Dr Gina J Caplen

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

  • BS40 5DU


Research output per year

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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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Research Output

  • 14 Article (Academic Journal)
  • 4 Conference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)
  • 1 Other chapter contribution
Open Access
  • 2 Citations (Scopus)
    235 Downloads (Pure)

    Farmed Bird |Welfare Science Review

    Nicol, C., Bouwsema, J., Caplen, G., Trevarthen, A., Hockenhull, J., Lambton, S., Lines, J., Mullan, S. & Weeks, C., 2017, Farmed Bird Welfare Science Review. Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingOther chapter contribution

    Open Access

    Effects of carprofen, meloxicam and butorphanol on broiler chickens’ performance in mobility tests

    Hothersall, B., Caplen, G. J., Parker, R. M. A., Nicol, C. J., Waterman-Pearson, A. E., Weeks, C. A. & Murrell, J. C., 1 Feb 2016, In : Animal Welfare. 25, 1, p. 55-67 13 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

    Open Access
  • 5 Citations (Scopus)
    288 Downloads (Pure)