It has been long recognised that species vary markedly in their responses to captivity. Some are typified by being easy to care for and breed, with few health or behavioural issues. However others, even closely related species, are much harder to cater for and instead welfare issues are commonplace. By comparing across species using phylogenetic comparative methods, valuable insights into the fundamental evolutionary bases of such problems can be gained. Widespread in evolutionary research and well-used by conservation biologists, these methods are currently underutilised and a relatively novel methodology for zoo-based research. From the very beginning of my university education, these fascinating species differences have been an ongoing theme in my intellectual interest and research. Here, I detail my route into zoo research using phylogenetic comparative methods to understand species differences in welfare, across three taxonomic groups: Carnivora, Psittaciformes, and Lemuriformes. Using examples from my PhD research, I illustrate why these species differences are important, and how they can be used to investigate evolutionary bases of welfare problems. Via testing hypotheses about why species differences occur, I describe the practical and fundamental welfare benefits to be gained, based on findings. I finish with my future research plans on the species differences theme, and single-species projects directly inspired by my comparative work.
|Title of host publication||21st British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums Research Conference|
|Publication status||Published - 8 Jul 2019|
|Event||21st British and Irish Assoication of Zoos and Aquariums Research Conference - Welsh Mountain Zoo - National Zoological Society of Wales, Llandudno , United Kingdom|
Duration: 8 Jul 2019 → 10 Jul 2019
|Conference||21st British and Irish Assoication of Zoos and Aquariums Research Conference|
|Abbreviated title||BIAZA Research Conference|
|Period||8/07/19 → 10/07/19|