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REU Student Project Abstract

Imani Fuller Headshot
Imani Fuller
Faculty Mentor(s): Dr. Angela Green-Miller and Dr. Vikram Adve
MEthods in Behavior for Animal Responses
Behavior analysis is the specific study of describing, understanding and predicting animal behavior based on changes within their biological status and environment. While analyzing behavior, it is important to have the experimental goal, developed dataset, and an accurate ethogram. An ethogram is an important tool for evaluating the behavior of all animals but in this case, the specific study was analyzing the behavior of gestating sows. Within the behavior labeling open-source tool, the ethogram was used to active and inactive behaviors. An example of an active behavior would include locomotion, consumption, maintenance, and exploration. An example of an inactive behavior would be laying (sternal, lateral, and on an object), kneeling, standing, and sitting. This behavior analysis was conducted using a dataset collected during the lipopolysaccharide (LPS) study through AIFARMS. The LPS study was completed under the direction of Dr. Ryan Dilger & Dr. Anna Dilger. The LPS injection creates a bacterial response that causes an inflammatory response in pregnant sows to see if it could have an impact and their piglets. For the LPS study, the sows were divided into two treatment groups; control and the group that received the LPS injections during gestation. The behavior data was collected by continuous behavior monitoring using installed video cameras within the barn. This data is then going to be used to develop a behavior ethogram and determine if observers can detect sickness behaviors in pigs receiving the LPS injection. After the sows give birth, the piglets get to stay with the mother for twenty-one days to be provided the nutrition from the mother. To take the experiment even further, the piglets were also injected with the inflammatory response. While the pigs were injected with the inflammatory to see how they would also react to the injection. The outcome of the experiment was that the sows that were injected with the LPS and who were asymptomatic with ammonia ended up passing away from their immune system not being able to fight both of the diseases at the same time.