Professional Training Year (PTY) Students
Professional Training Year at Cardiff University: Ecology and behaviour of invasive species.
I am currently and undergraduate studying Zoology, with particular interest in animal behaviour and parasitology. For my third year of study I chose to work in a placement kindly offered by Prof Jo Cable on invasive species with CRIPES. This placement is a fantastic opportunity to improve upon my laboratory skills, and further my knowledge of biological and behavioural interactions as well as parasitology and associated environmental impacts.
During this PTY year I will be investigating the swimming performance of Pumpkinseed fish (Lepomis gibbosus), a non-native species in the UK species that was introduced into England in the 1900s as an ornamental species from North America. Although this species has yet to be completely established within England it’s ferocious appetite, high fecundity and high aggression may threaten many ecological niches. Our work is through collaboration with Chris Williams and Gareth Davies as part of the Environment Agency. Based in Brampton, this organisation is run through the government and assists with the control of invasive species and their migration throughout the UK.
Professional Training Year at Cardiff University: Effects of Gyrodactylus parasites on Trinidadian guppies (Poecilia reticulata).
As a BSc Zoology undergraduate at Cardiff, a Professional Training Year (PTY) greatly appealed to me as a chance to develop my practical understanding of my main areas of interest; aquatic biology and wildlife disease. My innate love of these topics peaked considerably during my second year field course to Tobago, where I designed and carried out an experiment investigating infection effects on Ocean Surgeonfish (Acanthurus bahianus). Therefore, when a project combining both was developed under Prof Jo Cable, I jumped at the opportunity. Within CRIPES, I will be studying the interactions between the parasite genus Gyrodactylus and their hosts, Trinidadian guppies (Poecilia reticulata). In particular, I plan to investigate the influence of introduced, inbred ‘ornamental’ guppy strains on the parasite dynamics of wild populations.
Additionally, I will be working closely with PhD students, Willow Smallbone and Mike Reynolds to expand my knowledge of this study system and gain valuable practical research experience in preparation for what I hope will be a future career in academia.
Professional Training Year at Cardiff University and AquaWales: Minimising disease transmission in aquaculture.
I am currently studying towards a BSc Zoology degree at Cardiff University and undertaking a Professional training year with the AquaWales research cluster as part of the National Research Network Wales for Low Carbon Energy and Environment (NRN-LCEE). NRN-LCEE integrates different areas of bioscience across a diverse range of research institutions in Wales. Working alongside research fellow Dr Amy Ellison and Prof Jo Cable, I will be conducting research on the role of disease resistance in farmed Nile Tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) by focusing on the effects of aquaculture stressors such as stocking densities, water temperatures and parasite susceptibility.
Throughout my undergraduate degree, I have gained a special interest in disease ecology and conservation biology. Undertaking this placement with AquaWales will provide me with the foundations towards a career in research.
Professional Training Year: Bag and Remove Cymru (BARC).
I am currently a third year student at Cardiff University studying for a BSc Zoology degree. Presently, I am undergoing a professional training year managing the Bag and Remove in Cymru (BARC) project supervised by Prof Jo Cable. The BARC project allows me to investigate the national and local prevalence of Toxocara spp. and associated diseases. It is a generalist parasite and has many paratenic hosts, including humans, and is consequently a potential health risk to the public. Assessing the impact of Toxocara on the environment and its socio-economic ties with dog fouling is therefore vital to promote a healthy world. I have a keen interest in parasitology and so working within CRIPES, including assisting with the aquatic research, and helping in the fish labs is a great way for me to gain a diverse array of skills within this field.
Final Year Project Students
Below is a list of the projects that some of the Biology/Ecology/Zoology final year undergraduate students have carried out within CRIPES.
Grace Dugdale: ‘Going with the flow: response of parasitised fish to variable flow conditions’
Liam Maggs: ‘MHC, guppies and gyrodactylids’
Ryan Scott: ‘Rewiring social networks in fish populations’
Phillipa Ball: ‘Effect of host tagging and environmental stress on parasite burdens of sticklebacks’
Chris Griffiths:‘National and local incidence of Toxocara spp. contamination’
Sophie France: ‘Do Green Flag Awards reflect the level of parasite contamination in parks?’
Anya Tober: ‘Impact of temperature on susceptibility of fish to Saprolegnia infections’
Sophie Tuppen: ‘Co-infection in sticklebacks: Gyrodactylus and Argulus’
Kate Turnor: ‘Impact of parasitism on fish exposed to variable flow conditions’
Jessica Wilson: ‘Boom and bust population dynamics of gyrodactylid fish parasites’
Sophie-Lee Lane: ‘The parasite community of a reintroduced water vole population’
Charlotte Coxon: ‘Cryptosporium spp. distribution and prevalence in otters in South Wales’
Jennifer Cheshire: ‘Panic or pandemic: a comparison of the Ebola, SARS and HIV epidemics’