Members of our group work collaboratively on a number of interdisciplinary research projects with multiple stakeholders (government, industry, community groups, and other scientists) locally and internationally. The research we conduct falls into three broad areas:
Responsible Interactions with Wildlife
People seek ‘close encounters’ with wild animals, whether in natural habitats (e.g. visiting mountain gorillas in Rwanda or swimming with orcas in Norway) or zoos and aquaria. Without proper evaluation, we do not really know the impact of these intimate encounters. Do they change the participants’ knowledge, their attitudes towards conservation or facilitate behaviour change? Also how does the encounter impact on the behaviour and welfare of the animals involved in the encounter?
Study species: Primates (particularly great apes); felids (exotic & domestic); pinnipeds; dingoes; sharks.
Evaluation of Community Conservation and Citizen Science Projects
Several members of our group are part of the ‘Discovery Circle’ Citizen Science group, based at the University of South Australia, running and evaluating projects that provide opportunities for the public to contribute to scientific research, and help us understand how people feel about and interact with local wildlife (e.g. ‘Cat Tracker’ and ‘Flukerpost’ projects; http://www.discoverycircle.org.au/about-us/).
Members of our group work closely with Rachel Lowry (Director) and her Wildlife Conservation and Science team at ‘Zoos Victoria’ to evaluate community conservation and visitor engagement projects (e.g. ‘seal-the-loop’ marine wildlife entanglement; ‘don’t palm us off’ palm oil labelling; ‘they’re calling on you’ mobile phone recycling; ‘love your locals’ raising profile of 20 Victorian terrestrial species).
Applied Animal Behaviour, Cognition and Welfare
As ambassadors for their wild counterparts, animals that are housed in optimal zoo or sanctuary environments have the potential to inspire, affect, educate and reconnect human visitors to nature. More recently, members of our group have investigated personality in animals (great apes and felids) and considered how personality assessment can be used to improved welfare and management of pet cats and animals in zoos.
Study species: primates (orangutans, chimpanzees, gorillas, siamangs), pinnipeds (Australian sea-lions, Californian sea-lions, New Zealand fur seals, leopard seals), felids (caracals, servals, cheetahs, lions, tigers, leopards), giant tortoises, giant pandas, canids (African painted dogs, dingoes) common hippopotamus, parrots (long-billed corellas, galahs).
Areas of study and research
- Health Research
- Alliance for Research in Exercise, Nutrition and Activity (ARENA)
- Centre for Cancer Biology
- Centre for Drug Discovery and Development
- Centre for Population Health Research
- Centre of Research Excellence for the Prevention of Chronic Conditions in Rural and Remote High Risk Populations
- International Centre for Allied Health Evidence
- Medicine and Device Surveillance CRE
- Quality Use of Medicines and Pharmacy Research Centre
and Social Sciences
- Art, Architecture and Design
- Communication, International Studies and Languages
- Psychology, Social Work and Social Policy
- Hawke Research Institute
- Asia Pacific Centre for Work Health and Safety
- Australian Centre for Child Protection
- Barbara Hardy Institute
- Centre for Research in Education
- Hawke EU Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence
- Centre for Islamic Thought and Education
- International Centre for Muslim and non-Muslim Understanding
- Research Centre for Languages and Cultures
- Zero Waste SA Research Centre for Sustainable Design and Behaviour (sd+b)
IT, Engineering and
- Future Industries Institute
- UniSA College