Dairy cattle are exposed to stressors that negatively impact health, fertility, welfare and production. Health and climate experts predict that exposure to stressors (i.e. pathogens and extreme temperature events) will increase as climate conditions continue to destabilize. Due to increased antimicrobial resistance, there is urgent need to explore alternative strategies to promote animal health; it is anticipated that genetic selection for increased stress resilience will yield healthier animals that will live longer and be more productive.
Grizzly bears reside on changing landscapes across Alberta, Canada. The goal of this study is to determine how disturbances in the landscape affect the health of grizzly bears. This will be monitored by analyzing the (1) expression of proteins in skin that are associated with energetics, reproduction, and stress and (2) concentrations of hormones in hair that are associated with reproductive status and long-term stress. In collaboration with the Foothills Research Institute (FRI), skin and hair samples will be collected from free-ranging grizzly bears in Alberta, Canada.
Genomics is a field of science exploring the structure and function of DNA sequences. Genomic tools have provided new opportunities to accurately select animals for the traits of interest in livestock production. This project will explore the genome regions in American mink using the information from a large number of DNA sequences. The main idea of this exercise is to develop the appropriate tools for genomic selection in American mink.
The Dolphin and Union caribou herd is integral to Inuit culture, subsistence and identity. Preliminary local and scientific knowledge both indicate that this caribou herd is declining and in poorer health than before. We need to bring everyone together and use everything we know about Dolphin and Union caribou, the environment and the other animals to help protect and care for these animals.
This project aims to develop a novel collection of probiotics for animal health, specifically newborn and pre-weaned calves. Probiotics are a safe and sustainable way of ensuring the health of animals in the agricultural industry. The probiotics will be designed to decrease the morbidity and mortality rates in pre-weaned calves, and to increase the long-term health of the animal, which will directly affect production (both beef and dairy).
Regular exercise has also been associated with positive effects on the health and mood of dogs, although extreme exertion, such as that experienced by sporting dogs, can lead to activity-related injuries and a reduction in welfare. Sporting dogs commonly experience gastrointestinal upset, but trainers tend to not recognize the importance of dietary fiber to support gut health.
This project will develop a life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) model that will characterize beef production impacts on biodiversity across Canada. The outcomes of this project will provide science-based information regarding the impact of beef cattle production on biodiversity thereby providing greater transparency and improved public confidence in the beef sector. Further, it will give producers the knowledge necessary to engage with the general public, regarding the environmental, social and economic benefits of the beef industry.
Conservation of endangered species has become increasingly urgent. This is evident given the rate of species extinction has increased by 100 to 1000-fold, and global biodiversity has decreased. With current climatic changes, these concerns will only grow. Assisted reproductive technologies can play a vital role in endangered species conservation. Many approaches are currently being utilized or explored, including animal cloning. Unfortunately, cloned animals are not genetically pure and therefore are not valuable for use in breeding programs.
Pigeons can act as pests for the ability to spread disease as well as ruin infrastructure with their excrement. At Skytrain stations, they cause delays by triggering intrusion alarms as well as erode infrastructure. By attempting to reduce population numbers using a type of avian reproductive control that does not effect the environment or other species called Ovocontrol P, we can attempt to reduce population numbers in a humane way that does not involve culling the pigeons.
Feather pecking (FP) in egg-laying hens, where individuals peck at other birds to pull out and eat their feathers, is a challenge for the sector with large economic and welfare implications. It is especially of concern in systems where birds are housed in large social groups as it is harder to control.
With new policies in Canada leading to the transition from conventional cage to alternative housing systems, it becomes imperative to reduce the risk of large scale FP outbreaks.