- BA - University of Chicago - Biology - 1988
- MS - University of Maryland - Zoology - 1996
Research Interest Summary
Environmental enrichment & conservation of endangered species
Project: Bioacoustics of the laboratory guinea pig (Cavia aperea f. porcellus): behavioral responses to anthropogenic noise Environmental enrichment is most often associated with the concept of increasing environmental complexity. Yet, captive environments are not only devoid of biologically salient stimuli and physical characteristics, they are also replete with evolutionarily novel experiences. For instance, laboratory animals are exposed to a variety of potentially disturbing noises associated with routine husbandry procedures, including noise from cage washers, vacuum cleaners and high-pressure hoses. However, there has been little research on the effects of such noises on laboratory animal behavior and welfare. The immediate goal of this study is to characterize the behavioral responses of a commonly used laboratory animal species, the guinea pig, to the acoustic environment in a typical laboratory setting. The intent is to identify acoustic events that guinea pigs find disturbing as indicated by the guinea pigs choice to enter a sound-dampened shelter. The long-term goals of this study are to investigate the potential validity of using a simple sound-dampened shelter as a non-invasive behavioral assay to identify noises any animal species, wild or domesticated, finds distressing and as a form of enrichment for any animal species housed in captivity.