Dr. luca melotti
I studied Animal Science at the University of Bologna, Italy, and conducted my Master's thesis on environmental enrichment for laboratory dogs at the University of Cordoba, Spain.
For my PhD (2007-2011), supervised by Prof. Mike Mendl and Dr. Suzanne Held at the University of Bristol, UK, I studied personality in relation to social and environmental challenge in pigs, focussing on coping strategies, impulsivity, cognitive flexibility among other traits.
Following this, I undertook a 5-year postdoctoral position (2011-2016) at the University of Bern, Switzerland. Under the supervision of Prof. Hanno Würbel, I explored personality traits in animals and how they relate to emotion, cognition, and animal welfare, in a variety of species (rats, mice, dogs). My main focus was on how certain traits, e.g. playfulness or explorativeness, can influence the emotional response of an animal, and that of other animals, therefore impacting welfare. Further, I focussed on developing and applying outcome measures specifically aimed at measuring these emotional responses.
Since July 2017, I have started a postdoctoral position under Prof. Helene Richter at the Behavioural Biology and Animal Welfare Research Group, University of Münster, which continues my research on animal personality and welfare. This research centres on the developmental plasticity of behaviour, cognition and emotion in animals, by investigating individual differences resulting from divergent environmental conditions and experiences. My ultimate research aim is two-fold, to understand species- and individual- specific needs of animals, and to provide a scientific basis for the assessment and improvement of animal welfare.