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summer undergrad research in Dublin '05 -- deadline 29 May


Julia Sigwart <[log in to unmask]>


Scientific forum on fish and fisheries <[log in to unmask]>


Fri, 6 May 2005 15:26:04 +0100





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Apologies for cross-postings. Please circulate widely and note the
fast-approaching deadline!
Full financial support for the 10 week programme is available for
accepted students.

Collections-based Biology in Dubin (CoBiD) provides an exciting
research environment, with experience both in high quality
laboratories in the science departments in University College Dublin,
and important international research centre in the National Musuem of
Ireland (Natural History) collections in Dublin city centre. Diverse
research projects are offered, with topics ranging from systematic
biology- including traditional and molecular techniques- to ecology
and population genetics. Students will work side-by-side with
curators and senior scientists and will be involved in all aspects of
collections-based research including collection and curation of
specimens, experiments and analysis, participation in field
expeditions, and dissemination of scientific results through oral
presentation and publication.

The CoBiD summer school programme is funded by Science Foundation Ireland

Particularly of interest may be the specific available projects below.

Term dates: July 4th to September 5th 2005

* completion of the third (junior) year of an undergraduate
biosciences degree
* proficiency in English (written and spoken)
* willingness to work hard, and ability to work independently
* strong interest in the project of choice
* career goals in organismal biology

Your application must include a total of three documents recieved as
e-mail attachments in MS-Word format.
Two documents (CV and letter of interest) in an email recieved from
the applicant, and a seperate letter of recommendation in an e-mail
recieved directly from your reference.

All materials must be recieved by: Sunday 29 May

Research Projects
feather histology of galliforms | evolution of fossil crocodiles |
mayflies and climate change | evolution of cation-independent
receptors | carboniferous coral "reefs" | evolution in mammalian
sensory perception | resource partitioning in inshore fish |
distribution and metapopulation structure of cockles

For more information, including project descriptions see

or e-mail
[log in to unmask]


Variation in habitat use and food resource partitioning in inshore fish species

Mentor: Dr. Stefano Mariani

The coexistence of similar species within the same ecosystem implies
that they should partition available resources. Shoener (1974)
suggested that resource partitioning may occur by segregation along
one of three main resource axes: food, space and time. In coastal
lagoons and estuaries, time segregation among the juveniles of cyclic
migrant fish occurs owing to differential recruitment, dependent on
the different spawning times of species. Once fishes have settled,
food and, in particular, space segregations play a major role
(Mariani et al., 2002).
Many fishes inhabiting environmentally variable ecosystems, such as
estuaries and coastal lagoons, tend to show remarkable levels of
niche flexibility (Wootton, 1991). Thus, it is difficult to determine
whether spatial variation in habitat use and food consumption is due
to the interaction with sympatric species with overlapping habits, or
to local features of different ecosystems.
The present project is aimed at examining the influence of tidal
dynamics and habitat heterogeneity on the patterns of spatio-temporal
distribution and feeding habits of coastal fish in macrotidal inshore
habitats. Two shallow coastal environments in the Irish Sea will be
surveyed. You will acquire skills in field methodologies for the
sampling of juveniles of inshore fish and learn about the standard
procedures used to record biometric data on fishes and to store
samples in archives for future users. You will familiarise with the
techniques for the study of fish feeding behaviour, and you will
learn how to analyse data on trophic ecology, using the data you will
have collected and comparing them with previous ones.
You will be working with Dr Stefano Mariani, in close contact with
students and researchers in the Marine Ecology & Evolution Lab at the
UCD Department of Zoology, in a dynamic and stimulating environment
with great opportunities for cultural growth.

Distribution and metapopulation structure of cockle species
Cerastoderma edule and C. glaucum (Bivalvia: Cardiidae) in the Irish

Mentor: Dr. Stefano Mariani

The genus Cerastoderma comprises two well known bivalve species in
European waters. The edible cockle, Cerastoderma edule, is widespread
in estuaries, sheltered bays and tidal flats and has long represented
a significant fishery resource across Northern Europe, whereas the
lagoon cockle, C. glaucum, which only settles in saline lagoons and
rarely in the low shores of estuaries, is not subject to harvesting
and has a much more fragmented and discontinuous habitat. The main
limitations to the distribution of C. glaucum are related to its
inability to cope with wave action and the exposure to air during low
tides. Occasionally, the two species may be found in sympatry, but
their life-history, population structure and habitat use vary
considerably. In particular, the population structure of C. glaucum
conforms to a metapopulation model, with frequent extinction and
recolonisation events, and local populations that may often have
resulted from population bottlenecks or "founder" effects.
You will be involved in regular field surveys in 2-3 selected
sheltered coastal areas in the Irish Sea, aimed at recording
distribution, growth rate and year-class structure of cockles. You
will familiarise with methods for the study of morphological traits
in bivalves on specimens collected from your fieldwork and those in
the National Museum of Ireland, and with the relevant statistical
techniques to analyse them. Within the programme, you will have the
chance to work on unpublished datasets on the genetic variation of
cockle populations from the Mediterranean Sea, and receive training
on the use of several software packages for the analysis of genetic
population structure.
You will be working with Dr Stefano Mariani, in the Marine Ecology &
Evolution Lab at the UCD Department of Zoology, in a vibrant and
intellectually stimulating environment, with several postgraduate and
postdoctoral staff, currently working on a wealth of marine biology

Collections-based Biology in Dublin
The UREKA Summer Research programme is
funded by Science Foundation Ireland
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