Dr Davina Hill
- Lecturer in Welfare Physiology (Physiology Ageing & Welfare)
0141 330 2379
236c Jarrett Building, Garscube, Glasgow, G61 1QH
I was appointed Lecturer in Welfare Physiology at the University of Glasgow in November 2019.
I previously worked as Senior Lecturer in Zoology at the University of Cumbria (2016-19), Quantitative Animal Scientist at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC; 2012-16) and National Research Foundation Freestanding Fellow at the University of the Witwatersrand (2010-12).
I am an active mentor for PhD students in my roles as a Postgraduate Research Convenor for SBOHVM and lead for the British Society of Animal Science’s postgraduate statistics workshop since 2013.
My research investigates how animals cope with the stresses associated with environmental change. From an applied perspective, my work aims to help farming adapt to climate change by improving our understanding of animals’ responses to weather-related stressors. This has implications for welfare, productivity, feed efficiency and sustainability.
I also carry out fundamental research on how alternative life history strategies can help animals cope with environmental change, particularly in socially-flexible species. I hold a Visiting Researcher position at the University of the Witwatersrand to investigate hormonal and energetic aspects of sociality in free-living rodents. In addition, I am investigating variation in behavioural plasticity in response to the thermal environment, and the extent to which this might help species deal with the challenges of climate change and urbanisation.
Current themes include
- Effects of weather and the social environment on productivity, behaviour and disease in dairy cows
- Resource allocation strategies in dairy cows
- Effects of climate and urbanisation on life history strategies in bats, dormice and hedgehogs
- Alternative Reproductive Tactics in rodents
- Sex differences in parental care
- Implementation of novel disease surveillance methods in low-income communities
I welcome enquiries from potential research students and postdoctoral scientists with ideas relating to behavioural and physiological responses to environmental change; stress physiology; thermal biology and life history strategies with a view to preparing funding applications. Current or recent study systems include dairy cows and free-living rodents, bats and hedgehogs.
Information on applying for a PhD at the University of Glasgow can be found here. In the UK, PhD students need funding to cover fees, research costs and living costs. This scholarship-finding tool may be helpful. Funding schemes include NERC CASE studentships and Commonwealth Scholarships. If you would like to study for a PhD in my group, please get in touch outlining a) your proposed research questions, b) why you would like to join this group in particular and c) how you intend to fund your studies.
Current research students
- Almulla, Alya
Assessing the effects of climate change on an invasive species, the edible dormouse
- Hodnik, Jaka Jakob
Effects of temperature, humidity, light levels and air pollution on production output and disease incidence in dairy cows
- Cook, John
Management factors associated with transition success in dairy cows
I usually supervise three MSc projects in Animal Welfare Science and two BSc Honours projects per year.
Completed research students
- Findlay-Robinson, Rachel (PhD 2018-21, lead supervisor)
Climatic effects on life history in the hazel dormouse, Muscardinus avellanarius.
Rachel was co-supervised by Dr Volker Deecke (University of Cumbria) and Dr Andrew Weatherall (RSPB). Rachel is now Lecturer in Animal Behaviour at the University of the West of Scotland.
As of March 2023, I have also supervised 1 PhD exchange student, 1 MRes student, 7 MSc students, 2 postgraduate Honours students (South Africa) and 23 BSc Honours students to completion.
I am deputy programme lead for MSc Animal Welfare Science, Ethics and Law and co-ordinate two of its courses:
- BIOL5116 Animal Welfare Assessment
- BIOL5127 Animal Legislation and Societal Issues
For the same programme I also contribute to
- BIOL5114 Animal Ethics
- BOL5115 Animal Welfare Science
- BIOL5126 Key Research Skills
- BIOL5134P Research project
My undergraduate teaching includes:
Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery
- Digestion (Year 1)
BSc Veterinary Bioscience
- VETSCI1006 Digestive Physiology and Metabolism (Year 1)
I created and lead the annual British Society of Animal Science (BSAS) R and Statistics Workshop (2013 to present), a residential course aimed at PhD students and professional scientists.
I am External Examiner at the University of Derby for
- BSc Zoology (Hons)
- BSc Biology (Hons)
- Certificate of Credit in Tropical Marine Biology.
Professional activities & recognition
- 2022: Journal of Thermal Biology
Professional & learned societies
- 2006: Member, Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour
- 2013: Member; R and Statistics Workshop lead, British Society of Animal Science
- 2016: Member, British Ecological Society
- 2016: Member, Animal Welfare Research Network
- 2017: Member, Royal Society of Biology
- 2017: Fellow, Higher Education Academy / Advance HE
- 2018: Certified Animal Scientist; Panel member for personal accreditation, British Society of Animal Science
- 2018: Member, International Society for Behavioral Ecology
Selected international presentations
- 2018: UK-Israel conference on Climate Change and Food Systems (organised by the British Council and the UK Science and Innovation Network), invited speaker and panel chair (Tel Aviv, Israel)
- 2018: 17th Biennial Congress of the International Society for Behavioral Ecology (contributed talk and invited moderator for Social Behavior) (Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA)