May 25, 2023

Yasmeen and Dr. Horback were thrilled to provide the ‘Lunch & Learn” seminar at the Oakland Zoo. The audience learned about the theories of animal personality and cognition as well as our upcoming data collection plans with the wolf pack at OZ 🙂


April 30, 2023

Congratulations to University Honors Student, and ABC lab alumnus, Katie Sontag for presenting her research on ‘Assessing personality and enrichment use among zoo-housed raptors’. Many thanks to the California Raptor Center for the fruitful collaboration!















March 25, 2023

Another new publication out of Dr. Catie McVey’s dissertation!!!

C McVey, F Hsieh, D Manriquez, P Pinedo, K Horback – Applied Animal Science, 2023
“The objective of this article is to review fundamental differences between model-dependent and model-free approaches to data analysis, and to explore the potential advantages of more open-ended machine learning approaches in recovering complex behavioral patterns from precision livestock farming data streams”


January 20, 2023

New pub alert! Claire led our team to victory with her first first-author publication on the “Effects of rearing with vertical structures on the ontogeny of depth perception in laying hens” in Applied Animal Behaviour Science.


October 20, 2022

Yasmeen did a fantastic job presenting her poster on her upcoming wolf personality and problem solving at the Animal Biology Graduate Group Annual Colloquium.

Ghavamian poster ABGG colloquium

May 27, 2022

CONGRATULATIONS to Catie on winning the Big Bang Entrepreneurship Award ($10,000) for best Animal Health + Industry Sector for her “Dairy FIT” business plan AND for winning the surprise award from AgStart for $5,000 in-kind services to support her efforts. Dairy FIT business idea: an AI platform with customizable machine-vision learning algorithms to provide farmers with insights into how animal behavior and health monitoring can improve management and animal welfare.

The Big Bang! Business Competition is designed for aspiring and early-stage entrepreneurs. There are three rounds of the competition, with student-led teams pitching their start-up business models to various stakeholders.  You can watch Catie’s pitch video here:








May 1, 2022

The 14th North American Regional Meeting of ISAE was a huge success! Over 90 attendees from 12 US states and 3 Canadian provinces joined the conference in-person at UC Davis. Congratulations to Catie Mcvey, Claire Jones, Yasmeen Ghavamian, and alumni Kathy Thiesen for giving fantastic poster presentations of their research. Go ABC lab!









January 1, 2022

The Animal Behavior and Cognition Lab is joining the 21st century! We are finally launching our Twitter page ( to take our place in the grand platform of science communication and media. See ya there 😉

December 13, 2021

Another new pub alert! Yahoo! Fresh out of Catie’s dissertation work at UCD. In this paper,  we introduce the Livestock Informatics Toolkit (LIT). This was developed in R to better facilitate knowledge discovery of complex behavioral patterns across Precision Livestock Farming (PLF) data streams using novel unsupervised machine learning and information theoretic approaches. The utility of this analytical pipeline is demonstrated using data from a 6-month feed trial conducted on a closed herd of 185 mix-parity organic dairy cows.

McVey, C., Hsieh, F., Manriquez, D., Pinedo, P., & Horback, K. (2022). Livestock Informatics Toolkit: A Case Study in Visually Characterizing Complex Behavioral Patterns across Multiple Sensor Platforms, Using Novel Unsupervised Machine Learning and Information Theoretic Approaches. Sensors22(1), 1.

August 20, 2021

New pub alert!!! Working with Dr. Meghann Pierdon of the University of Pennsylvania Swine Teaching and Research Center, Catie and Tina published a unique study of preferred resting partners among group housed gestating sows.

Horback, K., McVey, C., & Pierdon, M. (2021). Association patterns across multiple gestation cycles within a dynamic sow pen. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 105426.

May 18, 2021

Dr. Horback co-moderated the 2nd Annual Working Anthrozoology Group’s Lecture by Dr. Donald Broom (Emeritus Professor of Animal Welfare, University of Cambridge), titled, “How does One Biology alter human interactions with other species?”.

March 8, 2021

New pub alert! Check out our new review paper on methods to evaluate human-cattle interactions for beef breeds living on rangelands.

Creamer, Maggie; Horback, Kristina. 2021. “Researching Human-Cattle Interaction on Rangelands: Challenges and Potential Solutions” Animals 11, no. 3: 725.

Sept 14, 2020

Is there any better remedy for the quarantine blues than some pretty graphs? Check out our new methods paper for visualizing temporally complex behavioral patterns in large sensor data sets in Frontiers in Veterinary Science.

McVey C, Hsieh F, Manriquez D, Pinedo P and Horback K (2020) Mind the Queue: A Case Study in Visualizing Heterogeneous Behavioral Patterns in Livestock Sensor Data Using Unsupervised Machine Learning Techniques. Front. Vet. Sci. 7:523. doi: 10.3389/fvets.2020.00523

July 18, 2020

New pub alert! Check out our new paper on personality testing with sheep in the Journal of Applied Animal Behavior Sciences.

Schiller, K., McVey, C., Doyle, S., Horback, K.M. (2020). Chute scoring as a potential method for assessing individual differences in arousal among ewes. Applied Animal Behavior Science, 230. 1-9.

June 3, 2020

Congrats to Dr. Horback for winning the 2020 UC Davis Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring Undergraduate Research. The virtual awards ceremony can be viewed at the Undergraduate Research Center website.



April 29, 2019

Horback lab well represented at the 2019 Undergraduate Research Conference. Good work all !