Before beginning my degree at Cardiff University my interests in biological systems were extremely broad. Three years of undergraduate study helped mould this wide-ranging interest into a specific fascination with parasite ecology and the impact these often overlooked organisms have on ecological systems. Since graduating with a BSc (Hons) in Zoology I have begun a Master of Research programme (also at Cardiff) to study the cleaning behaviour of two Caribbean cleaner fish species.
Sharknose gobies and juvenile French angelfish feed primarily on ectoparasites, including Gnathia and Gyrodactylus spp., found on the skin of potential client fish. My research, in collaboration with Prof. Jo Cable and Dr Sarah Perkins, includes primary investigation of cleaner-client interactions at a coral reef off the Caribbean island of Tobago, as well as analysis of a comprehensive data set collected by Prof Cable and Dr Perkins from 2011-2014. No long term studies have ever been conducted on the cleaning behaviour of the sharknose goby or the French angelfish so this research is not only novel but extremely exciting and will hopefully improve our understanding and appreciation of how parasite ecology and subsequent cleaning behaviour affects aquatic ecosystems.
Location: Cardiff School of Biosciences, The Sir Martin Evans Building, Museum Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3AX