potentially noxious gases on live export shipments from Australia to the Middle East

Large animal experience a boon to students

Branding at Berrigurra

Branding on-sit at AACC property Berrigurra gave The University of Queensland students the opportunity to get hands-on with large animals as part of their training to become vets.

The national rural veterinary crisis is being actively addressed by Australian Agricultural College Corporation with hands-on training for students at its Berrigurra property.

In a partnership with Queensland University, 22 Bachelor of Veterinary Science students in second and third year have spent two weeks getting hands-on with large animals.

In an industry where 90 per cent of graduates are female and the average age of a rural vet is 50, there is a serious need for young blood, Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation Primary Industry Beef Extension Officer, John Bertram said.
“This program gets students who have a career vision of working in a small animal clinic with cats and dogs, out to the bush working on a large beef cattle property, doing things like preg testing, branding and working with horses,” he said. Continue reading Large animal experience a boon to students

A cat’s game of hide and seek

Hiding may play an important role in relaxing cats according to University of Queensland honours student Mark Owens.

Working in the Centre of Animal Welfare and Ethics , Owens’ project focuses on the behaviour and welfare of domestic cats in shelters.

“Welfare is a major issue in many countries for animals that are kept in cages, shelters and captive environments like zoos,” he said.

The study looks at cats’ behaviours and emotions, which indicate if they are feeling stressed, anxious, frustrated or content and examines 37 cats over seven days.

Half the cats Owens is observing are provided with a hiding box, and the remaining cats are in open view.

“A big part of my research is whether hiding provides a certain type of enrichment for cats in stressful situations,” Owens said.

“Unfortunately I am not sitting in a room playing and watching cats, I have pre-recorded the cats for 24 hours over seven days, and have just finished coding their behaviours on the videos,” he said.

A cat’s position in the cage, its posture and certain escape behaviours are all observations that contribute to identifying their emotions, stress levels and ability to adapt to their environment. Continue reading A cat’s game of hide and seek

$10,000 scholarship for animal welfare research

An annual $10,000 scholarship to support research into improving farm animal welfare has been launched.
The Rosalind Dixon Memorial Scholarship for Farm Animal Welfare Research is supported by the University of Queensland (UQ) Centre for Animal Welfare and Ethics and the Humane Society International.
Co-ordinated by UQ’s Centre for Animal Welfare and Ethics, the scholarship is available to students undertaking Honours or postgraduate research into issues in intensive farming at any Australian university.
The scholarship was donated by Garth Dixon, in memory of his wife Rosalind Dixon. The Dixons have made a long-stranding contribution to the preservation of native vegetation in NSW.
“I have had exposure to the suffering that factory farmed animals endure,” Dixon said. Continue reading $10,000 scholarship for animal welfare research