Publication! Opalescent nudibranchs marching northwards.

Congrats particularly to Kathryn Milligan, Nola Sheets and Emily Merlo, who started this off as course project at Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre in the 2016 Marine Ecology class taught by Dr. Chris Neufeld and Tao Eastham.  We were able to show that there were two species of Hermissenda present in Barkley and Clayoquot Sounds on Vancouver Island.  One is supposed to be there,  while the other is supposed to be in southern California.  Telling them apart is fairly straight forward, when you know what to look for: northern Hermissenda crassicornis have white striped cerata (sticky up bits) while southern Hermissenda opalscens have white tips but no stripes on their cerata. With the help of Dr. Ángel Valdés and Ka’ala Estores-Pacheco as well as the Barcode of Life group, we confirmed the original  morphological data with genetic analyses.  The question now, of course is why?  Perhaps climate factors?  Other species were also found far further northwards than normal that year…

Check out the lay summary here, or the full publication here:
Merlo, E.M., Milligan, K.A., Sheets, N.B., Neufeld, C.J., Eastham, T.M., Estores-Pacheco, A.L.K., Steinke, D., Hebert, P.D.N., Valdés, Á., and Wyeth, R.C. 2018. Range extension for the region of sympatry between the nudibranchs Hermissenda opalescens and Hermissenda crassicornis in the northeastern Pacific. FACETS 3(1): 764–776. doi:10.1139/facets-2017-0060.

Congrats to WyethLab alumn, Jane Fletcher – accepted into an MSc program at the University of Calgary.

Jane will be studying novel ways to reduce methane gas production by cows, based on viral microbiome work.  That seems a far cry from the sea slug navigation behaviour she studied in the WyethLab.  But she has already been using some of the same analysis and data management tools learned with the slug work in her new lab.  A great example of how research can take you down unexpected paths.

Congrats! Ella Maltby just successfully defended he MSc thesis proposal!

Just 6 months into her program, Ella has developed an ambitious plan to study the impact of contaminants on lobster. Her fieldwork has already started, which meant some very early mornings on some local lobster boats recently. She got a moment to rest after the proposal defense, but then it was right back to work on some extra sampling decided on during the committee meeting.

almost the whole WyethLab

Here’s almost the whole crew – travel schedules didn’t mesh so we are unfortunately missing Katerina and Sophie, but otherwise we’re all in the line!  From left-to-right…

And missing are…

 

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WyethLab, going with the flow

Aaron Cogger

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I am a fourth year student working towards my BSc in Aquatic Resources and Biology. I have always been interested in animal behaviour and conservation so taking these programs at StFx seemed like a perfect choice for me.  This summer I am working as a research assistant, mainly dealing with behavioural toxicology in the American Lobster. I am very excited to be working with Dr. Wyeth and Ella Maltby on this project and am excited to see what we can discover. After my undergrad, I hope to continue on with my studies in marine sciences.

Kero Youssef

34308078_1517803748328419_4643162609674092544_nI am a second year student with a major in biology. Born in Egypt, I have lived in Montreal for 7 years before moving to Antigonish. I am very excited to start doing research this summer, as I will be able to learn new things and gain a lot of experience. I will be working with Alex, studying gene expression in the nervous system of Lymnaea. Doing this research will also help me prepare to do a master’s degree after graduating, in hope of applying to medical school in the future. My other hobbies include playing soccer, video games and watching anime.

Katerina Basque

 

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I’m a second year student in the Bachelor of Business Administration Program, and I’m from We’koqma’q First Nation. I had not aimed towards going into science until I heard of this research project that was involving my own community. I’m honoured to take this position doing research for the summer involving anti-fouling. It’s amazing to be able to experience a different environment and also to be a part of this project because it’s beneficial to my community. I’m very glad that I got the opportunity to open a whole new world to me in the biology and chemistry departments. I’m really looking forward to spending the summer doing research, and will be testing anti-fouling materials in We’koqma’q with Michelle Hodgson.

Michelle Hodgson

lab photoEntering St. FX as a mature student, I was able to take some time off between high school and university. During that time, I travelled to various places, but the most memorable experience involved 3 short weeks of volunteering at an elephant sanctuary. It was during that trip that I discovered how passionate and interested I am in wildlife, and specifically, wildlife conservation.

Now going into my third year as an Honours student in Biology, I’m extremely excited that I am involved in my second year of research. After completing my first year, I was lucky to receive a research position studying one of Canada’s rarest plants, Geum peckii, located in Brier Island, NS.

As a new member of the Wyeth lab, I will be collaborating with two other students to find environmentally friendly antifouling coatings in hopes that we can apply our methods to aquaculture netting.

After I finish my undergrad, I hope to do a Masters degree relating to either wildlife conservation or animal behaviour.

Sophie LeBlanc

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I am a fourth year student pursuing my BSc in Honours Chemistry. I am originally from Ottawa, and for the past two summers I have worked at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) Research Institute researching rare genetic disease including developing a zebrafish animal model for Pyridoxine-Dependent Epilepsy. This year I am working on developing environmentally-friendly antifouling surfaces for marine aquaculture, specifically against mussel fouling in the Bras D’Or lakes in Cape Breton as part of my thesis work. After my undergraduate degree, I am interested in pursuing a career in medicine, and I hope to someday have the opportunity to join Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders). I would like to always be involved in research in some capacity throughout my career. My other interests and hobbies include drawing and painting, singing and playing guitar, running, playing soccer, skiing, being a coxswain on the StFX Rowing Team and a member of the StFX Tennis Team, hiking and traveling.