News

Publication!

Congrats to Katherine P who led this manuscript as well as Kylie, Lexie, Ally, and Emmerson who all shared in the work. Using an image time series of macroscopic marine inverts, we show that even a single dose of ultraviolet light can reduce or delay marine biofouling. In addition, by adding an analysis of the new settlers immediately before and after the ultraviolet treatment, we show that the mechanism of action is probably direct toxicity of the ultraviolet light for those new settlers.

Full Text Link

Purvis, K., Curnew, K.H., Trevors, A.L., Hunter, A.T., Wilson, E.R., and Wyeth, R.C. 2022. Single Ultraviolet-C light treatment of early stage marine biofouling delays subsequent community development. Biofouling: 1–11. doi:10.1080/08927014.2022.2095906.

Alternative Lobster Bait Technology Researcher Position Available

NOTE: this position has been filled

NOTE: remote work is a possibility for this position

The Wyeth Lab at St. Francis Xavier University is seeking to add to our research team. Our fundamental and applied research program explores more sustainable options for bait use in the lobster fishery. The new researcher will help coordinate and complete analysis of lobster responses to different lobster bait technologies. The researcher will work under the supervision of Dr. Russell Wyeth, helping with many aspects of data management and analysis. The researcher’s primary role will be to support the successful analysis of existing data sets, working with both the supervisor and students to analyzed abundances of lobsters, behavioural video and audio, and environmental data relevant to assessing lobster responses to different bait technologies. In addition, the researcher will help to prepare oral and written communications about the data and our conclusions. Administrative tasks in support of the supervisor will also be involved, as well as opportunities to engage with other active research projects.  

Note: the position is subject to final budgetary approval once a candidate is selected

Duties and responsibilities

• help the project lead with overall organization of research activities
• help with specific project planning and administration
• co-supervision of student researchers
• data analysis
• materials and equipment management
• help with report and manuscript writing  

Knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge and skills
• ability to work independently
• meticulous organization
• time management
• effective oral and written communication
Desirable knowledge and skills:
• ecosystem-based fisheries management
• lobster harvesting
• research experience
• reading and summarizing scientific literature
• digital photography
• image processing
• digital video production
• software: MS Excel, SPSS, R
• statistical analysis
• scientific presentation
• scientific writing
• marine field work experience  

Eligibility Requirements (based on this program)

  • Post-secondary graduates
  • No more than 30 years of age at the start of the position
  • Canadian citizens, permanent residents or persons granted refugee status in Canada*
  • Legally allowed to work according to the relevant provincial and Canadian legislation and regulations
  • Available to work for at least six months (26 weeks)

Employment Period

07/16/2022  – 02/28/2023, with the possibility of an extension

Salary

$1200 + 4% in lieu of vacation, biweekly

Application Procedure

Send a resume/CV, unofficial transcript, and a statement of interest to rwyeth@stfx.ca

 

Dynamic Biofouling Research Technician Position Available

NOTE: this position has been filled

The Wyeth Lab and Centre for Biofouling Research (CBR) at St. Francis Xavier University is seeking a research technician. 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 develop and coordinate a new dynamic testing system that incorporates water flow into our field work. Real-world conditions for marine infrastructure typically includes water movement over surfaces colonized for biofouling: ship hulls during vessel travel, aquaculture pens during tidal flow, etc. The technician will contribute to designing, prototyping and operating a dynamic test system that generates flow over novel antifouling technologies. The technician will work under the supervision of Dr. Russell Wyeth. Activities working towards completion of the project will entail working with both the supervisor and students to plan and implement field work, undertake sampling, and, once completed, prepare oral and written communications about the project. Interaction with industry members and other stakeholders will also be expected. Administrative tasks in support of the supervisor will also be involved, as well as opportunities to engage with other active research projects.

Note: position is subject to final budgetary approval once a candidate is selected  

Duties and responsibilities

• materials management
• equipment set-up and operation
• data collection and analysis
• coordination of dynamic testing research projects
• help the project lead with overall organization of research activities
• co-supervision of student researchers
• help with report and manuscript writing
 

Knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge and skills
• ability work independently
• meticulous organization
• time management
• effective oral and written communication
Desirable knowledge and skills:
• principles of marine biofouling
• antifouling technologies
• basic hydrodynamics
• research experience
• custom equipment construction (e.g. maker-space experience)
• reading and summarizing scientific literature
• digital photography
• image processing
• software: MS Excel, SPSS, R
• statistical analysis
• scientific presentation
• scientific writing
• small boat experience
• marine field work experience
 

Eligibility Requirements (based on this program)

  • Post-secondary graduates
  • No more than 30 years of age at the start of the position
  • Canadian citizens, permanent residents or persons granted refugee status in Canada*
  • Legally allowed to work according to the relevant provincial and Canadian legislation and regulations
  • Available to work for at least six months (26 weeks)

Employment Period

07/16/2022  – 02/28/2023, with the possibility of an extension

Salary

$1200 + 4% in lieu of vacation, biweekly

 Application Procedure

Send a resume/CV, unofficial transcript, and a statement of interest to rwyeth@stfx.ca

a busy Wyeth lab

Lots going on this summer in the lab and field! The lobster foraging group (Grace, Aidan, Gavin , James, and Laura) are continuing to use underwater video and audio to record how different types of lobster bait and natural prey affect foraging responses and other behaviours in American lobsters. The biofouling group (Ally, Kristyn and Kylie) are busy testing the effectiveness and validating the low toxicity of graphene-based antifouling coatings (formulated by our industry collaborators, GIT) as well as continuing to explore the relative effectiveness hourly vs daily cycles of UV-light as an antifoulant. The gastropod neuroethology group (Makayla, Kali, and Noah) are tackling three different projects with pond snails: how they move in response to fine scale odour and flow stimuli, testing electrophysiological responses to food odours in the lips, and some more work on the neuroanatomy of the cephalic sensory organs (to take advantage of our department’s brand new confocal microscope).

Integrative Aquatic Chemosensory Biology Graduate Student Position Available

Interested in aquatic animal behaviour or integrative fields such as neuroecology or neuroethology?

Interested in building expertise at more than one level of inquiry in biology, from field studies, through behavioural experiments, neurophysiology and microscopy, to gene expression and bioinformatics?

Dr. Russell Wyeth in the Biology Department at St. Francis Xavier University (StFX) is accepting applications for an MSc student position to start January 1, 2023 (or earlier).

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Biofouling Graduate Student Position Available

NOTE: THIS POSITION HAS BEEN FILLED

Are you interested in developing technology that supports coastal communities? Are you interested in sustainable solutions to global economic challenges? Would you like to collaborate with a diverse group of specialists toward a common goal?

The Canadian federal government has invested in the development of sustainable anti-biofouling technology through the provision of an NSERC Alliance Missions grant for a partnership of Atlantic Canadian academic researchers and industry. Researchers at Cape Breton University have partnered with teams at Dalhousie University, St. Francis Xavier University, and Memorial University of Newfoundland Grenfell Campus to form a multi-institutional research network to coordinate graduate training, research outcomes and deliverables, intellectual property development, and market translation of novel sustainable marine coatings. We are collectively recruiting three graduate students who will work synergistically towards our overall goals. More information on the overall partnership is here.

The fully funded graduate position in the Wyeth Lab is focused on experimental approaches for evaluating anti-biofouling activity during high-throughput and field testing of coatings and/or UV-C irradiation. The candidate will be registered in a Master of Science program at St. Francis Xavier University and will interact with the Center for Biofouling Research, but also participate in the multi- institutional team including some travel to do experimental work at Cape Breton University. The target start date for this project is January 1, 2023.

Read more: Biofouling Graduate Student Position Available

For questions regarding the Wyeth Lab graduate project research please contact Dr. Russell Wyeth at rwyeth@stfx.ca

Submitting an Application

NEW Deadline for Submissions: June 17, 2022

Please submit a cover letter and a résumé or curriculum vitae detailing your experience and any peer-reviewed publications, an unofficial transcript, a writing sample (for example, your undergraduate thesis or other relevant work), and a statement of interest indicating the project(s) that you are interested in to Andrew_Carrier@cbu.ca (note the underscore) using the subject “Graduate Opportunities”. For works with multiple authors please indicate your specific contributions.  

We invite applications from all eligible applicants, with preference given to Canadian citizens or permanent residents. Applicants from under-represented groups, including women, visible minorities, transgender individuals, those with disabilities, etc., may choose to identify themselves in their correspondence.

Outstanding, Ella Maltby!

Ella Maltby has received the St. Francis Xavier University Outstanding Graduate Research Award! Ella finished her MSc in fall 2021, and her research has been judged to be the top graduate work of the year. Here’s an excerpt from her nomination package:

Maltby’s thesis plays a crucially significant role in the science that will surround the complicated historical, societal, economic, and political issues related to Boat Harbour, its remediation, and the knock-on effects in both the fishing and forestry industries. Maltby’s first chapter surveyed contaminants at three different sites in Northumberland Strait, across three different age classes of lobsters.  Maltby found that overall, contaminant levels were low across the three sites and all age classes.  The only contaminant of concern was Arsenic, which, as has been found in a range of studies of both marine and terrestrial studies, tends to be elevated in and around Nova Scotia, linked to our underlying geology. Any future assessments of the effects of remediation of Boat Harbour will rely on Maltby’s baseline study as a comparison prior to remediation or prior to effluent release.

Maltby’s second chapter reports the first attempt at developing a behavioural bioassay for lobster.  Maltby found effects of the common contaminant Cadmium on several aspects of behaviour.  This proof of principle supports the notion that such behavioural bioassays could be used for future testing of pollutant effects on lobsters.  On the other hand, the relatively subtle behaviour effects combined with some effects on mortality, suggest that behaviours are relatively robust to the toxic effects of Cadmium at least, and thus there is a relatively narrow window in which behavioural effects could be detected before the pollutant becomes lethal. 

Congrats again Ella!


Publication!

Photo by M Gerhartz

Congratulations to Emmerson Wilson and Kieran Murphy for this review of the ecology of Ciona. Four closely related species have been recently recognized, but no one had fully parsed out how all the past studies of ecology apply to the different species. About 8 years ago, Kieran began this process as part of his MSc, and then Emmerson picked up the project more recently. Hopefully this proves useful for those continuing to work with this widely studied species.

Wilson, E.R., Murphy, K.J., and Wyeth, R.C. 2022. Ecological Review of the Ciona Species Complex. The Biological Bulletin. doi:10.1086/719476.

Publication!

Congratulations to Alex Young, now alumnus from lab, working on his PhD at Dalhousie University. This project drew together work with Dan Jackson in Germany, as well as Roger Croll and Griffin Beach at Dalhousie University. Quite simply, we’ve (finally) solidified the evidence that the antibody used extensively to study putative dopaminergic neurons in gastropods for decades is in fact labelling what we think it is. Moreover, Alex has given an example of how switching to in situs will be important in future work studying the neuroanatomy of gastropods.

Young, A.P., Beach, G.A., Croll, R.P., Jackson, D.J., and Wyeth, R.C. 2022. Tyrosine hydroxylase messenger RNA corroborates protein localization in the nervous system of the pond snail, Lymnaea stagnalis. Invertebrate Biology e12367. doi:10.1111/ivb.12367.