Congratulations to Wyeth Lab alumn Aaron Cogger, accepted into the Master’s of Marine Management program at Dalhousie University. Aaron worked on a couple different lobster projects. First, with collaborator Jim Williams on juvenile-adult interactions, and then helping Ella Maltby with her MSc research on toxicology of lobsters. Aaron completed his undergraduate in the Aquatic Resources program at StFX and also an Eleuthera internship in the Bahamas before taking this next step in his career.
We are seeking a research technician to work as part of the Centre for Biofouling Research. Our fundamental and applied research program explores both marine biofouling (the growth of unwanted organisms on marine infrastructure) and novel low-toxicity approaches to antifouling (the mitigation of biofouling). The technician will help coordinate and participate in several ongoing research projects with respect to biofouling and environmentally-friendly antifouling. The technician will work under the supervision of Dr. Russell Wyeth, helping with many aspects of the CBR’s activities. The technician’s primary role will be to support the successful completion of the projects, working with both the supervisor and students to plan lab and field work, undertake sampling, and, once completed, prepare oral and written communications about the various projects. Administrative tasks in support of the supervisor will also be involved, as well as opportunities to engage with other active research projects.
This position is offered through the CleanTech Internships program, so more details and applications are available here: Environmentally-Safe Antifouling Research Technician
Are you interested in:
- aquatic animal behaviour or fisheries biology?
- foraging cues and adaptive social behaviours?
- blending of basic research with practical,
real-world relevance to real people?
Do you want to build expertise in:
- community collaboration with a diverse group of people?
- ethological video capture and analysis?
- bridging the gap between ecology and individual responses to stimuli?
In collaboration with Dr. Iain McGaw at Department of Ocean Sciences (DOS), Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN), I am now accepting applications for a funded PhD student position to start September 1, 2020 (or earlier).
Kieran Murphy just tweeted out a great thread sharing more of the adventure (and misadventure) behind his MSc research. He did indeed find something “really quite important” and deserves a ton of credit! Check it out on twitter, or the full thread here.
[Thanks to Darius Kazemi’s spooler for helping to put thread together here in one place.]
A thread by Kieran Murphy
We got it done, my first publication😄
Thanks to the sea gods! 🧜♀️🧜♂️
A lot goes into all peer reviewed work, so here’s a thread about some of the fun stuff, the grunt work, and mess ups behind the clean-cut read about an invasive sea squirt in Nova Scotia (doi.org/10.3354/meps13…)
The Hard Graft
Location, location, location!
We monitored an invasive sea squirt called the vase tunicate on the coast of Nova Scotia and tested if its variable abundance was related to water conditions (i.e. temperature, salinity and pH)
To monitor sea squirts, one needs settlement collectors, many, many settlement collectors!
You need a solid vehicle (StFX Biology truck RIP) or many flashy rental cars to fill up with gear and to drive all around the coast of NS (approx 3,500 km) once a month from May to October in 2014 and 2015
Attach all of the settlement collectors and environmental data loggers to floating docks at 15 different field sites. Also return to photograph the settlement collector plates, upload data logger info and calibrate loggers
When I locked the car keys in the trunk
Yeah, it’s a trunk because I was in Canada ae!
Or when the data loggers got biofouled (ironic right?) or inexplicably corroded
P.S. copper wire and mesh are your friends to counter pesky data logger biofouling!
Or when one of your floating docks goes missing!!!
Don’t worry, there it is
Holy moly, did I see some heckin good sunrises and sunsets though!
And what aboot that wildlife (terrestrial………..EWWW!)
Aquatic (at least partially)………..CUTE!
I lived in a winter wonderland (hell) for three whole winters!
Crazy fall colours 🍁🍁🍁
Fall = Autumn
Looked at settlement plate images like this for days….weeks….no, months, counting how many critters were where and when
Got to work, no matter the conditions.
Nothing could keep me from grabbing a hot cup of filter coffee that’s been simmering on the hotplate for hours and counting those squares of sessile invertebrate filth
And at the end of the day, we discovered something quite important:
while temperature and salinity are good predictors of vase tunicate presences/absence distribution, they do not predict the abundance of the species very well
This could have important implications for the monitoring and distribution modelling of other sessile marine invertebrates
If you can’t access the paper, please just DM me for a copy
And don’t forget folks, always be sun🌞and sea🌊 safe!
Alex Young has published the first (of hopefully three!) articles from his MSc. This first one is a key step for a new way to explore the peripheral nervous system of gastropods. Working with transcriptome data shared by Dan Jackson and with Carmen Landry‘s help in the lab, Alex established which genes have highly stable gene expression in the pond snail, Lymnaea stagnalis, and therefore which would be effective as a reference when studying the relative expression levels of other genes (such as genes expressed in neurons – that’s manuscript number two in the works).
2019. Tissue-specific evaluation of suitable reference genes for RT-qPCR in the pond snail, Lymnaea stagnalis. PeerJ 7:e7888 https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.7888
Wyeth lab alumn Kieran Murphy has just published his first two peer-reviewed articles. The first documents his (massive) efforts during his MSc to survey both abundances of the invasive vase tunicate Ciona intestinalis and potentially corresponding environmental conditions. His goal was to test whether temperature, salinity, etc. could explain variations in the abundances of this species around Nova Scotia. The result? No clear links between abiotic conditions and population growth patterns, which has implications for predicting and managing the spread of this nuisance species. The second is an exciting new collaboration that developed as an offshoot from his MSc. Ping Ni from Aibin Zhan‘s group used Ciona collected by Kieran and his temperature data to discover temperature-linked epigenetic changes in an invasive species. Congrats to Kieran and Ping!
A huge thanks to Michelle, Areej and new volunteers Sarah and Sam. We wrapped up this year’s data collection on our biofouling and antifouling projects. Eight separate surveys spread across 3 sites meant an 11 hour day and trailer full of deployment frames by the end of it. Fantastic weather offset the stinkiness!
Amelia MacKenzie and Ella Maltby have their first peer-reviewed article. This project started as NSERC Engage with AML Oceanographic, and Ella working at Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre testing how much (actually how little) ultraviolet light is needed to deter marine biofouling. With Amelia and Ella working together here at StFX, it grew into a 3 part study of UV light, showing it can stop development of three different fouling communities. Congrats again to both!
MacKenzie, A.F., Maltby, E.A., Harper, N., Bueley, C., Olender, D., and Wyeth, R.C. 2019. Periodic ultraviolet-C illumination for marine sensor antifouling. Biofouling TBA: 1–11. doi:10.1080/08927014.2019.1616698.
Lots of change in the Wyeth lab… New students have joined the crew, each working with another more experienced student to help learn the ropes of research. Carmen Ucciferri is working with Areej Alansari on snail navigation behaviour, Meaghan MacDonald has joined Katerina Basque and Amelia MacKenzie on the biofouling and antifouling projects, and Meg Davies is working with Ella Maltby on lobster behavioural toxicology. Meanwhile, Rachel Webber has started an MSc studying lobster behavioural responses to bait, and Michelle Hodgson will complete her Honours thesis alongside that project.
Finally, Emmerson Wilson is off doing other things for the summer, but will back in the fall for her honours (probably on snail sensory systems), and Alex Young is doing a last stint on that same project in Roger Croll’s lab at Dalhousie University before he starts to his PhD on the molecular mechanisms of neurogenerative diseases.
My name is Carmen Ucciferri and I am from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. I am going into my second year at StFX University, with the hopes of graduating with a Joint Honors in Biology and Math. I was always interested in participating in some type of research before I was done my undergraduate degree, and so this summer, I decided to become a part of the Wyeth Lab and to take on the task of studying the behavioural response to predator odours in the species of snail Lymnea stagnalis. I will be testing the snail’s responses in both flow and no flow condition using crayfish, which are a natural predator to this species of snail. While snails may not sound very exciting to some, I can’t wait to spend the summer working with them to further understand their behaviour!