Dr Gina J Caplen

B.Sc.(Manc.), M.Sc.(Salf.), Ph.D.(Lond.)

  • BS40 5DU

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Personal profile

Research interests

I currently work on a project aimed at identifying ‘undetected’ sub-clinical disease in dairy cattle using non-invasive physiological markers and altered behaviour. We are particularly interested in identifying differences in social behaviour between cows with and without sub-clinical mastitis. This project builds upon an earlier study that linked behavioural differences with cytokine profiles in pigs free from clinical disease.

 My broad research interests include:

  • The integration of motivational priorities with established welfare indicators to improve the accuracy and sensitivity of animal welfare assessment
  • The development of novel non-invasive physiological welfare indicators in farm animals
  • Cognition, complex decision making and pain experience in poultry
  • The understanding of altered behaviour in sub-clinically ill pigs and cattle and implications for welfare

Hard at work improving chicken welfare



Hobbies include drinking Cheddar Valley

I am a zoologist with experience in field biology, including the UK and India, and a broad interest in linking farm animal behaviour with physiology.  My PhD project ‘Monitoring the reproductive endocrinology of the field vole (Microtus agrestis) – a novel terrestrial biomarker for endocrine disruption’ utilised amperometric biosensor technology to quantify faecal hormone concentrations in wild mammals and involved the development of automated non-invasive collection apparatus for use in the field.  This research was carried out at Silsoe Research Institute and the Institute of Zoology (ZSL); the degree was awarded by KCL.

I joined Bristol University in 2005 to work as a post-doc research assistant on a project concerned with Xenopus welfare within the department of Biological Sciences.  In 2006 I moved over to the Animal Behaviour and Welfare Group at Langford and have since worked on projects involving poultry (layers and broilers), pigs and dairy cattle. I have taught on the BSc (Hons) Animal Behaviour and Welfare and BVSc Veterinary Science degrees and am a post-graduate degree supervisor.


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