Dr Paul Rose

Department: College of Life & Environmental Sciences
Discipline: Psychology
Research Centre/Unit: Centre for Research in Animal Behaviour

Project Summary

Overall, my research is attempting to understand the application of social networks analysis to zoo animal biology. My research into the social organisation of flamingo involves all species at WWT Slimbridge, comprising of flocks from all three genera of these birds; the lesser flamingo (Phoeniconaias minor), the greater (Phoenicopterus rosesus), Chilean (P. chilensis) and the Caribbean flamingo (P. ruber) and the Andean flamingo (Phoenicoparrus andinus) and James' flamingo (P. jamesi). Alongside of data collection at Slimbridge I am supervising MSc students who are collecting the same behavioural data at other UK collections. 

Data are being collected on i) overall activity budgets for individuals in a flock to determine daily changes in behaviour, ii) partner-preference and nearest neighbour to determine patterns of non-random association with each flock, iii) which birds are flock leaders or are followers, which birds give or receive more aggressive interactions, and which birds initiate reproductively-driven / group courtship displays, and finally iv) the overall enclosure utilisation for each species to ascertain preferential areas and which types of behaviour predominantly occur in what specific area of the flamingo's enclosure.

I would also like to assess how to define "positive welfare" activity in captive flamingos (and other birds), looking at (potentially) non-invasive measures of stress as well as the effects of the captive environment (e.g. enclosure design) on bird time-activity budgets. 

Wider Research Interests

Overall, my wider research interests encompass the field of evidence-based zoo animal management. Investigating how changes to provision (husbandry, management protocols) can affect the behaviour and "value" (from a conservation and education perspective) of those species that are kept, as well as using the evidence that research brings to better understand how to provide for captive wild animals within our care.