Animal Science

Jun 14, 2013 Debra Cheung

Mission

Our paramount goal is to make seminal contributions to the evolution of animal agricultural systems that are environmentally benign, socially positive and economically viable.

Faculty

The department has 42.15 FTE. This consists of 10.85 I&R FTE, 20.90 AES FTE 0.65 Unit 18 FTE and 9.75 Cooperative Extension FTE. In addition there are two faculty in the Professional Research series.

Major Programmatic Thrusts of the Department

  • Genomics and genome manipulation
  • Animal growth and development
  • Analysis of integrated animal systems
  • Comparative reproductive biology
  • Comparative animal nutrition
  • Animal-ecosystem interactions
  • Reharvest modification of foods
  • Animal well-being and health

Program Impact/Ranking

According to the Gourman Report, the department ranks #1 nationally in undergraduate education and is the largest animal science department in the western region. The department has one National Academy of Science member and nearly all senior faculty have received national and international awards for research, teaching and extension with junior faculty following in their footsteps. Departmental faculty have received numerous campus teaching and advising awards. Our programs are united by a unique emphasis in the UC system: whole animal biology.

Extramural Grants and Gifts

$1,400,000 annual expenditure (1998-1999) in competitive grants from such federal sources as USDA, EPA, NSF, DOD, BARD, Sea Grant; state agencies, such as Dept Fish & Game, Dept Water Resources, Dept Pesticide Regulation; and such commodity groups as California Dairy Research Foundation, Prune Board, Almond Board, and Peach Growers. Gift expenditures in 1998-1999 amounted to $182K (with another $595K unspent).

Teaching Programs of the Department

The department manages four majors: animal science, animal science and management, avian sciences and animal biology. Their combined enrollment for fall 1999 is 837 students, the largest or possibly the second largest departmental total in CA&ES. In addition, approximately 40 percent of biotechnology majors choose the animal biotechnology option. The department also houses three master's programs, the Animal Science M.S. Program, the Master's in Agricultural Management (a combined program with the Graduate School of Administration), and the cross-college Avian Sciences Graduate Group. Their combined enrollment is 37 (as of February 1999). Fifty-six students from other graduate groups, mostly Ph.D. students, are also housed in the department.

Outreach/Extension Roles

California is the nation's top dairy-producing state, and it ranks in the top 10 in beef, turkeys, eggs and aquaculture. Reflecting this economic activity the department has major cooperative extension programs in beef, dairy, poultry and aquaculture and smaller but active outreach programs in sheep, swine and companion animals. Award-winning quality assurance programs in beef, dairy, poultry and aquaculture have been critically important in helping these industries deliver high-quality food products. Other shaping issues include environmental resources, animal welfare and agricultural illiteracy. Retirements are crippling extension efforts in poultry, with one retirement in 1999 (currently on temporary rehire), three impending retirements by 2001/2002. Replacements for these positions will be sought that combine expertise in both issues (e.g., resource, food safety) and commodities (e.g., poultry meat, eggs). The single specialist in the rapidly growing aquaculture area also enters the retirement window in 2004/2005. This position is essential to re-fill.

Potential for Collaborative Links to Other Units to Develop Clusters of Excellence

Ties with colleagues in the School of Veterinary Medicine, School of Medicine and the Division of Biological Sciences link several clusters of excellence in such areas as genomics and genome manipulation, comparative reproductive biology and animal well-being and health.

Academic Senate Positions Needed to Achieve/Maintain Goals

  1. Stress physiologist/animal welfarist. Replacement for Moberg position.
  2. Lactation systems/analyst. Replacement for Baldwin position.
  3. Developmental biologist. Replacement for Wilson position.
  4. Molecular geneticist (redirected position) with expertise in marker-assisted selection and functional genomics. Muscle biology is a key target area. (Genes and Development and Genomics Initiatives; Agricultural Genomics CA&ES Opportunity Area).
  5. Molecular geneticist (new position) with expertise in transgenesis to complement existing faculty expertise in genetically engineered animals. (Genes and Development and Genomics Initiatives; Agricultural Genomics CA&ES Opportunity Area).
  6. Physiological systems analyst (redirected position) with expertise in applying systems analysis to analyze gene effects on complex physiologic processes. Position is highly complementary for evaluating function of transgenes in the complex physiologic milieu of transgenic animals. (Genes and Development and Genomics Initiatives; Agricultural Genomics CA&ES Opportunity Area).
  7. Animal behaviorist/animal welfarist. Replacement for Price position.
  8. Environmental systems analyst (redirected position) would study such complex problems as natural resource utilization and the impact of altered genes in the context of animal production systems and ecological health. (Environment Initiative; Agricultural and Environmental Sensory and Informatics CA&ES Opportunity Area).
  9. Animal microbial ecologist (new position) is aimed at improving food safety and ensuring environmental quality by reducing the incidence of pathogens in the food supply and in animal waste. (Environment Initiative; Agriculture and Human Health CA&ES Opportunity Area).
  10. Aquaculturist. Replacement for Conklin position.
  11. Animal Science hydrologist (redirected position) would focus on methods to minimize levels of nitrogen, phosphorus, hormones, salts and microbial load in water that result from animal production and processing systems. (Environment Initiative; Water and Watersheds CA&ES Opportunity Area).
  12. Companion animal biologist (new position) would address environmental impacts of the huge and increasing populations of companion animals on such issues as introduced species, predation on endangered animals, urban nuisances and ground water pollution. (Environment Initiative; Agriculture and Human Health CA&ES Opportunity Area).

CE Positions Needed to Achieve/Maintain Goals

  1. Environment specialist. Redirected replacement for Voris.
  2. Poultry specialist. Replacement for Bell.
  3. Food safety specialist. Redirected replacement for Zeidler.
  4. Poultry management specialist. Replacement for Ernst.
  5. Aquaculture/environment specialist. Replacement for Conte.

Priorities

The department projects the retirement of eight Senate faculty by 2007/08 in addition to the recent death of Prof Gary Moberg. Four of these positions will be redirected and five will remain deployed in their same Cluster of Excellence/Core Competency areas. The top priority Opportunity for Growth positions are molecular geneticist - transgenesis (#3, above) and animal microbial ecologist (#9). The companion animal biologist position (#12) would remain unfilled without additional growth positions.

Projected Resource Needs and Strategies for Achieving

Departmental academic programs in teaching, research and outreach are constrained by severely antiquated animal facilities. Early planning has begun for replacement of the dairy teaching, research and outreach facility and for the feedmill. A covered pavilion is also being planned to provide an all-weather facility for animal teaching and outreach. Our avian facility is in constant need of upgrading to meet regulations for state-of-the-art housing of birds.

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