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Science bursary goes to Bobbie for sheep heat stress studies

Bobbie Lewis Baida has been announced as the 2021 recipient of the SARDI Science Bursary for Women.

Bobbie Lewis Baida 2

Bobbie Lewis Baida, recipient of the SARDI Science Bursary for Women. Pic from Researchgate

The bursary is awarded each year to a female graduate in the agriculture, fisheries, natural resource management or forestry science fields in South Australia.

An animal science PhD candidate, Ms Lewis Baida is exploring how automated technologies can be used to understand heat stress in sheep.

“My research is focussed on identifying heat stress in sheep in the paddock. Currently, the impact of heat stress in sheep in extensive grazing systems is not well understood,” Ms Lewis Baida said.

“In a hot environment like South Australia, heat stress can affect sheep by threatening their physiology, reproductive function and overall health and productivity.

“Remote measurement of body temperature may be an efficient tool to prevent and manage heat stress in free-ranging sheep, as well as investigating the relationship between maternal heat stress and lamb growth and development.

“I’m working with researchers from the University of Adelaide’s Faculty of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences to develop automatic ways to measure body temperature.

“I’ll use other automated tools, like GPS tracking, to monitor behaviour and movement patterns in sheep under heat stress. “Automated data collection reduces manual labour and the need for human handling and restraint of sheep.

“I’m hoping the information will determine the true impact of hot conditions, not only on sheep physiology and behaviour, but also on reproductive outcomes.”

Ms Lewis Baida said she was very grateful to receive the bursary, which will be used to purchase research equipment.

“A significant barrier for moving my project forward is the ability to purchase more thermometry equipment, which is very expensive.