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 Abteilung für Verhaltensbiologie Zuletzt bearbeitet am 11.09.2017

Luca Melotti
Institut für Neuro- und Verhaltensbiologie
Abteilung für Verhaltensbiologie
Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster
Badestraße 13, D-48149 Münster

Tel.: (0049) 251/8321006
Fax.: (0049) 251/8323896



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.

Current Research:

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.

Peer-Reviewed Articles

10. Braem M, Asher L, Furrer S, Lechner I, Würbel H, Melotti L (2017) Development of the "Highly Sensitive Dog" questionnaire to evaluate the personality dimension "Sensory Processing Sensitivity" in dogs. PLoS one 12(5): e0177616. https://doi.org/10.1371

9. Lampe JF, Burman O, Würbel H, Melotti L (2017). Context-dependent individual differences in playfulness in male ratsDevelopmental Psychobiology, 59:460-472. https://doi.org/10.1002/dev.21509. 

8. Finlayson K, Lampe JF, Hintze S, Würbel H, Melotti L (2016). Facial Indicators of Positive Emotions in Rats. PloS one, 11(11): e0166446. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0166446.

7. Novak J, Bailoo JD, Melotti L, Würbel H (2016). Effect of Cage-Induced Stereotypies on Measures of Affective State and Recurrent Perseveration in CD-1 and C57BL/6 Mice. PloS one, 11(5): e0153203. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0153203.

6. Novak J, Stojanovski K, Melotti L, Reichlin TS, Palme R, Würbel H (2016). Effects of stereotypic behaviour and chronic mild stress on judgement bias in laboratory mice. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 174:162-172.

5. Novak J, Bailoo JD, Melotti L, Rommen J, Würbel H (2015). An Exploration Based Cognitive Bias Test for Mice: Effects of Handling Method and Stereotypic Behaviour. PloS one, 10(7): e0130718.

4. Melotti L, Bailoo JD, Murphy E, Burman O, Würbel H (2014). Play in rats: Association across contexts and types, and analysis of structure. Animal Behavior and Cognition, 1(4):489-501.

3. Melotti L, Thomsen LR, Toscano MJ, Mendl M, Held S (2013). Delay discounting task in pigs reveals response strategies related to dopamine metabolite, Physiology & Behavior, 120:182-192.

2. Melotti L, Oostindjer M, Bolhuis JE, Held S, Mendl M (2011). Coping personality type and environmental enrichment affect aggression at weaning in pigs, Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 133:144-153.

1. Nanni Costa L, Tassone F, Righetti R, Melotti L, Comellini M (2006). Effect of the farm floor type on the behaviour of the heavy pig during the pre-slaughter handling. Atti Società Italiana delle Scienze Veterinarie, 60, 491-492.


Book Reviews

1. Melotti L (2014) - Book Review. Animal Personalities: Behavior, Physiology, and Evolution. C. Carere, D. Maestripieri (Eds.). The University of Chicago Press, Chicago (2013). Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 153, 75-77.


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