Jack awarded scholarship to explore fish behaviour

BSc Wildlife Conservation and Ecology graduate Jack Wootton spent the summer studying how fish respond to reflective stimuli after being awarded a research scholarship by the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW).

Jack, who is passionate about fish welfare and is particularly keen to improve the living conditions of fish in aquaria, applied for his scholarship while studying for his degree. He spent three months working with guppies at the University of Chester, recording whether and how the fishes’ behaviour was affected by the reflective surface created by standard glass.

His research, which has not been carried out to this depth before, is aimed at improving the welfare of fish commonly kept as pets.  He is currently working on a research paper which he hopes will be published in 2016 and is keen to continue his research with different species of fish.

Jack completed a Level 3 Diploma in Animal Management with us in 2010 and then spent two years working in Borneo and in the UK industry. Returning to education, he completed a Foundation Degree in Animal Behaviour and Welfare followed by a one year top-up to a BSc. During his studies, he gained relevant work experience in the fish department of our Animal Centre.

Jack said:  “I thoroughly enjoyed working with UFAW and hope that my research will help to improve the welfare of fish in aquaria. Although my true passion is for conservation I found the scientific study incredibly interesting and I would be keen to continue for a Masters degree or PhD. Being a Reaseheath student definitely played an integral part in building my passion for aquatic life and furthering my career”.

Helen Kay, Higher Education Support Team (HEST) Leader, said: “Jack is definitely one to watch for the future. As well as working to the highest level for his degrees, he always found time to help, educate and inspire less experienced students. The HEST team is convinced he will go to the very top in his career.”