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Shelly Volsche



Research Areas

  • Human-Animal Interactions
  • One Health
  • Humane Education

Research Summary

I study our ever-changing relationships with non-human animals, as well as applying the One Health approach to behavioral health and cross-species relationships. My current projects investigate the increasing importance of pets as family members, including cross-cultural comparisons of pet keeping and interspecific attachment. Relatedly, I am interested in how an appreciation of the emotional and cognitive abilities of other species shapes human perceptions of who is food, foe, or family, and the environmental and welfare implications of our influence and uses of other animals.

Animals play many roles in our world. It is vital to understand how policy and decision making influences access and support for those who include nonhumans in their family. This may involve access to affordable housing, food systems, and the ability to provide crucial veterinary care. My prior background in animal training also offers potential insights into the costs and benefits of specific resources targeted to socialization with other people and their pets.

Collaboration Interests

I am interested in collaborating on interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary research and outreach efforts that support our community in caring for their animal companions. This may include research into veterinary care, parks and recreation, housing access, and humane education.

Courses & Students

Courses Taught

  • ANTH105: Evolution & Human Behavior
  • ANTH102: Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
  • ANTH314: Environmental Anthropology
  • ANTH497: Behavioral Observation Field School (Special Topics)
  • ANTH497: Anthropology of Animals (Special Topics)
  • UF100: Wild, Tame, & Inbetween (Foundations of Intellectual Life)
  • TBD: Animal Cognition & Culture

Research Students & Interns

  • Karl Prokop (M.A.)
  • Rachel Koch (B.S., M.A.)
  • Terra Green (B.S.)
  • Cameron Brown (B.S.)
  • Mackenzie Bennett (B.S.)
  • Ashley Maples (B.S.)