Animal Behavior Laboratory

Members of the Oakland Zoo's Chimpanzee Behavioral Observation Team conduct observer reliability testing for collaborative projects with ABL and IIHAN.

Animal Well-being

Our current welfare projects focus on the well-being of managed animals through scientific-based evaluation and assessment.

Current Projects

Laboratory Primate Behavioral Management

Research on animal management (human-animal interactions, enrichment efficacy), social factors that contribute to or against social stability in large socially-housed groups, and the emergence of behavioral impairments in rhesus macaques housed in National Primate Research Centers. 

Chimpanzees in Sanctuaries and Zoos

Inform chimpanzee management decisions by the collection of quantitative observation data by graduate students, trained and reliable observers, and UC Davis interns with the specific focus on identifying triggers of severe aggression; factors contributing to stable social groups composed of human-reared, non-reproductive individuals; and to promote psychological well-being of chimpanzees in zoos and sanctuaries.

Fundamental Properties of Dolphin Affect/Emotion

To understand the fundamental properties of dolphin emotional experience to both inform how the external environment influences dolphin conceptualization of affect and to identify subtle emotional signals which could be monitored to detect changes in well-being long before biological indicators (e.g., poor appetite, unwillingness to participate in tasks or training) become evident.  This project is being conducted in collaboration with Dr. Eliza Bliss-Moreau.

See Institutional Affiliations for a list of collaborative institutions.

Past Projects

Poultry Welfare

Experiment comparing the effects of no feed versus non-nutritive feed on physiological stress levels during molting, and on the effects of housing on behavioral stress indicators

Dairy Production

Experiments on the effects of playback of calf vocalizations as a noninvasive technique for enhancing milk production in dairy cows.