Clara Ziezold

Role: HQP Scholar

Degree: M.Sc.

Project: Effect of Light Spectrum and Intensity on Female Turkey Breeder Performance

Department: Department of Animal Biosciences (OAC)

What inspired you to pursue your current degree?

During my undergraduate degree, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work with my advisor to design and conduct the pilot trial for my current project. This, in combination with my experience working in the turkey breeder industry, were key in motivating me to pursue my current degree.

What about your research area excites you?

Compared to other poultry, there is little published research on turkeys, and even less on turkey breeders. Although it is tempting to extrapolate from other species and think of turkeys as ‘large chickens,’ it is becoming increasingly clear that they are unique in many ways. In a broad sense, I am excited for the opportunity to work toward better understanding turkey physiology, and by extension, their environmental needs.

What challenges do you find in your research, and how do you try to overcome them?

A common challenge with lighting trials is designing an experiment with sufficient statistical replication. Unfortunately, what is ideal in theory is not always possible in a practical sense. To overcome this, we have had to brainstorm and get creative with our experimental design!

How would you describe your research and the implications of your project?

Lighting is a key management tool in poultry breeding. For my project, we will be investigating the effect of different lighting parameters on the reproductive response of female turkeys. This will be achieved by measuring changes in egg production performance, hormonal profiles, and gene expression throughout the laying cycle. Our overall aim is to use this information to recommend a lighting option to producers that improves production sustainability.

What are three of your favourite activities outside the lab?

In my free time, I enjoy drawing, learning languages, and playing piano.

What is one important thing you have learned during the pandemic?

To appreciate the small things – life can change in an instant.