School of Animal Biology

Agricultural Science honours

 

Applications

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Honours Coordinators

Other study areas:

Ram

The clean, green, ethical concept drives our research in the science of animal production.

Consumers are increasingly demanding animal products that are:

  • clean - minimal use of hormones, drugs and chemicals,
  • green - minimal environmental footprint,
  • ethical - maximise animal welfare.

The focus is on pasture-based production systems, but we also work with intensive industries (pigs, chickens, dairy), including aquaculture. Many of these projects are conducted in collaboration with CSIRO and the Western Australian State Government Department of Agriculture and Food.

  1. Integrated pest management
  2. Behavioural science: animal ethics and welfare
  3. Reproductive physiology and technology
  4. Rumen function
  5. Dynamic and quantitative nutrition: diet formulation
  6. Extension, uptake and change in animal industry
  7. Aquaculture
  8. Genetics and animal breeding
  9. Grazing behaviour and landscape systems

Integrated pest management

With many invasive and pest species of plants and animals evolving resistance to conventional (chemical) methods of control there is a growing need to adopt a pluralistic approach to combating these pests. This involves understanding the ecology of pest animals and using their natural enemies and the weak-links in their life histories to achieve pest control.

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Behavioural science: animal ethics and welfare

We study the biological mechanisms that underpin temperament, anxiety and stress in sheep, and the consequences of selection for temperament on production, behaviour and welfare. This research has expanded to other stress-affected aspects of the production process: reproduction, growth rate, immune function, milk yield and meat quality.

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Reproductive physiology and technology

We study the brain and hormonal systems that regulate reproduction and how they are influenced by environmental factors – nutrition, season, socio-sexual signals (pheromones) and stress. As with behavioural studies, these projects often include collaboration with the Neuroscience discipline. We also have an extensive program on reproductive technology in game birds, with special expertise in the emu and ostrich.

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Rumen function

The molecular and microbial ecology of gastrointestinal microorganisms is critical to our attempts to make ruminant production more ‘clean, green and ethical'. At present, we are focussing on the screening of Australian native perennial shrub species for phytochemicals that will act as alternatives to antibiotic growth promoters, reduce methane emissions and control internal parasites.

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Dynamic and quantitative nutrition: diet formulation

We work in general ruminant physiology, the dynamics of nutrient metabolism and quantitative nutrition in ruminant and non-ruminant animals. This involves partnerships to commercial feed manufacturing companies.

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Extension, uptake and change in animal industry

The aim is to develop and implement best practice in the management of innovation processes in the agricultural sector. This is particularly important for improving outcomes from publicly funded research in the extensive livestock industries, where there has been limited success in the diffusion and implementation of new technologies.

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Aquaculture

This partnership with the Western Australian State Government Department of Fisheries focuses on freshwater bony fish and crustacean. Primary techniques include biology, reproduction, genetics and breeding.

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Genetics and animal breeding

Quantitative and molecular genetics can provide long-term solutions to many problems in livestock industries. The aim is to give producers the ability to select efficiently for improvements in critical factors such as reproductive efficiency and the quantity and quality of products. The current frontiers include resistance and resilience to parasites, and methane production.

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Grazing behaviour and landscape systems

There is an increasing understanding that domestic livestock are capable of foraging in complex landscapes in a manner that increases productivity. Our interest is in understanding how including native plant species alongside traditional forage crops can simultaneously promote production, increase the biodiversity of farmland and decrease methane production from ruminants animals.

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Last updated:
Tuesday, 18 November, 2014 4:53 PM

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