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Department of Veterinary Medicine

Cambridge Veterinary School

Animal Welfare and Conservation Group


Gareth’s research group focuses on three main areas: (1) animal health - welfare - behaviour interactions in farm animals particularly cattle and pigs; (2) ecology and conservation of wild animals particularly aquatic animals; (3) animal paleopathology - the study of disease and injury in animal remains from archaeological sites to inform our understanding of human-animal interactions in the past. 


Research has included analysis of behavioural and physiological indicators of stress and individual temperament in dairy cattle in the UK, methods to assess the welfare of cattle in Nepal, use of social network analysis to investigate disease dynamics and welfare in populations of free-living wild animals (meerkats in the South African Kalahari) and farmed animals (Atlantic salmon in Norway),  use of underwater ultrasonography and stereo video photogammetry to study the reproductive ecology of reef manta rays and reconstruction of activities in life in horses from Early Modern England from skeletal bone adaptations.


Key publications: 

Google Scholar - list of all publications  

Lessons from lesions: a ONE paleopathological approach to understanding entheseal change in elite horses from post-medieval England. Richard Thomas, Rachel Small, Riley Snyder, Eric Tourigny and Gareth Pearce. (2024). 51st Annual North American Meeting of the Paleopathology Association, Los Angeles, March 2024.

Use of underwater contactless ultrasonography to elucidate the internal anatomy and reproductive activity of manta and devil rays (family: Mobulidae). Niv Froman, Marie-Aude Genain, Guy M. W. Stevens, Gareth P. Pearce (2023). Journal of Fish Biology, 1– 19.

Identifying cow temperament to reduce incidence of infectious disease and improve milk yield in early lactation. Britten, N. and Pearce, G. P. (2022). World Buiatrics Congress, Madrid, Sept 2022: Cattle Welfare I: 7. 

Utilising infra-red thermography to evaluate rumen development in dairy youngstock. Britten, N., Hopper, R. and Pearce, G. P. (2022). World Buiatrics Congress, Madrid, Sept 2022: Nutrition & Metabolism Diseases I: 11.

Temperament, health and fertility outcomes in dairy cattle. Britten, N. and Pearce, G. P. (2021) Advances in Animal Biosciences 12: 125.

Laterality and temperament in dairy cattle. Britten, N. and Pearce, G. P. (2021) Recent Advances in Animal Welfare Science VIII.

Quantifying temperament using behavioural testing in adult dairy cattle. Britten, N. and Pearce, G. P. (2021) Advances in Animal Biosciences 12: 124.

Laterality and social behaviour in dairy cattle. Britten, N. and Pearce, G. P. (2021) Recent Advances in Animal Welfare Science VIII.

Investigating the relationship between temperament and social role in dairy cattle. Britten, N. and Pearce, G. P. (2020) Advances in Animal Biosciences 11: 183. Download full text in PDF

Underwater, contactless and portable ultrasonography: a new non-invasive methodology to study the internal anatomy and reproduction of reef manta rays. Froman, N., Genain, M-A., Stevens, G., Rochester, R., Dunbar, L. and Pearce, G. (2019). Australian Marine Sciences Association "Marine Science for a Blue Economy" Conference 2019: 95.

Factors influencing whitetip (Triaenodon obesus) and blacktip (Carcharhinus melanopterus) reef shark sightings associated with the dive tourism industry. Selman, R., Prokop, N., Restif, O., Froman, N. and Pearce, G. (2019). Australian Marine Sciences Association "Marine Science for a Blue Economy" Conference 2019: 228.

A forced lateralisation test for dairy cows and its relation to their behaviour. Amira Goma, Gareth Pearce, Jashim Uddin, Eloise Rimon, Harriet Davies and Clive Phillips (2018).  Applied Animal Behaviour Science.

Over-expression of antibiotic resistance genes in hospital effluents over time. Will Rowe, Craig Baker-Austin, David W. Verner-Jeffreys, Jim J. Ryan, Christianne Micallef, Duncan J. Maskell, Gareth P. Pearce (2017)  Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy

Evaluating the effects of a short-term feed restriction period on the behavior and welfare of Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar, parr using social network analysis and fin damage. Cañon-Jones, H.A., Noble, C., Damsgård, B. and Pearce, G.P. (2016). Journal of the World Aquaculture Society doi: 10.1111/jwas.12322

Comparative metagenomics reveals a diverse range of antimicrobial resistance genes in effluents entering a river catchment. Will Rowe, David W. Verner-Jeffreys, Craig Baker-Austin, Jim J. Ryan, Duncan J. Maskell, Gareth P. Pearce (2015) Water Science and Technology 73(7), 1541-1549.

Lateralization of behavior in dairy cows in response to conspecifics and novel persons. Phillips, C.J.C., Oevermans, H., Syrett, K.L., Jespersen, A.Y. and Pearce, G.P. (2015). Journal of Dairy Science. 98(4):2389-2400.

Molecular identification of poxviruses associated with epidermal lesions in UK cetaceans. Blacklaws, B.A, Gajda, A.M., Tippelt, S., Jepson, P.D., Deaville, R., Van Bressem, M-F. and Pearce, G.P. (2013) PLoS ONE 8(8): e71734.

Integrating contact network structure into tuberculosis epidemiology in meerkats in South Africa: Implications for control .Drewe, J. A., Eames, K. T., Madden, J. R., and Pearce, G. P. (2011). Preventive Veterinary Medicine, 101(1-2), 113-120.

Teaching and Supervisions

Research supervision: 

Research Students


Nick Britten- Social dynamics in dairy cows. 2018-2022

Niv Froman -  Reproductive ecology of the reef manta ray. 2018-2024.


Samiksha Sen - Evaluation of animal welfare education and awareness in Nepal. 2022-2023.

Recent Previous Research Students


Cristina Acasuso-Rivero - Welfare of captive bottlenose dolphins. 2015-2019

Will Rowe. Antimicrobial resistance gene monitoring in aquatic environments. 2011-2015. 

Hernan Canon-Jones: Social network analysis of behavioural interactions influencing the development of fin damage in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar). 2008- 2011. 

Julian Drewe: Social networks and infectious disease transmission: epidemiology of tuberculosis in wild meerkats. 2005 – 2009. 


Dr Gareth  Pearce
Associate Professor in Farm Animal Health and Production
Fellow & Director of Studies in Pre-clinical and Clinical Veterinary Medicine
Takes PhD students
Available for consultancy


Person keywords: 
Antimicrobial resistance
Animal welfare science
Veterinary Education
Biosciences and Biotechnology Research Council