University of St Andrews
 
 

Biology Principal Investigators



School of Biology Principal Research Investigators

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Staff List: (71)
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Abbott, Prof Richard Professor
(School of Biology)
rja@st-and.ac.uk
01334 463350
Plant evolution
keywords:
Biodiversity, Evolutionary biology, Plant biology, Population biology
Prof Richard Abbott

I study plant hybridization and speciation, phylogeography, molecular systematics and the molecular genetics of flower head development.

 

Research Group

Postdocs - Dr Guoqing Liu; Postgrads - Mr Joe Milton, Mr Gerld Hochschartner; Technician - Mr David Forbes

graphicHybridization and evolution

Interspecific hybridization occurs frequently in the plant kingdom and can result in interspecific gene flow and the origin of new allopolyploid and homoploid hybrid species. We are currently investigating the evolutionary consequences of hybridization in Senecio.



Senecio Senecio

Recent hybridization in the British Isles between native groundsel, Senecio vulgaris , and the introduced Oxford ragwort, S. squalidus, has resulted in:

  1. the origin of a stabilised introgressant, S. vulgaris var. hibernicus;
  2. the independent origin of the allohexaploid, S. cambrensis , in N Wales and Edinburgh;
  3. the origin of the tetraploid hybrid species, S. eboracensis , in York.

These new taxa have been used as models for examining: (i) the origin and establishment of hybrid species in the wild; changes to transcriptome and genome during hybrid speciation in Senecio (in collaboration with Professor Simon Hiscock, Bristol University.

  • Abbott R.J, Lowe A.J (2004) Origins, establishment and evolution of new polyploid species: Seneciocambrensis and S. eboracensis in the British Isles. Biol. J. Linn. Soc. (Special issue, In press)
  • Lowe AJ, Abbott RJ (2004) Reproductive isolation of a new hybrid species, Senecio eboracensis Ê
    Abbott & Lowe. Heredity (In press)
  • Abbott R, James JK, Milne RI & Gillies ACM (2003) Plant introductions, hybridization and gene flow. Phil. Trans. Royal Soc. B 358: 1123-1132.
  • Abbott RJ (2003) Sex, sunflowers, and speciation. Science 301: 1189-1190.

Ê

RhododendronRhododendron

Many Rhododendron species are interfertile yet retain their identity in conditions of sympatry or parapatry. We have found a hybrid zone between two parapatric Rhododendron species in Turkey to be composed entirely of fertile F1 individuals (Richard Milne). The absence of later generation segregants and introgressants indicate that species barriers are maintained by severe post-F1 hybrid breakdown. We are currently investigating whether this phenomenon commonly maintains species barriers in the genus.
Rhododendron ponticum has become highly invasive in the British Isles following its introduction for horticultural purposes in the 18 th century. Molecular and morphological evidence shows that gene introgression has occurred from related R. catawbiense (also introduced) and may have led to an expansion of the range of R. ponticum into colder parts of the British Isles.

  • Milne RI, Terzioglu S, Abbott RJ (2003) A hybrid zone dominated by fertile F1s: Maintenance of species barriers in Rhododendron . Molecular Ecology 12: 2719-2729.
  • Milne RI, Abbott RJ (2000) Origin and evolution of invasive naturalised material of Rhododendron ponticum L. in the British Isles. Molecular Ecology 9: 541-556.

saxifrage.Phylogeography

A phylogeographic study of cpDNA variation in the arctic-alpine Purple saxifrage (Saxifraga oppositifolia) has provided evidence on how this species colonised the Arctic during the Pliocene, the locations of glacial refugia during Quaternary glaciations, and likely post-glacial migration routes during the Holocene. Phylogeographic analysis of Mediterranean Senecio based on surveys of cpDNA, ITS, RAPD and allozyme variation has provided information on how hybridisation and incomplete lineage sorting influences the partitioning of genetic variation within the group and has led to a better understanding of the group's evolutionary history.

  • Abbott RJ, Comes HP (2004) Evolution in the Arctic: A phylogeographic analysis of the circumarctic plant Saxifraga oppositifolia (Purple saxifrage). New Phytologist (Special issue) 161: 211-224.
  • Abbott RJ, Brochmann C (2003). History and evolution of the arctic flora: in the footsteps of Eric Hult┼Żn. Molecular Ecology 12: 299-313.
  • Abbott RJ, Smith LC, Milne RI, Crawford RMM, Wolff K, Balfour J (2000) Molecular analysis of plant migration and evolution in the Arctic. Science 289: 1343-1346.
  • Comes HP , Abbott RJ (2001) Molecular phylogeography, reticulation and lineage sorting in the Mediterranean species complex of Senecio sect. Senecio (Asteraceae). Evolution 55: 1943-1962.

tree
Molecular systematics

We are currently investigating the molecular systematics of the Myricaceae (Jane Herbert) and Senecio section Senecio (Joe Milton). Ê The Senecio work expands on a study of Mediterranean Senecio to include a phylogenetic analysis of representative taxa from South Africa and Australia.

Coleman M, Liston A, Kadereit JW, Abbott RJ (2003) Repeat intercontinental dispersal and Pleistocene speciation in disjunct Mediterranean and desert Senecio (Asteraceae). Am. J. Bot. 90: 1446-1454.
 

scenico2Molecular genetics of flower head development in the Asteraceae

The polymorphism for radiate versus non-radiate capitulum type in Senecio vulgaris is being used to investigate the molecular genetics of flower head development in the Asteraceae in collaboration with Rico Coen FRS (John Innes Institute).

Gillies ACM, Cubas P, Coen E.S, Abbott RJ (2002) Making rays in the Asteraceae: genetics and evolution of variation for radiate versus discoid flower heads. In Cronk QCB, Bateman RM, Hawkins JA (eds.) Developmental Genetics and Plant Evolution . Taylor & Francis, London. pp. 233-246.






Adamson, Dr Catherine Lecturer in Molecular Medicine
(School of Biology)
csa21@st-and.ac.uk
01334 461868
Molecular biology of HIV and other retroviruses
Dr Catherine Adamson

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is the causative agent of the global AIDS epidemic and has been estimated to have already caused 25 million deaths worldwide. Research in Dr Adamson’s lab will centre on understanding how HIV (and other retroviruses), produce virus particles. Virus particle production is an essential step in the virus replication cycle because it facilitates the onward infection of new cells. Three pathways must be completed to produce an infectious retroviral particle; virus assembly, release and maturation. The research will further our understanding of the molecular mechanisms required to complete these pathways with the overall aim of exploiting this knowledge for the development of novel antiretroviral drugs.






Bailey, Dr Nathan Research Fellow
(School of Biology)
nwb3@st-and.ac.uk
01334 463367
Evolutionary Biology: behaviour and speciation in insects
keywords:
Animal communication, Behavioural biology, Evolutionary biology, Genetics, Genomics, Zoology
Dr Nathan Bailey

 

Evolution and genetics of phenotypic plasticity and acoustic communication

Current Research Projects

 

1) Evolution of socially flexible mating behaviour in crickets

2) Developmental genomics of rapid evolution in the wild

3) Quantitative genetic modelling incorporating indirect genetic effects

4) Evolution of same-sex sexual behaviour


MPhil/PhD project opportunities:

 

Please visit the lab website for details about current research and PhD or postdoc openings: www.flexiblephenotype.org or contact me directly

 

 







Barker, Dr Daniel Lecturer
(School of Biology)
db60@st-and.ac.uk
01334 463598
Bioinformatics and evolution
keywords:
Bioinformatics, Evolutionary biology, Genomics
Bischoff, Dr Marcus Lecturer
(School of Biology)
mb273@st-and.ac.uk
01334 467199
Developmental genetics and imaging of morphogenesis
keywords:
Biophysics, Cell Biology, Cell signalling, Developmental biology
Boehme, Dr Lars MASTS Lecturer
(School of Biology)
lb284@st-and.ac.uk
01334 462677
Oceanography using animal-borne sensors
keywords:
Behavioural biology, Ecology, Environmental biology, Environmental modelling, Marine biology, Marine mammals
Botting, Dr Catherine Lecturer
(School of Chemistry)
cb2@st-and.ac.uk
01334 467302
Mass spectrometry and proteomics
Brierley, Prof Andrew Professor in Biology
(School of Biology)
asb4@st-and.ac.uk
01334 463458
Ecology and biology of zooplankton
keywords:
Behavioural biology, Ecology, Evolutionary biology, Marine biology
Prof Andrew Brierley

Please visit the Pelagic Ecology Research Group home page at

http://www.st-and.ac.uk/~perg






Coote, Dr Peter Lecturer
(School of Biology)
pjc5@st-and.ac.uk
01334 463406
Mode of action and application of novel antimicrobials
keywords:
Gene regulation, Microbiology, Molecular biology, Proteomics
Dr Peter Coote

Antifungals: understanding mode of action and resistance

Food spoilage and human infection due to growth of fungi are serious global problems. Furthermore, the problems are exacerbated by increasing resistance to the few antifungal compounds currently available. Thus, there is a need to develop novel approaches to target these organisms. We are studying two different groups of antifungal compounds; organic acid preservatives, which are used in manufactured foods and beverages to prevent yeast spoilage; and, antifungal peptides, for example, ranalexin and dermaseptin, which are produced as part of the innate immune system of amphibian skin.

In the lab, we are using modern functional genomics techniques, including proteomics, DNA microarrays and a library of deletion strains representing the entire yeast genome to obtain fundamental understanding of, the mode of action of the above compounds, and inducible mechanisms of resistance. More specifically, we are aiming to identify changes in global gene/protein expression occurring in response to exposure to these compounds and subsequently identify the role these genes play in either the mode of action or conferring resistance. We are also attempting to characterise which regulatory and signalling proteins detect, transmit and alter gene expression in response to exposure to these compounds.






Cresswell, Dr Will Reader
(School of Biology)
wrlc@st-and.ac.uk
01334 463010
Behavioural ecology and conservation ecology of birds
keywords:
Animal communication, Behavioural biology, Evolutionary biology, Zoology
Dr Will Cresswell

Publications in international, citation indexed, peer reviewed journals:

Davies, T.E., Fazey, I.O.A., Cresswell, W. & Pettorelli, N. (2013) Missing the trees for the wood: why we are failing to see success in pro-poor conservation. Animal Conservation in press.

Atkinson, P.W., Adams, W.M., Brouwer, J., Buchanan, G., Cheke, R.A., Cresswell, W., Hewson, C.M., Hulme, M. F., Manvell, A., Sheehan, D.K., Small, R.D.S, Sutherland, W.J. & Vickery, J.A. (2013) Defining the key wintering habitats in the Sahel for declining African-Eurasian migrants using expert assessment. Bird Conservation International in press.

Shaw, P. & Cresswell, W. (2013) Latitudinal variation in day length and working day length has a confounding effect when comparing nest attentiveness in tropical and temperate species. Journal of Ornithology in press.

Butler, C.J., Cresswell, W., Gosler, A. & Perrins, C. (2013) The breeding biology of Rose-ringed Parakeets Psittacula krameri in England during a period of rapid population expansion. Bird Study in press.

Manu, S. & Cresswell, W. (2013) Diurnal patterns of mass gain in tropical granivores suggest avoidance of high midday temperatures during foraging rather than the starvation-predation risk trade-off. Ostrich 84: 95-100.

Hunter, M. & Cresswell, W. (2013) Factors affecting the distribution and abundance of the volcano rabbit Romerolagus diazi on the Iztaccihuatl volcano. Oryx in press.

Cresswell, W. & Quinn, J.L. (2013) Contrasting risks from different predators change the overall non-lethal effects of predation risk. Behavioral Ecology 24: 871-876.

Cox, D.T.C, Brandt, M.J., McGregor, R., Ottosson, U., Stevens, M.C. & Cresswell, W. (2013) The seasonality of breeding in savannah birds of West Africa assessed from brood patch and juvenile occurrence. Journal of Ornithology 154: 671-683.

Stevens, M.C., Ottosson, U., McGregor, R. & Brandt, M. & Cresswell, W. (2013) Survival rates in West African savannah birds. Ostrich 84:11-25.

Hulme, M. & Cresswell, W. (2012) Density and behaviour of Whinchats Saxicola rubetra on African farmland suggest that winter habitat conditions do not limit European breeding populations. Ibis 154:680-692.

Quinn, J.L. & Cresswell, W. (2012) Local prey vulnerability increases with multiple attacks by a predator. Oikos 121:1328-1334.

Quinn, J. L., Cole, E. F., Bates, J., Payne, R., & Cresswell, W. (2012) Personality predicts individual responsiveness to risk of starvation and predation. Proceedings of the Royal Society: Series B 279:1919-1926.

Couchoux, C. & Cresswell, W. (2012) Personality constraints versus flexible anti-predation behaviours: how important is boldness in risk management of redshanks (Tringa totanus) foraging in a natural system. Behavioral ecology 23:290-301.

Cox, D.T.C, Brandt, M.J., McGregor, R., Ottosson, U., Stevens, M.C. & Cresswell, W. (2011) Patterns of seasonal and yearly mass variation in West African tropical savannah birds. Ibis 153:672-683.

Cresswell, W. (2011) Predation in bird populations. Journal of Ornithology 152 (Suppl 1):S251-S263.

Lord, A.M, McCleery, R. & Cresswell, W. (2011) Incubation prior to clutch completion accelerates embryonic development and so hatch date for eggs laid earlier in a clutch in the Great tit, Parus major. Journal of Avian Biology 42: 187-191.

Cresswell, W. & Quinn, J.L. (2011) Predicting the optimal group-size from predator hunting behaviour. Journal of Animal Ecology 80: 310-319.

Wilson, J.M. & Cresswell , W. (2010) Densities of Palearctic warblers and Afrotropical species within the same guild in Sahelian West Africa. Ostrich 81:225-232.

Cresswell, W. & Quinn, J.L. (2010) Attack frequency, attack success and choice of prey group size for two predators with contrasting hunting strategies. Animal Behaviour 80: 643-648.

Manu, S., Imong, I.S. & Cresswell W. (2010) Bird species richness and diversity at montane IBA sites in South Eastern Nigeria. Bird Conservation International 20:231-239.

Wilson, J.M. & Cresswell , W. (2010) The Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe in the Sahel of West Africa: distribution, seasonal variation in abundance and habitat associations. Ostrich 81:115-121.

Stevens, M.C., Sheehan, D.K., Wilson, J.M., Buchanan, G.M. & Cresswell, W. (2010) Changes in Sahelian bird biodiversity and tree density over a five year period in Northern Nigeria. Bird Study 57:156-174.

Cresswell, W., Lind, J. & Quinn, J.L. (2010) Predator hunting success and prey vulnerability: quantifying the spatial scale over which lethal and non-lethal effects of predation occur. Journal of Animal Ecology 79:556-562.

Jones, T. & Cresswell, W. (2010) The phenology mismatch hypothesis: Are declines of migrant birds linked to uneven global change? Journal of Animal Ecology 79:98-108.

Sansom, A., Lind, J. & Cresswell, W. (2009) Individual behaviour and survival: the roles of predator avoidance, foraging success and vigilance. Behavioral Ecology 20:1168-1174.

Cresswell, W., Clark, J. & Macleod, R. (2009) How climate change might influence the starvation-predation risk trade-off response. Proceedings of the Royal Society: Series B 276: 3553-3560.

W. Cresswell, W., Butler, S., Whittingham, M.J. &  Quinn. J.L. (2009) Very short delays prior to escape from potential predators may function efficiently as adaptive risk-assessment periods. Behaviour 146:795-813.

Brandt, M.J. & Cresswell W. (2009) Diurnal foraging routines in a tropical bird, the rock finch Lagonosticta sanguinodorsalis: how important is predation risk? Journal of Avian Biology 40:90-94.

Macleod, R., Clark, J. & Cresswell, W. (2008) The starvation-predation risk trade-off, body mass and population status in the Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris. Ibis 150 S1:199-208.

Cresswell W. & Whitfield D.P. (2008) How starvation risk in Redshanks results in predation mortality from Sparrowhawks. Ibis 150 S1:209-218.

Brandt, M.J. & Cresswell W. (2008) Breeding behaviour, home range and habitat selection in Rock Firefinches (Lagonosticta sanguinodorsalis) in the wet and dry season in central Nigeria. Ibis 150:495-507.

Sansom, S., Cresswell W., Minderman, J. & Lind, L. (2008) Vigilance benefits and competition costs in groups: do individual redshanks gain an overall foraging benefit? Animal Behaviour 75:1869-1875.

Cresswell, W. (2008) Non-lethal effects of predation risk in birds. Ibis150:3-17.

Garcia-del-Rey, E., Cresswell, W., Perrins, C.M. & Gosler, A.G. (2007). Evolutionary trends and extreme cases of life history traits in the Blue Tit (Parus caeruleus) on oceanic islands (Canary Islands). Ardeola 54:27-39.

Garcia-del-Rey, E., & Cresswell, W.  (2007). The breeding biology of the endemic Berthelot’s Pipit Anthus berthelotii in a harsh oceanic island environment (Tenerife, Canary Islands). Ostrich 78:583-589. 

MacLeod, R., Lind,J., Clark J., & Cresswell W. (2007) Mass regulation in response to predation risk can indicate population declines. Ecology Letters 10: 945-955.

McGregor, R., Whittingham, M.J. & Cresswell, W. (2007) Survival rates of tropical birds in Nigeria, West Africa. Ibis 149:615-618.

Cresswell, W., Wilson, J.M., Vickery J., Jones, P. & Holt, S. (2007) Changes in densities of Sahelian bird species in response to recent habitat degradation. Ostrich 78:247-253.

Wilson, J.M. & Cresswell, W. (2007) Identification of potentially competing Afrotropical and Palearctic bird species in the Sahel. Ostrich 78:363-368.

McGregor, R.M., Ottosson, U. & Cresswell W. (2007) Moult of guinea savanna passerines in West Africa. Ostrich 78:287-290.

Manu, S. & Cresswell W. (2007) Addressing sampling bias in counting forest birds: a West African case study. Ostrich 78:281-286.

Cresswell, W., Lind, J., Quinn, J.L., Minderman, J. & Whitfield, D.P.  (2007) Ringing or colour-banding does not increase predation mortality in redshanks. Journal of Avian Biology 38:309-316.

Manu, S., Peach, W. & Cresswell, W. (2007) The effects of fragment size and degree of isolation on avian species richness in highly fragmented forest in West Africa. Ibis 149:287-297.

Watson, M., Aebischer, N.J. & Cresswell W. (2007) Vigilance and fitness in grey partridges Perdix perdix: the effects of group size and foraging-vigilance trade-offs on predation mortality. Journal of Animal Ecology 76:211-221.

Quinn, J.L., Whittingham, M.J., Butler, S.J. & Cresswell, W. (2006) Noise, predation risk compensation and vigilance in the chaffinch Fringilla coelebs. Journal of Avian Biology 37:601-608.

Wilson, J.M. & Cresswell, W. (2006) How robust are Palearctic migrants to habitat loss and degradation in the Sahel? Ibis 148:789-800.

Quinn, J.L. & Cresswell, W. (2006) Testing domains of danger in the selfish herd: sparrowhawks target widely spaced redshanks in flocks. Proceedings of the Royal Society: Series B 273:2521-2526.

Watson M., Wilson J. M., Koshkin M., Sherbakov B., Karpov F., Gavrilov A., Schielzeth, H., Brombacher M., Collar N.J. & Cresswell W. (2006) Nest survival and productivity of the critically endangered Sociable Lapwing Vanellus gregarious. Ibis 148:489-502.

Garcia-del-Rey, E., Cresswell, W., Perrins, C. & Gosler, A. (2006) Variable effects of laying date on clutch size in the Canary Island Blue Tits (group). Ibis 148:564-567. 

Minderman, J., Lind, J. & Cresswell W. (2006) Behaviourally mediated indirect effects: Interference competition increases predation mortality in foraging redshanks. Journal of Animal Ecology 75:713-723.

Lind, J. & Cresswell, W. (2006) Anti-predation behaviour during bird migration; the benefit of studying multiple behavioural dimensions. Journal of Ornithology 147:310-316.

MacLeod R., Barnett P., Clark J., Cresswell W. (2006) Mass-dependent predation risk as a mechanism for house sparrow declines? Biology Letters 2:43-46.

Butler,S.J., Whittingham,M.J., Quinn,J.L. & Cresswell,W. (2006) Time in captivity and individual differences influence experimental success: foraging trials on wild-caught chaffinches. Behaviour 143: 535-548.

Garcia-del-Rey, E. & Cresswell, W. (2006) Population size and habitat selection of the Feurteventura Blue Tit (Parus caeruleus degener). Ostrich 77:105-108.

Garcia-del-Rey, E. & Cresswell, W. (2005) Density estimates, microhabitat selection, and foraging behaviour of the endemic blue chaffinch Fringilla teydae teydae on Tenerife (Canary Islands). Ardeola 52: 305-317.

Manu, S., Peach, W., Bowden, C. & Cresswell W. (2005) The effects of forest fragmentation on the population density and distribution of the globally endangered Ibadan Malimbe Malimbus ibadanensis. Bird Conservation International 15: 275-285.

Quinn, J.L. & Cresswell, W. (2005) Personality and anti-predation behaviour in the chaffinch Fringilla coelebs. Behaviour 142: 1383-1408.

MacLeod, R., Gosler, A. & Cresswell, W. (2005). Diurnal mass gain strategies and perceived predation risk in the great tit, Parus major. Journal of Animal Ecology 74:956-964.

Lind, J. & Cresswell, W. (2005). Determining the fitness consequences of anti-predation behaviour. Behavioral Ecology 16:945-956.

Quinn, J.L. & Cresswell, W. (2005) Escape response delays in wintering redshank Tringa totanus flocks are explained by the perceptual limit and economic hypotheses. Animal Behaviour 69:1285-1292.

Githiru, M., Lens, L. & Cresswell W. (2005) Nest predation in a fragmented Afrotropical forest: evidence from natural and artificial nests. Biological Conservation 123:189-196.

MacLeod, R., Barnett, R.B., Clark, J. & Cresswell, W. (2005) Body mass change strategies in blackbirds Turdus merula: the starvation-predation risk trade-off. Journal of Animal Ecology 74:292-302.

Butler,S.J., Whittingham,M.J., Quinn,J.L. & Cresswell,W. (2005) Quantifying the interaction between food density and habitat structure in determining patch selection. Animal Behaviour 69:337-343.

Whittingham,M.J., Butler,S.J., Quinn,J.L. & Cresswell,W. (2004) The effect of limited visibility on vigilance behaviour and speed of predator detection. Oikos 106:377-385.

Cresswell, W., Holt, S., Reid, J.M., Whitfield, D.P., Mellanby, R.J., Norton, D., & Waldron, S. (2004) The energetic costs of egg heating constrain incubation attendance but do not determine daily energy expenditure in the Pectoral Sandpiper. Behavioral Ecology 15:498-507.

Catry, P., Campos, A., Almada, V. & Cresswell, W. (2004) Winter segregation of migrant European Robins Erithacus rubecula in relation to sex, age and size. Journal of Avian Biology 35:204-209.

Quinn, J.L. & Cresswell, W. (2004). Predator hunting behaviour and prey vulnerability. Journal of Animal Ecology 73:143-154.

Cresswell, W. & Quinn, J. (2004). Faced with a choice, predators select the most vulnerable group: implications for both predators and prey for monitoring relative vulnerability. Oikos 104:71-76.

Yasué, M., Quinn, J.L. & Cresswell, W. (2003). Multiple effects of weather on the starvation and predation risk trade-off in choice of feeding location in redshanks. Functional Ecology 17:727-736.

Cresswell, W., Lind, J., Kaby, U., Quinn, J.L. & Jakobsson, S. (2003). Does an opportunistic predator preferentially attack non-vigilant prey? Animal Behaviour 66: 643-648.

Cresswell,W. (2003). Testing the mass-dependent predation hypothesis: in European blackbirds poor foragers have higher overwinter body reserves. Animal Behaviour 65:1035-1044.

Cresswell, W., Quinn, J.L., Whittingham, M.J., & Butler, S. (2003). Good foragers can also be good at detecting predators. Proceedings of the Royal Society: Series B 270:1069-1076.

Cresswell W. & McCleery, R. (2003) How great tits maintain synchronisation of their hatch date with food supply in response to long term variability in temperature. Journal of Animal Ecology 72:356-366.

Cresswell, W., Holt, S., Reid, J.M., Whitfield, D.P. & Mellanby, R.J. (2003) Do the energetic demands of incubation constrain incubation scheduling in a biparental species. Behavioral Ecology 14:97-102.

Smith, R.D., Ruxton, G.D. & Cresswell, W. (2002) Do kleptoparasites reduce their own foraging effort in order to detect kleptoparasitic opportunities? An empirical test of a key assumption of kleptoparasitic models. Oikos 97: 205-212.

Reid, J.M., Cresswell, W., Holt, S., Mellanby, R.J., Whitfield, D.P. & Ruxton, G.D. (2002). Nest scrape design and clutch heat loss in Pectoral Sandpipers (Calidris melanotos). Functional Ecology 16:305-312.

McGowan, A., Cresswell, W. & Ruxton, G.D. (2002) The effects of daily weather variation on foraging and responsiveness to disturbance in overwintering Red Knot (Calidris canutus). Ardea 90:229-237.

Smith, R.D., Ruxton, G.D. & Cresswell, W. (2001) Patch choice decisions of wild blackbirds: the role of pre-harvest public information Animal Behaviour 61:1113-1124.

Smith, R.D., Ruxton, G.D. & Cresswell, W. (2001) Dominance and feeding interference in small groups of blackbirds Behavioral Ecology 12:475-481.

Cresswell, W. (2001). Relative competitive ability does not change over time in blackbirds. Journal of Animal Ecology 70:218-227.

Cresswell, W. , Smith, R.D. & Ruxton, G.D. (2001). Absolute foraging rate and susceptibility to interference competition in blackbirds varies with patch conditions. Journal of Animal Ecology 70:228-236.

Cresswell, W. Hilton, G.M.,& Ruxton, G.D. (2000) Evidence for a rule governing the avoidance of superfluous escape flights. Proceedings of the Royal Society: Series B 267:1069-1076.

Cresswell, W. (1999). Travel distance and mass gain in wintering blackbirds. Animal Behaviour 58:1109-1116.

Hilton, G.M., Ruxton, G.D. & Cresswell, W. (1999) Choice of foraging area with respect to predation risk in redshanks: the effects of weather and predator activity. Oikos 87:295-302.

Hilton, G.M., Cresswell, W. & Ruxton, G.D. (1999) Intra-flock variation in the speed of escape-flight response on attack by an avian predator. Behavioural Ecology 10: 391-395.

Whitfield D.P., Cresswell W., Ashmole N.P., Clark N.A. & Evans A.D. (1999) No evidence for Sparrowhawks selecting Redshanks according to size and condition. Journal of Avian Biology 30:31-39.

Cresswell, W., Yerokhov, S., Berezovikov, N., Mellanby, R., Bright, S., Catry, P., Chaves, J., Freile, J., Gretton, A., Zykin, A., McGregor, R. & McLaughlin, D. (1999). Important wetlands in northern and eastern Kazakstan. Wildfowl 50:181-194.

Vickery, J., Thomas D., Rowcliffe, M., Cresswell, W., Jones, P. & Holt, S. (1999) Habitat selection of whitethroats during spring passage in the Sahel zone of northern Nigeria. Bird Study 46: 348-355.

Cresswell, W., M. Hughes, R. Mellanby, S. Bright, P. Catry, J. Chaves, J. Freile, A. Gabela, H. Martineau, R. MacLeod, F. McPhee, N. Anderson, S. Holt, S. Barabas, C. Chapel & T. Sanchez (1999) Densities and habitat preferences of Andean cloud-forest birds in pristine and degraded habitats in northeastern Ecuador. Bird Conservation International 9:124-145.

Cresswell, W. (1998) Relative competitive ability changes with competitor density: evidence from foraging blackbirds. Animal Behaviour 56:1367-1373.

Cresswell, W. (1998) Variation in the strength of interference competition with resource density in blackbirds Turdus merula. Oikos 81:152-160.

Cresswell, W. (1998) Diurnal and seasonal mass variation in blackbirds Turdus merula: consequences for mass-dependent predation risk. Journal of Animal Ecology 67:78-90.

Cresswell, W. (1997) Interference competition at low competitor densities in blackbirds Turdus merula. Journal of Animal Ecology 66:461-471.

Cresswell, W. (1997) Nest predation rates and nest detectability at different stages of breeding in blackbirds Turdus merula. Journal of Avian Biology 28:296-302.

Cresswell, W. (1997) Nest predation: the relative effects of nest characteristics, clutch size and parental behaviour. Animal Behaviour 53:93-103.

Cresswell, W., Irwin, M., Jensen, M., Mee, A., Mellanby, R., McKean, M. & Milne, L. (1997) Population estimates and distribution changes of landbirds on Silhouette Island, Seychelles. Ostrich 68: 50-57.

Cresswell, W. (1996) Surprise as a winter hunting strategy in Sparrowhawks Accipiter nisus, Peregrines Falco peregrinus and Merlins F. columbarius. Ibis 138:684-692.

Jones, P., Vickery, J., Holt, S., & Cresswell, W. (1996) A preliminary assessment of some factors influencing the density and distribution of Palearctic passerine migrants wintering in the Sahel zone of West Africa. Bird Study 43:73-84.

Cresswell, W. (1995) Selection of avian prey by wintering sparrowhawks Accipiter nisus in southern Scotland. Ardea 83:381-389.

Cresswell, W. (1994) Age-dependent choice of redshank (Tringa totanus) feeding location: profitability or risk? Journal of Animal Ecology 63:589-600.

Cresswell, W. (1994) Flocking is an effective anti-predation strategy in Redshanks, Tringa totanus. Animal Behaviour 47: 433-442.

Cresswell, W. (1994) The function of alarm calls in redshanks, Tringa totanus. Animal Behaviour 47:736-738.

Cresswell, W. (1994) Song as a pursuit-deterrent signal, and its occurrence relative to other anti-predation behaviours of skylark (Alauda arvensis) on attack by merlins (Falco columbarius). Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology 34:217-223.

Cresswell, W. & Whitfield, D.P. (1994) The effects of raptor predation on wintering wader populations at the Tyninghame estuary, southeast Scotland. Ibis 136:223-232.

Cresswell, W. (1993) Escape responses by redshanks, Tringa totanus, on attack by avian predators. Animal Behaviour 46:609-611.

Other peer reviewed publications:

Cresswell, W. (2010) Empirical studies of predator and prey behaviour. In Breed, M. D. & Moore, J., eds. Encyclopedia of Animal Behavior , pp 633-638. Oxford: Academic Press.

Cresswell, W., Boyd, M. & Stevens, M. (2009). Movements of Palearctic and Afrotropical bird species during the dry season (November–February) within Nigeria. pp. 18–28. In: Harebottle, D.M., Craig, A.J.F.K., Anderson, M.D., Rakotomanana, H. & Muchai. (eds). Proceedings of the 12th Pan African Ornithological Congress, 2008. Cape Town, Animal Demography Unit.

Cresswell, W. (2009) The use of mass and fat reserve measurements from ringing studies to assess body condition. Ringing & Migration 24: 227-232.

Manu, S., Peach, W. & Cresswell, W. (2005). Notes on the natural history of the Ibadan Malimbe Malimbus ibadanensis, a threatened Nigerian endemic. Malimbus 27:33-39.

Cresswell, W. (2004) Kleptoparasitism rates and aggressive interactions between raptors. In Raptors Worldwide: Proceedings of the 6th World Conference on Birds of Prey and Owls. Chancellor, R. D. & B.-U. Meyburg eds. pp 805 – 814. World Working Group on Birds of Prey and Owls, Berlin, Germany.

Manu, S. & Cresswell, W. (2002). The effects of forest fragmentation on Palearctic migrants in south western Nigeria. In Wings Over Africa: Proceedings of the International Seminar on Bird Migration: Research, Conservation, Education and Flight Safety (Eds. Leshem, Y., Froneman, A., Mundy, P. Shamir, H.), pp 143 – 150. International Center for the Study of Bird Migration, Israel.

Cresswell, W., R. Mellanby, S. Bright, P. Catry, J. Chaves, J. Freile, A. Gabela, M. Hughes, H. Martineau, R. MacLeod, F. McPhee, , N. Anderson, S. Holt, S. Barabas, C. Chapel & T. Sanchez. (1999) Birds of the Guandera Reserve, Carchi province, northeastern Ecuador. Cotinga 11:55-63.

Cresswell, W. (1997). Carrion crows catching waders. British Birds 90:366.

Cresswell, W. (1997). Caching of prey by carrion crows. British Birds 90 366-367.






Dornelas, Dr Maria MASTS Lecturer
(School of Biology)
maadd@st-and.ac.uk
01334 463324
Macroecology and biodiversity patterns
Duck, Mr Callan Senior Research Scientist
(School of Biology)
cdd1@st-and.ac.uk
01334 462636
Monitoring populations of harbour (= common) and grey seals in Scotland
keywords:
Marine mammals, Population biology
Ferreira, Dr Helder Lecturer
(School of Biology)
hcf2@st-and.ac.uk
01334 463425
Chromatin remodelling and telomere maintenance
keywords:
Chemical biology, Molecular Biology
Ferrier, Dr Dave Lecturer
(School of Biology)
dekf@st-and.ac.uk
01334 463480
Evolutionary Developmental Biology
keywords:
Developmental biology, Evolutionary biology, Genomics, Marine biology, Zoology
Gaggiotti, Prof Oscar MASTS Professor
(School of Biology)
oeg@st-and.ac.uk
01334 463513
Ecology, population genetics, evolution and conservation biology
keywords:
Biodiversity, Ecological modelling, Evolutionary biology, Statistics
Gardner, Dr Andy Reader
(School of Biology)
ag243@st-and.ac.uk
01334 463385
Social evolution theory
keywords:
Altruism, Game theory, Kin selection, Population genetics, Selfishness, Sex allocation
Gillespie, Dr Douglas Researcher
(School of Biology)
dg50@st-and.ac.uk
01334 462663
Passive acoustic monitoring of marine mammals
keywords:
Conservation biology, Marine mammals, Population biology

Current Research Projects

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MPhil/PhD project opportunities:

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Gloster, Dr Tracey Wellcome Trust Research Fellow
(School of Biology)
tmg@st-and.ac.uk
01334 467245
Structure and function of carbohydrate processing enzymes
keywords:
Biophysics, Chemical biology, Enzymology, Molecular Biology, Structural biology
Gordon, Dr Jonathan Research Fellow
(School of Biology)
jg20@st-and.ac.uk
01334 462637
Graves, Dr Jeff Honorary Senior Lecturer
(School of Biology)
jag@st-and.ac.uk
01334 463518/3358
Mating behaviour, maternity and parentage and population structure
keywords:
Behavioural biology, Evolutionary biology, Zoology
Dr Jeff Graves

finchMaternally deposited testosterone in eggs and differential maternal investment in the zebra finch.

While differential female investment in the offspring of particular males has been described before, we found that female zebra finches deposit more testosterone in the yolks of their eggs when they have a more attractive mate (easily manipulated in this species). We have since found that the behaviour, growth and maturation rate of the offspring are affected by this increased concentration of testosterone. We are currently examining the effects on dominance, sexual dimorphism and of these effects and the dynamics of this differential investment. We have also found that female zebra finches skew the sex ratio of their eggs in response to diet quality, but not in response to the attractiveness of their mate.

Researchers : Pati Celis, Lucy Gilbert, Neil Hazon, Kathryn Williamson. Funded by the BBSRC.

  • Gil D, Graves J, Hazon N, Wells A (1999) Male attractiveness and differential testosterone investment in zebra finch eggs. Science 286, 126-128.
  • Gil D, Graves J (2001) Differential allocation and good genes. Trends Ecol & Evol 16: 21-22.
  • Rutstein AN, Slater PJB, Graves JA (in press) Diet quality and resource allocation in the zebra finch. Biological Letters .
  • Rutstein AN,Gilbert,L, Slater PJB, Graves JA (in press) Mate attractiveness and differential allocation in zebra finches. Animal Behavour
     

sealMeasurements of Relatedness and Population Structure in Seals

Grey seals breed in spatially structured, colonial groups with high levels of synchrony in breeding and show high levels of philopatry potentially resulting in aggregations of related individuals. We are using microsatellites to look at relatedness between individual female grey seals and the effects on the interactions with their neighbours. Very recently we have used these and other molecular markers to examine the population structure of grey seals in the Baltic and have just begun to do the same with the populations of ringed seals breeding around Svalbard working with the Norwegian Polar Institute in Tromso.

Researchers : Olle Karlsson, Kit Kovacs, Veronica Poland, Paddy Pomeroy

Funded by NERC, the World Wildlife Fund, and Research Council of Norway.

 

ostrich/cukooCommunal nesting and reproductive skew

Most avian communal breeding systems are characterised by only one breeding pair per group plus non-breeding helpers, but in some there are two or more breeding females in the group. This reproductive sharing has been explained as the result of reproductive incentives by controlling dominants to keep subordinates in the group or incomplete control over reproduction by dominants. Measurements of reproductive skew are fundamental to understanding the evolution and maintenance of these breeding systems and we are using microsatellite markers to measure this in two very different communal breeding systems. 1) In the ostrich multiple, unrelated females lay in a nest, but only one female contributes to incubation and brooding. 2) The guira cuckoo almost always breeds in groups of related and unrelated birds with up to 7 females laying in a joint, cooperatively built nest. All contribute to incubation, vigilance and nest defence , but they also show high levels of conflict. Adults eject eggs and even nestlings from the communal nest, sometimes leading to the loss of the entire brood.

Researchers : Charles Kimwele, Regina Macedo, Laura Muniz

Funded by NERC, National Geographic Society and el Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento de Ciencia e Tecnologia, and British Council.

  • Kimwele CN, Graves J, Burke T, Hanotte T (1998) Development of microsatellite markers for parentage typing of chicks using hatched eggs in the ostrich, Struthio camelus . Molecular. Ecology 7: 247-255.
  • Kimwele CN, Graves JA (2003) A molecular genetic analysis of the communal nesting of the ostrich ( Struthio camelus ). Molecular Ecology 12: 229-236.
  • Muniz L, Macedo RF, Graves JA (2003) Isolation and characterization of dinucleotide microsatellite loci in communally breeding guira cuckoos (Aves: Cuculidae). Molecular Ecology Notes 3: 209-211.
    Macedo RHF, Cariello MO, Graves JA, Schwabl H (2003) Reproductive partitioning in communally breeding guira cuckoos, Guira guira. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. Published online Nov 2003.





Gunn-Moore, Prof Frank Professor of Molecular Neurobiology
Director of Research

(School of Biology)
fjg1@st-and.ac.uk
01334 463525
Molecular development and survival of mammalian neurons
keywords:
Biophysics, Cell biology, Cell signalling, Molecular biology, Neurobiology
Prof Frank Gunn-Moore

The prognosis for most neurodegenerative diseases is poor. The causes of the major diseases (eg: Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Multiple Sclerosis) are complex, including genetic and environmental factors. All conspire to interfere with signalling pathways in neurons and glia which sustain growth and viability. My work focuses on factors that are involved in the promotion of correct neuronal function.

 

A) L1 family of cell adhesion molecules and the novel FERM containing protein Willin/FRMD6

 

All members of the L1 family of cell adhesion molecules share a basic structural plan of six extracellular immunoglobulin domains, followed with three to five fibronectin type III domains, a transmembrane hydrophobic segment and a short cytoplasmic domain. The cytoplasmic domain can interact with cytoskeletal linking proteins eg ankyrin and this is controlled by tyrosine phosphorylation of the cytoplasmic domain; phosphorylation preventing the interaction with ankyrin. The addition of neurotrophic factors can stimulate this phosphorylation. Determining the events involved in this process is one of my current aims. We have identified novel proteins and new protein-protein interactions between these cell adhesion molecules and cytoplasmic proteins (Davey et al., 2005; Gunn-Moore et al., 2006; Herron et al., 2009). In particular we have identified a new member of the 4.1 superfamily of proteins. This protein Willin (also termed FRMD6) (Gunn-Moore et al., 2005) appears to be able to activate the Hippo signalling pathway, and has a potential role as acting as a novel tumour suppressor (Madan et al., 2006; Angus et al., 2011), also see BBC website http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-13808568.


B) The consequences of mitochondrial beta-amyloid in Alzheimer’s disease

click to enlarge

Amyloid binding alcohol dehydrogenase (ABAD) and Cyclophilin D (CypD) are mitochondrial binding sites for the toxic peptide, beta-amyloid (Muirhead et al., 2010a; Borger et al., 2011). Alzheimer patients have increased expression levels of ABAD and CypD and their interaction with beta-amyloid results in neuronal cell death (Lustbader et al., 2004; Du et al., 2008). Intriguingly upon binding beta-amyloid, ABAD translocates from the endoplasmic reticulum to the inner face of the plasma membrane, but the significance of these phenomena is unknown. Information concerning the structure of ABAD will be of great significance. Drugs designed to prevent the interaction of the beta-amyloid peptide to ABAD and CypD could potentially prevent apoptosis of neurons. In collaboration, we have purified, crystallized and solved the three dimensional structure of this important protein (Powell et al., 2000; Lustbader et al., 2004). Also see BBC web site http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/3628319.stm. In addition, we have developed cellular based assays to screen novel drugs which interfere with the beta-amyloid-ABAD interaction (Muirhead et al, 2010b) which are hoped to be developed for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. We have also, using proteomics technology, identified novel proteins which become activated in Alzheimer's patients (Yao et al., 2007; Ren et al., 2008; also see BBC web site http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/edinburgh_and_east/6911831.stm. We have also shown that we can use a 'decoy peptide', based on the binding site of beta-amyloid to ABAD, as a means to reverse both biochemical and behavioural changes associated with Alzheimer's disease (Yao et al., 2007; Ren et al., 2008; Yao et al., 2011).

In a separate project in collaboration with the Universities of Edinburgh, Bristol and California, we have also discovered that pet cats also have molecular characteristics that are associated with Alzheimer's disease (Gunn-Moore et al., 2006; Gunn-Moore et al., 2010). Also see BBC website: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/6212080.stm.

C) Biophotonics

It has been known for a long time that cells can respond to light, for example unicellular organisms are known that can move towards a light source (phototaxis) or the photoreceptor cell in the mammalian retina that detects light and produces a signalling cascade (phototransduction), giving vision. Recent studies, however, indicate that the response of whole cells to light is a much more widely distributed phenomenon than previously appreciated. It is now apparent that cells can be influenced by light in diverse ways, for example by influencing their growth or modifying their membrane structure allowing large molecules to cross cell membranes. Optical tweezer techniques can be used for cell manipulation and sorting. Furthermore, the optical scattering and absorption properties of cells can be used for detection purposes, either using plane waves, microcavity configurations, Bessel beams or Raman techniques. In a major collaboration between the Schools of Physics, Biology and Medicine, we are investigating how light can influence and manipulate both cellular and sub-cellular biological material (see University of St Andrews Biophotonics. In particular, we have developed a novel transfection technique that allows the selective introduction of genetic material into a variety of mammalian cells (e.g. see Paterson et al., 2005; Stevenson et al., 2006; Tsampoula et al., 2007; Cizmar et al., 2008; Torres et al., 2010; Mthunzi et al., 2010). We have also developed this technology for use with optic fibres (Tsampoula et al., 2008; Nan et al., 2010). In another example of truly interdisciplinary research we have developed an ability to manipulate positively the growth of neuronal growth cones by use of laser light (Stevenson et al., 2006; Carnegie et al., 2008; Carnegie et al., 2009). This work has now been strengthened by a SULSA funded Cell Technologist (see http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/~biophot/sulsa.html) who is developing many of these techniques for researchers outside of St Andrews.






Hall, Dr Ailsa Senior Research Scientist, Acting Director SMRU
(School of Biology)
ajh7@st-and.ac.uk
01334 462634
Environmental and physiological factors affecting marine mammal health and survival.
keywords:
Marine mammals, Population biology
Hammond, Prof Philip Professor
(School of Biology)
psh2@st-and.ac.uk
01334 463222
Population dynamics, ecology and foraging behaviour of seals and cetaceans
keywords:
Conservation biology, Ecology, Marine biology, Marine mammals, Population biology
Prof Philip Hammond

Population dynamics and ecology

Foraging behaviour and diet of seals and cetaceans. Estimation of animal abundance. Statistical and mathematical modelling of marine mammal population parameters and processes. Interactions between marine mammals and man: management of whaling, cetacean bycatch in fisheries, seal-fishery interactions; conservation of vulnerable species.






Hazon, Dr Neil Reader
(School of Biology)
nh1@st-and.ac.uk
01334 463451/3452/3447
Osmoregulatory function in fish
keywords:
Marine biology, Organismal biology, Zoology
Dr Neil Hazon

Classical whole animal physiology/endocrinology linked to in vitro isolated tissue and cell and molecular studies to investigate osmoregulatory function. The control of sodium and water balance in teleost fish. Expression and characterisation of Na+-K+-ATPase and "CFR-like" chloride channels in euryhaline fish. Environmental factors affecting stress, growth rate and development in aquaculture. Development of recirculation technology for application in aquaculture. Osmoregulation, physiology and behaviour of migratory sea trout. Control of sodium and urea metabolism in elasmobranch fish. Isolation and characterisation of novel elasmobranch peptides






Healy, Dr Sue Reader
(School of Biology)
sdh11@st-and.ac.uk
01334 462065
Spatial memory, the brain and behaviour
keywords:
Behavioural biology
Heinrich, Dr Sonja Senior Teaching Fellow
(School of Biology)
sh52@st-and.ac.uk
01334 462628
Marine mammal ecology
keywords:
Conservation biology, Ecology, Marine biology, Marine mammals
Dr Sonja Heinrich

Research Interests:

Marine mammal ecology (distribution & habitat use, species interactions, conservation of vulnerable species, polar regions),

Research Project:

Conservation ecology of small cetaceans in southern Chile

 






Hooker, Dr Sascha Reader
(School of Biology)
sh43@st-and.ac.uk
01334 467201
Ecology and behaviour of marine mammals
keywords:
Behavioural biology, Marine mammals, Zoology
Dr Sascha Hooker

My interests lie primarily in the study of foraging behaviour and ecology of marine predators, and the application of this to conservation planning.

Current Projects

Marine predator foraging ecology

Work on predator foraging often relies on inference from dive profiles. Using a miniature video camera attached to the animal we can view the foraging space of a diving animal and test previously used proxies for foraging behaviour. The identification of foraging areas and assessment of the stability of these over time and space enable us to investigate variability in foraging success and the criteria driving this (whether anthropogenically or environmentally induced)

Diving physiology

The mechanisms allowing marine mammals to avoid problems associated with diving to depth are still only partially understood. Recent deaths of beaked whales associated with sonar exposure appear to be due to decompression sickness. I am interested in how problems such as shallow-water blackout and decompression sickness are avoided, and use modelling approaches to determine risk based on dive profiles.

Conservation planning and marine protected areas

An ecosystem-approach is widely advocated in conservation planning but ecosystem modelling approaches, despite their sophistication, often suffer from a lack of source data or inherent uncertainties. An alternative is to use spatially explicit management. I am interested in the application of such marine reserve areas to higher predators.


MPhil/PhD project opportunities:

 

  • Potential students are welcome to contact me to discuss projects.





Ingledew, Dr John Reader
(School of Biology)
wji@st-and.ac.uk
01334 463408
Biochemical and biophysical studies of nitric oxide synthase
keywords:
Biochemistry, Biophysics, Enzymology
Dr John Ingledew

Departmental Duties:

  • Honours Organiser Irvine Building Building
  • Honours Module Organiser: Information & energy transfer
  • Honours Module Organiser: Biochemistry practical III

Other:

  • Warden John Burnet Hall
  • Biochemical Society, Secretary Bioenergetics Group

The structure and function of electron transfering respiratory complexes

The research aim is to contribute to the understanding of the processes of biological energy conservation; these unresolved problems lie at the centre of Biochemistry. Work is concerned with both electron transfer and chemiosmotic aspects of respiration. Although respiratory and photosynthetic proton-translocation (leading to ATP synthesis) are experimentally well established the molecular mechanisms remain much disputed and challenging to explore. Studies have focused on systems where experimental disadvantages are minimised (E. coli because of exploitation of recombinant DNA technology, and T. ferrooxidans because of a short and relatively simple respiratory chain). A major interest concerns the mechanism of redox catalysis in these enzyme complexes and how this fits with membrane location, and how it impinges on the generation of a proton motive force. Currently the main focus is on the structure and function of the respiratory oxidases, cytochrome aa3 and bo.






Jackson, Dr David BSRC Fellow / Honorary Lecturer
(School of Biology)
dj10@st-and.ac.uk
01334 463422
Molecular biology of influenza viruses and arenaviruses
keywords:
Molecular Biology, Virology
Janik, Prof Vincent Professor of Biology
(School of Biology)
vj@st-and.ac.uk
01334 467214
Acoustic communication and behaviour in marine mammals
keywords:
Animal communication, Behavioural biology, Marine biology, Marine mammals
Prof Vincent Janik

Mechanisms and content of marinemammal vocal interactions

Two of the main questions we ask in our lab is how marine mammalscommunicate and what kind of information they exchange. This requiresthedetailed analysis of vocal interactions in captivity and in the wild.We usepassive acoustic localization to ascribe sounds to individuals. Thisallows usto correlate different types of vocalizations or interactions withbehaviouralcontexts. Using these methods we describe the use of vocalizationsduringforaging and social interactions in dolphins and seals. This alsoincludes theexperiemtnal investigation of vocal learning, one of the mechanismsthat can beused to introduce novel signals into a communication system.

Referential communication andindividual identity

Signature whistles are individually distinctive signals given bybottlenosedolphins in isolation contexts. Unlike isolation calls of other animalstheyare learned and can be copied by conspecifics. This kind of copying canbe usedto address a specific individual. Our studies investigate whetherdolphins arecapable to use voice cues and how background noise and water pressureaffectdolphin signals and consequently voice recognition. We also study theindividual recognition skills of dolphins to explore their naturalability touse learned labels, a crucial step in the evolution of referentialcommunication.This is done by using playback techniques in the wild anddiscriminationexperiments with captive individuals. Comparative work on other speciestriesto identify conditions that lead to the evolution of these skills.

Geographic variation and traditions in behaviour patterns

Marine mammals show a substantialamount of geographic variation in their behaviour patterns. Even withinthesame species vocal repertoires differ between different sites. This maybecaused directly by differences in habitat or indirectly through theeffects ofthe environment on the social behaviour and social structure of apopulation.To fully explore all possible causes of variation I am interested in avarietyof other factors that may affect communication behaviour. These includerangingpatterns, foraging behaviour and association patterns of dolphins.

Reactions to changes in the acoustic environment

While conspecifics certainly providevery relevant acoustic information to marine mammals, they areexposed to atremendous variety of different sound types. These can provideadditionalinformation about threats (e.g. predators) or opportunities (e.g.foraging). Weuse playback experiments to investigate communication distances andacousticmasking as well as reactions to other species or non-biological soundsources. These studies help us to understand what kind of information marine mammals extract from their acoustic environment and how they adjust their own calling behaviour to achieve optimal transmission of information. These studies also inform conservation efforts by giving details on howmarinemammals react to different kinds of noise.

 

 

 

 

 






Johnson, Dr Mark Senior Research Fellow
(School of Biology)
mj26@st-and.ac.uk
01334 462624
Johnston, Prof Ian Professor
(School of Biology)
iaj@st-and.ac.uk
01334 463440
Muscle growth and adaptation in teleost fish
keywords:
Cell biology, Enzymology, Marine biology, Molecular biology, Organismal biology
Prof Ian Johnston

Animal Physiology

Muscle action and performance during locomotion in molluscs, fishand amphibians. The implications of body size for muscle functionin vivo. The evolution of muscle performance characteristics inrelation to environmental temperature with particular referenceto sub-Antarctic and Antarctic Notothenioid fishes and bivalvemolluscs. The phenotypic plasticity of muscle to temperature changeduring ontogeny: molecular and cellular mechanisms and evolutionarysignificance. Laboratory and field studies on muscle developmentand growth regulation in fish, with particular reference to temperature.The effects of ploidy manipulation and sex-reversal on musclegrowth characteristics in fish.






Laland, Prof Kevin Professor
(School of Biology)
knl1@st-and.ac.uk
01334 463568
Social learning, cultural evolution and niche construction
keywords:
Behavioural biology, Evolutionary biology, Zoology
Prof Kevin Laland

My research encompasses a range of topics related to animal behaviour and evolution, particularly social learning, cultural evolution and niche construction, employing both experimental and theoretical approaches.

Current Projects

Niche Construction

Organisms construct and select important components of their environment, in the process affecting both the selection acting on themselves and their descendants, and the availability of resources to other organisms. We investigate niche construction using population genetics models and in an experimental marine invertebrate system.

Social Learning Strategies

Animals learn from others selectively according to evolved rules, called ‘social learning strategies’. This project investigates such strategies, through experimental studies in monkeys (capuchins, callitrichids), birds (budgerigars) and fish (sticklebacks), and through evolutionary game theory modelling.

Predicting the Diffusion and Inheritance of Behavioural Innovations

A challenge for social learning researchers is to identify animal ‘traditions’ and to work out how novel behaviour and skills spread. We use experimental studies of budgerigars and mathematical / statistical methods to determine where animals have acquired their behaviour through social learning, and how novel behaviour spreads in animal populations. The methods are applied to isolate ‘culture’ in natural animal populations, including chimpanzees and dolphins.

Intelligence and Brain Evolution in Primates

We conduct comparative statistical analyses exploring the correlates and causes of the large primate brain and the evolution of intelligence. Social learning, innovation and tool use all co-vary with primate relative brain size and may have been drivers of brain evolution.


MPhil/PhD project opportunities:

  • Social learning strategies
  • Predicting the diffusion and inheritance of behavioural innovations
  • Intelligence and brain evolution in primates
  • Niche construction






MacNeill, Dr Stuart SULSA Reader in Translational Biology
(School of Biology)
sam31@st-and.ac.uk
01334 467268
Chromosomal DNA replication and genome stability
keywords:
Biochemistry, Cell Biology, Genetics, Genomics, Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Structural biology
Magurran, Prof Anne Professor
(School of Biology)
aem1@st-and.ac.uk
01334 463506
Fish behaviour and evolution
keywords:
Behavioural biology, Evolutionary biology, Zoology
Prof Anne Magurran
magurran

Anne with the model cormorant used to test the anti-predator response of piranhas.

 

Evolution of adaptive variation in fish communities; antipredator behaviour; speciation; species diversity and conservation of freshwater fish in the neotropics (Brazilian Amazon, Mexico and Trinidad) and UK.

 

Upper Aripo River, Trinidad

Much of my group's work is on the Trinidadian guppy, Poecilia reticulata, a species that has become a model system for investigating evolution in action. We are examining the evolution of reproductive isolation between fish in the Caroni and Oropouche drainages in Trinidad. These river systems have been separated for 1-2 million years. Although the guppies in them can still interbreed if given the opportunity, some post-mating reproductive barriers are already evident. For example, sperm from the female's own river system outcompete foreign sperm, and hybrid offspring formed when guppies from the two drainages are crossed are less viable than pure-bred fish. This research is being done with Anna Ludlow and Stephen Russell.

Northern Range, Trinidad.

Other investigations using the guppy concern aspects of mating behaviour (with Kit Magellan), the effect of thermal regime on behaviour and development (with Lars Pettersson), mutiple mating (with Alfredo Ojanguren) and interactions between guppies and their sister species Poecilia picta (with Indar Ramnarine of the University of the West Indies) .


Anne and Helder tagging piranhas prior to release back to the wild.

I am also interested in the evolution of schooling behaviour. Helder Queiroz (of the Mamirau· Sustainable Development Institute) and I are studying red-bellied piranhas, Pygocentrus nattereri, in the flooded forests of the Brazilian Amazon. Although piranhas are widely depicted as vicious, pack-hunting predators, in fact they are themselves preyed upon by river dolphins, caiman, piscivorous fish such as the pirarucu, and fish-eating birds including cormorants. Our work is showing that piranhas school as a defence against predation.
 

Esox lucius

In the UK I collaborate with Si‰n Grffiths (University of Cardiff), John Armstrong (FRS, Pitlochry) and Alfredo Ojanguren in a project on individual recognition and the benefits of associations between familiar groups of fish. We are using the European minnow, Phoxinus phoxinus, to test our ideas. The work is taking place in the artificial stream system at the Almondbank, FRS laboratory. A second project (with Lorraine Hawkins and John Armstrong) based at Almondbank is examining behavioural interactions between salmon, Salmo salar, and pike, Esox lucius - one of their most important natural predators.

 

My longstanding interest in the measurement of biological diversity and the structure of ecological assemblages is reflected in the recent publication of my book Measuring Biological Diversity.In addition, Peter Henderson (Pisces Conservation Ltd) and I are exploring changes in species abundance distributions over time.

Sigmoid display by male guppy.

Finally, I am interested in the conservation of biological diversity, particularly of freshwater fish assemblages. Constantino MacÌas Garcia (UNAM) and I are beginning to quantify the impact of introduced poeciliids on endangered fish in Mexico. I am continuing to investigate the biodiversity of freshwater assemblages in Trinidad with my colleagues there. Anuradha Bhat has recently joined the group. Her research is on fish assemblages in the Western Ghats region of India, one of the world's biodiversity hotspots. This will open up new challenges in biodiversity conservation.






Matthews, Dr Iain Senior Teaching Fellow & Pro-Dean for the Faculty of Science
(School of Biology)
imm7@st-and.ac.uk
01334 463004
Fish and arthropod behaviour and biodiversity
keywords:
Behavioural biology, Biodiversity, Conservation biology, Ecology, Zoology
McConnell, Dr Bernie Senior Research Fellow
(School of Biology)
bm8@st-and.ac.uk
01334 463280
keywords:
Marine mammals, Population biology
Meagher, Prof Thomas Professor
(School of Biology)
trm3@st-and.ac.uk
office 3364, lab 3347
Plant evolutionary biology
keywords:
Biodiversity, Ecology, Evolutionary biology, Plant biology
Prof Thomas Meagher

My research interests are in parentage analysis, quantitative genetics, phenotypic evolution, sexual dimorphism, evolutionary genomics of plants, and societal applications of science

Research Group

Doctoral Students

  • 2007-present  Ms Malin Rivers. Conservation status and conservation genetics of Delonix in Madagascar.
  • 2003-2007 Dr. Mark Looseley. A Comparative investigation of nuclear DNA content and its phenotypic impacts in Silene marizii and S. latifolia
  • 1994-2000 Dr. Jessica Wright . The effects of positive and negative selection on floral characters in natural population of Silene latifolia. Currently a Conservation Geneticist, USFS, University of California, Davis, CA, USA
  • 1990-1997 Dr. Elizabeth Elle. Sex allocation and reproductive success in a perennial hermaphrodite, Solanum carolinense. Currently Associate Professor, Department of Biology, Simon Fraser University
  • 1989-1995 Dr. Deborah Sheely . The ecological impact of genetic diversity on seedling recruitment in a tropical tree Campnosperma brevipetiolata (Anacardiaceae). Currently a Program Officer with USDA Competitive Grants.
  • 1998-1993 Dr. Diane Byers . The genetic consequences of rarity in Eupatroium resinosum. Currently an Associate Professor at Illinois State University.

Postdoctoral Fellows

  • 2005-2006 Dr. Rebecca Yahr , Ph.D. Duke University (advisors Dr. R. Vilgalys and Dr P. Depriest) population biology and genetics of lichen symbioses. Research Fellow, RBGE.
  • 2000-2004 Dr. Christine Vassiliadis , Ph.D. University of Lille (advisors Dr. P. Vernet and Dr Saumitou-Laprade) evolution and maintenance of androdioecy. Lecturer, University of Orsay
  • 1990-1994 Dr. Denise E Costich , Ph.D. University of Iowa (advisor, Dr. H. F. Howe) evolution of dioecy in plants. Cornell University/Boyce Thompson Institute
  • 1989 Dr. Lynda F. Delph . Ph.D. University of Canterbury, New Zealand (advisor Dr. D. G. Lloyd) gender specific resource allocation in plants Associate Professor, Indiana University.

Parentage analysis & quantitative genetics

I have a long-standing interest in the application of statistical methods of genealogical inference to the analysis of the structure and genetic dynamics of natural populations. Applying likelihood methods that originated in forensic analysis of human paternity, the assignment of male parentage in plant populations provides information on gene flow and impacts of specific phenotypic traits on male reproductive success. Specific contributions in this area have included development of likelihood models for paternity analysis, application of such models to understating the structure of a range of plant populations, and the delelopment of a Windows-based software package, PatQuest, for conducting such analyses. Present work in this area includes development of statistical methods for the integration of likelihood-based paternity inference with REML estimation of quantitative genetic parameters, to be applied to natural populations where standard multigenerational quantitative genetics experiments are not practical. In addition, models for investigating gene flow, based on approaches derived from paternity analyses, have been applied to investigation of gene flow in transgenic cultivars.

  • Meagher TR (1986) Analysis of paternity within a natural population of Chamaelirium luteum . I. Identification of most-likely male parents. American Naturalist . 128: 199-215.
  • Meagher TR, Thompson EA. (1987) Identification of parentage for seedlings within a natural population of Chamaelirium luteum . Ecology 68: 803-812.
  • Thompson EA, Meagher TR (1998) Genome sharing and the estimation of pairwise relationship. Theoretical and Applied Genetics 97: 857-864.
  • Smouse PE, Meagher TR, Kobak CJ (1999) Parentage analysis in Chamaelirium luteum (L.) Gray (Liliaceae): why do some males have disproportionate reproductive contributions. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 12: 1069-1077.
  • Elle E, Meagher TR (2000) Sex allocation and reproductive success in the andromonoecious perennial, Solanum carolinense (Solanaceae). II. Paternity and functional gender. American Naturalist 156: 622-636.
  • MeagherTR, Vassiliadis C (2003) Spatial geometry determines gene flow in plant populations. Hails RS, Beringer JE, Godfray HCJ (eds.) Genes in the environment. Pp. 76-90.
    Oxford, UK, Blackwell Science Ltd. Meagher T., Belanger FC, Day PR (2003) Using empirical data to model transgene dispersal. Trans. Royal Society (London) B 358: 1157-1162.

 

 

Sexual dimorphism and sex-specific selection

 

 

Reproductive success as male or female parents in plants is based on very different pathways, subject to sex-specific processes of selection. In dioecious species, long-term consequences of such sex-specific selection can lead to sexual dimporphism in a wide range of traits, from the molecular level to the ecological. My interest in this area began with an investigation of resource allocation and life history impacts of such in Chamaelirium luteum (Liliaceae, pictured above), a flowering plant that exhibits extreme sexual dimorphism in inflorescence structure. More recent work on this phenomenon has focused on floral dimorphism in the dioecious Silene latifolia , which has a well-established genetic basis for sex determination, and a shorter life-span that is more amenable to genetic investigation.

  • Meagher TR (1984) Sexual dimorphism and ecological differentiation of male and female plants. Annals Missouri Botanical Garden 71: 254-264.
  • Meagher TR (1994) The quantitative genetics of sexual dimorphism in Silene latifolia . II. Responses to sex-specific selection. Evolution 48: 939-951.
  • Delph LF, Meagher TR (1995) Sexual dimorphism masks life history trade-offs in the dioecious plant Silene latifolia . Ecology 76: 775-785.
  • Meagher TR, Delph LF (2001) Individual flower demography, floral phenology, and life history in Silene latifolia . Evolutionary Ecology Research 3: 845-860.
  • Costich DC, Meagher TR (2001) Impacts of floral gender and whole-plant gender on floral evolution in Ecballium elaterium (Cucurbitaceae). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 74: 475-487.
  • Wright JW, Meagher TR (2004) Selection on floral characters of natural Spanish populations of Silene latifolia . Journal of Evolutionary Biology , in press.
     

Evolutionary genomics and phenotypic evolution

My investigations into the genetic basis of floral dimorphism in flower size in Silene latifolia have inexorably led to a more detailed analysis of the genetic basis of flower size in general. As this is a quantitative trait, initial investigations involved quantitative genetics approaches. More recently, a link has been established between quantitative variation in flower size and genome size/organization. This latter discovery has led to a phylogenetic investigation of the relationship between genome size and flower size evolution across related taxa, and a joint QTL analysis of flower size and DNA content.

Present work in this area is exploring the possible role of specific repetitive sequences, such as retrotransposons, in DNA content variation associated with flower size evolution. We are also investigation the role of such DNA content variation in contributing to reproductive isolation between species.

  • Meagher TR, Costich DE (1994) Sexual dimorphism in nuclear DNA content within and between populations of Silene latifolia . American Journal of Botany 81: 1198-1204.
  • Meagher TR, Costich DE (1996) Nuclear DNA content and floral evolution.Proceedings of the Royal Society (London), Series B 263: 1455-1460.
  • Meagher TR (1999) The quantitative genetics of sexual dimorphism. In Sexual dimorphism in plants , M. Geber, T. Dawson, and L. Delph, eds. Springer-Verlag New York.

 


Societal applications of science

Science is conducted within a broader societal context, and indeed is based on support derived from that context in the form of government financing. As a practicing scientist, one has an obligation to identify connections between basic research and potential application to societal needs. My activities in this area have been several fold. First, I have applied methods of paternity analysis and other analytical tools from evolutionary biology to the issue of gene flow from transgenic cultivars to adjacent ruderal populations. On a science policy level, I was a co-chair of a US national initiative on Evolution, Science and Society, which was directed towards outlining the importance of scientific contributions of evolutionary biology, I have served as a founding and current member of the Society for the Study of Evolution 's Education Committee, and I am presently a member of the Science Advisory Council of the UK Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

 

  • Meagher TR (1999) Evolution and today's society. BioScience 49: 923-925.
  • Meagher TR, Futuyma DJ (eds) (2001) Evolution, Science and Society: evolutionary biology and the national research agenda. California Journal of Science Education 1: 19-32.
  • Meagher TR, Futuyma DJ (2001) Executive document: Evolution, science, and society - Foreword: Evolution in the century of biology. American Naturalist 158: 1-46 Suppl. S.
     

Science is conducted within a broader societal context, and indeed is based on support derived from that context in the form of government financing. As a practicing scientist, one has an obligation to identify connections between basic research and potential application to societal needs. My activities in this area have been several fold. First, I have applied methods of paternity analysis and other analytical tools from evolutionary biology to the issue of gene flow from transgenic cultivars to adjacent ruderal populations. On a science policy level, I was a co-chair of a US national initiative on Evolution, Science and Society, which was directed towards outlining the importance of scientific contributions of evolutionary biology, I have served as a founding and current member of the

/em






Miller, Dr Patrick Reader
(School of Biology)
pm29@st-and.ac.uk
01334 463554
Acoustic communication and behavioural ecology
keywords:
Behavioural biology, Marine biology, Marine mammals, Population biology, Zoology
Dr Patrick Miller

My research focuses on social communication and behavioral ecology of marine mammals. I record and describe the behaviour patterns of marine mammals in order to elucidate their function, often using novel research tools. I seek to unravel how the marine environment influences foraging, social interactions, and swimming behaviour.

Current Projects

Foraging and social behaviour of sperm whales

Sperm whales are prodigious divers. We have used acoustic and motion-recording suction-cup tags their diving, sound production, and resting behaviour. We now know that sperm whales spend over 50% of their time actively pursuing prey at depth. My lab is working to describe other aspects of sperm whale behaviour, including how and when sperm whales rest, and possibly sleep, within their busy dive schedule.

Diverse feeding habits of killer whales:mammal –eaters versus herring - herders

Killer whales are generalist predators as a species, but each population is remarkably specialized on certain prey types. This project seeks to describe how prey type might relate to population-level differences in foraging and social behaviour.

Effects of noise on communication

To be effective in communication, signals must be detected and decoded in the presence of noise. I am using animal models ranging from the fruit fly D montana to the humpback whale to explore how noise influences communication systems and how signallers might respond to noise within ecological and evolutionary time scales.






Mitchell, Dr John SULSA Reader
(School of Chemistry)
jbom@st-and.ac.uk
01334 467259
Bioinformatics and computational chemistry
Morrissey, Dr Michael Research Fellow
(School of Biology)
mbm5@st-and.ac.uk
01334 463738
Northridge, Dr Simon Senior Lecturer
(School of Biology)
spn1@st-and.ac.uk
01334 462654
Interactions between people, fishing and the environment
Ojanguren, Dr Alfredo F. Lecturer
(School of Biology)
afo@st-and.ac.uk
01334 463372
Fish behavioural ecology
keywords:
Behavioural biology, Biodiversity, Conservation biology, Ecology, Zoology
Paterson, Prof David Executive Director of MASTS:
The Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland

(School of Biology)
dp1@st-and.ac.uk
01334 463472 (Sec)
Ecology and dynamics of coastal ecosystems
keywords:
Biodiversity, Ecology, Environmental biology, Marine biology, Microbiology
Pomeroy, Dr Paddy Senior Research Scientist
(School of Biology)
pp6@st-and.ac.uk
01334 463061
Behavioural ecology of marine mammals
keywords:
Marine mammals, Population biology
Ramsay, Dr Rona Reader
(School of Biology)
rrr@st-and.ac.uk
01334 463411
Mitochondria and flavoproteins: function and regulation
keywords:
Biochemistry, Biophysics, Enzymology
Dr Rona Ramsay

Administrative Duties

  • Director of Teaching
  • Degree Controller for Biochemistry
  • Course organiser, BL4212
  • Senate, elected member
  • WISET representative for the University of St Andrews





Randall, Prof Richard Professor of Molecular Virology
(School of Biology)
rer@st-and.ac.uk
01334 463397
Viruses and innate immunity
keywords:
Cell biology, immunology, Molecular biology, Virology
Prof Richard Randall

Viruses, immunity and vaccines

  A major part of our research effort has been involved with studies on the induction of protective immunity to viruses, with the long term aim of producing novel vaccines and anti-viral drugs to a variety of human and animal viruses, including paramyxoviruses and HIV. In addition, we have a very active research programme concerned with exploring the molecular biology of paramyxoviruses which cause a number of important acute human and animal diseases, e.g. measles, mumps, rinderpest, and human and animal respiratory illness.

We documented for the first time the molecular basis of how many Paramyxoviruses circumvent the interferon response, a major component of innate immunity. Basically, these viruses encode a protein which targets cellular proteins (STATs) essential for interferon signalling for proteasome-mediated degradation. In addition, to blocking IFN signalling we have also shown that these viruses specifically inhibit the production of IFN.

We are currently working on the molecular basis of the targeted degradation of STAT and the mechanism of inhibition of IFN production. Furthermore, these findings have revealed that the way viruses interact with the immune response may be an important factor which limits their ability to cross species barriers and how they establish persistent infections. Not only are these results of fundamental interest in virology but they also point a way forward for generating and manufacturing attenuated virus vaccines. Thus it is possible to specifically engineer viruses to make them sensitive to interferon, thereby rendering them non pathogenic but highly immunogenic.

We have also recently developed methods for engineering human cells, that are used in vaccine manufacture and virus diagnostics, so that can not respond to IFN. Such IFN non-responsive cells are better able to support the replication of a variety of wild type DNA and RNA viruses, as well as candidate attenuated vaccines.

 

 





Rendell, Dr Luke MASTS Lecturer in Biology
(School of Biology)
ler4@st-and.ac.uk
01334 463499
The evolution of learning, behaviour and communication
keywords:
Animal communication, Behavioural biology, Conservation biology, Evolutionary biology, Marine biology, Marine mammals
Dr Luke Rendell

I was appointed MASTS Lecturer in the School of Biology in February 2012.

I started my last postdoc in January 2007 with Kevin Laland, as part of the EU-NEST project 'CULTAPTATION: Dynamics and adaptation in human cumulative culture', with partner groups in Sweden and Italy. The work being undertaken at St Andrews related to the evolution of cumulative culture - the ability to progress from, say, biplanes to Airbuses -  through understanding how the social learning  that underpins it may have evolved. In my case specifically, I am studying the evolution of social learning strategies (when does it pay to learn from others and who does it pay most to learn from), since the cultural dynamics depend critically on which strategies are used in a given case. I am using theoretical approaches - game theory and simulation modelling - to evaluate when we might expect a given strategy to confer selective advantage. I also lent a hand to the various experimental projects ongoing in the lab, as the interplay between theory and empirical work is one of the most exciting things about the group.

Prior to this, I brought a NERC Postdoctoral Fellow to the group of Vincent Janik. I first came to St Andrews in September 2003, after completing my Ph.D. in June 2003 in the lab of Hal Whitehead at Dalhousie University in Canada. I previously  worked as a research assistant in the Wildlife conservation Research Unit at the University of Oxford after gaining my B.Sc. in Marine Zoology at UCNW Bangor in 1995. Naturally, St Andrews knocks the socks off all of them!

 


 

 

From 1998 to 2006 I studied aspects of vocal behaviour in various cetacean species, with my Ph.D. and NERC Fellowship research focussing on the sperm whale, Physeter macrocephalus, a fantastic yet still surprisingly mysterious animal. This work continues when I have time from my primary duties!

My NERC research had three different but linked strands, all of which stem from the discovery during my Ph.D. of vocal clans in sperm whales. The discovery of these vocal clans has major implications for how we understand sperm whale population biology. Furthermore, the work joins a growing body of provocative research on cultural processes in cetaceans, which in turn fits into a vigorous, inter-disciplinary and exciting debate on the nature and existence of non-human culture. The three strands were:

(1) Understanding genetic relationships between clans. I worked with the South West Fisheries Centre and my former group at Dalhousie University to analyse DNA from sloughed skin samples collected during extended fieldwork in Chile.

(2) Dialects in different habitats. I have been investigating vocal variation in Mediterranean sperm whales to try and understand environmental factors underlying the evolution of coda dialects. I am collaborating with a Spanish group, Proyecto Alnitak, on a project funded through One World Wildlife, which we hope to build into a longitudinal study of sperm whales around the Balearic Islands.

(3) Understanding individual vocal behaviour. Working closely with Canadian Ph.D. student Tyler Schulz, we have developed techniques to investigate how individual repertoires relate to group repertoires.

Publications
If you are looking to download publications, please use the 'Publications' link above. They are highly recommended for sufferers of insomnia. You can also access some publications through my old Dalhousie webpage.

 






Ritchie, Prof Mike Professor
(School of Biology)
mgr@st-and.ac.uk
01334 463495
Behaviour, genetics & speciation
keywords:
Behavioural biology, Biodiversity, Ecology, Evolutionary biology, Genetics
Prof Mike Ritchie

Overview of Research Interests:

The Ritchie laboratory takes a broad approach to studies of the origin of species. Behaviours involved in sexual isolation are characterised and their genetic control studied, using both quantitative and molecular approaches to behaviour genetics, as well as phylogeographic studies of variation in behaviour.

Current Research Projects:

Analysing genes influencing Drosophila behaviour

We have used Quantitative Trait Locus techniques to localise the genomic location of genes influencing behaviour in flies. Now that several genomes are available, it is possible to move into ‘postgenomic’ studies of patterns in the evolution of these genes, and to begin looking at the expression and variation of candidate genes

Variation in female mate preferences

Female preferences are very important to sexual selection and speciation, but are difficult to measure and quantify. We measure preference variation in different species of Drosophila and other insects such as bushcrickets.

Phylogeography and behaviour

Studies of geographic variation in a range of organisms, including Mexican fish and cannibalistic crickets, explore the importance of variation in behaviour to population genetic structure and the role of sexual selection in speciation.


MPhil/PhD project opportunities:

Please contact me directly to discuss potential postgraduate opportunities.






Rutz, Dr Christian Reader in Biology; BBSRC David Phillips Fellow
(School of Biology)
cr68@st-and.ac.uk
01334 463340
Evolution, ecology and social dynamics of animal tool use
keywords:
Behavioural biology, Ecology, Environmental biology, Evolutionary biology, Population biology, Zoology
Ruxton, Prof Graeme Professor
(School of Biology)
gr41@st-and.ac.uk
01334 464825
Sensory reactions between organisms
keywords:
Animal communication, Behavioural biology, Chemical biology, Ecological modelling, Ecology, Environmental modelling, Evolutionary biology, Marine biology, Organismal biology, Plant biology, Statistics, Zoology
Ryan, Prof Martin Professor of Translational Virology
(School of Biology)
mdr1@st-and.ac.uk
01334 463403
Picornavirus replication and translational virology
keywords:
Cell biology, Molecular biology, Virology
Schwarz-Linek, Dr Uli Lecturer in Biomolecular Sciences
(School of Biology)
us6@st-and.ac.uk
01334 467188
Structure and function of bacterial virulence proteins
keywords:
Biochemistry, Biophysics, Microbiology, Structural biology
Shuker, Dr David Senior Lecturer in Behavioural Ecology
(School of Biology)
dms14@st-and.ac.uk
01334 463376
Insect behavioural ecology and evolution
keywords:
Behavioural biology, Ecology, Evolutionary biology, Genomics
Dr David Shuker

Our work considers the evolution of reproductive behaviour, particularly in insects. Insects display a bewildering diversity of reproductive strategies, spanning the finding and choosing of a mate, the extent of multiple mating, how resources are allocated to offspring, and how offspring are provided for (if at all).

 

For full details of our research and current opportunities please visit the group's website: Insect Behavioural Ecology.

In addition to post-doctoral and post-graduate positions within the group, there are also opportunities for under-graduates to gain research experience in our lab or to do their Senior Honours projects with us. Again, for further details please visit our website.

 






Slater, Prof Peter Professor of Natural History (Emeritus)
(School of Biology)
pjbs@st-and.ac.uk
01334 463500
Vocal communication in birds and mammals
keywords:
Animal communication, Behavioural biology, Evolutionary biology, Zoology
Sleeman, Dr Judith Lecturer in Cell and Developmental Biology
(School of Biology)
jes14@st-and.ac.uk
01334 463524
Structure and dynamics of the mammalian cell nucleus
keywords:
Cell Biology, Developmental biology
Dr Judith Sleeman

Current Research Projects

The mammalian cell nucleus has a highly ordered structure. The detailed organisation of the nucleus and how this affects its function are not fully understood. Essential to the expression, or functioning, of genes are Œtranscription‚ of the DNA instructions into a messenger RNA (mRNA) intermediate and Œtranslation‚ of this into the protein Œproduct‚ of the gene. Almost all mammalian genes contain introns, which are sequences represented in the DNA but not in the protein. These must be removed, or Œspliced‚, from the mRNA message before it can be translated. The accuracy of mRNA splicing is essential for correct gene expression. snRNPs (small nuclear ribonucleoproteins) are essential splicing factors and show a complex pattern of distribution within the nucleus. They localise to a number of nuclear domains including speckles and Cajal bodies. The formation of snRNPs is a complex process. Early steps occur outside the nucleus in the cytoplasm, and require a protein called Survival of Motor Neurons (SMN). Insufficient expression of SMN is responsible for the inherited neurodegenerative disease, spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). SMN is also found in the nucleus where it concentrates, along with snRNPs, in Cajal bodies. It is not clear how the loss of SMN protein leads to the disease. All cells need to splice their RNA correctly, but SMA specifically affects motor neurons.

 I am studying the maturation of snRNP splicing factors, with a particular emphasis on their dynamics within the nucleus and differences between neural and non-neural cell types that may be significant for SMA.


MPhil/PhD project opportunities:

Potential students are welcome to contact me to discuss projects.







Smith, Dr Carl Lecturer cs101@st-and.ac.uk
01334 463448

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Current Research Projects

Bitterling-mussel coevolution

Bitterling fishes use freshwater mussels as sites for depositing their eggs. Their eggs are harmful to mussels and, over large parts of their respective distributions, bitterling and mussels have coevolved in a complex mosaic of host-parasite relationships. I use the bitterling-mussel relationship as a model for understanding coevolutionary dynamics.

Mating system evolution

I take advantage of the unusual mode of spawning in bitterling fishes to research the basis to mate choice decisions, male mating tactics, sperm competition and the significance of sexual conflict in mating system evolution. Work is also conducted using zebrafish.

Plate morph evolution in the three-spined stickleback

The three-spined stickleback is a widespread little fish that has become an important model in evolutionary research. With colleagues I am testing an hypothesis for the rapid evolution of different morphological forms of this fish using field sites across Scotland.

Ageing rates in African killifish

Fieldwork in Mozambique has examined population differences in several species of killifish that age at different rates. The goal of this research is to understand the life-history tradeoffs associated with living in environments with high extrinsic rates of mortality.

 






Smith, Prof Terry Prof
(School of Chemistry)
tks1@st-and.ac.uk
01334-463412
Molecular parasitology
keywords:
Biochemistry, Chemical biology, Chemical biology, Enzymology, Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Parasitology
Prof Terry Smith

1. Gibellini. F., Hunter W. N. & Smith, T.K, (2008) Biochemical characterisation of the initial steps of the Kennedy pathway in Trypanosoma brucei- the ethanolamine and choline kinases (BJ in press) 2. Jennifer L. Güler, Eva Kriegová, Terry K. Smith, Julius Luke and Paul T. Englund (2008) Mitochondrial fatty acid synthesis is required for normal mitochondrial morphology and function in Trypanosoma brucei. Molecular Microbiology 67(5) 1125-1142. 3. Shams-Eldin, H., Azzouz, N., Neihus, S., Smith, T.K. & Schwarz, R.T. (2008) An efficient method to express GPI-anchor proteins in insect cells (BBRC 365, 657-663) 4. Gunther, S., Wallace, L., McMillan P.J., Storm J.,, Patzwitz, E.M., Wrenger, C., Bisset, R., Smith, T.K., & Muller, S. (2007) Apicoplast lipoic acid protein ligase B is not essential for Plasmodium falciparum PloS Pathogens 3 (12) 1938-1949 5. Smith, T.K.. Kimmel,J., Azzouz, N., Shams-Eldin, H. & Schwarz, R.T.(2007) The role of inositol-acylation and inositol-deacylation in the Toxoplasma gondii glycosylphosphatidylinositol biosynthetic pathway. JBC 282 (44) 32042-32042. 6. Richmond, G. & Smith, T.K., (2007) The role and characterization of phospholipase A1 in mediating lysophosphatidylcholine synthesis in Trypanosoma brucei. BJ 405 (2), pp. 319-329 7. Byres, E. Smith, T.K. and Hunter WN. (2007) Crystal Structures of Trypanosoma brucei and Staphylococcus aureus Mevalonate Diphosphate Decarboxylase Inform on the Determinants of Specificity and Reactivity. J Mol Biol 371 (2), pp. 540-553. 8. Sgraja, T., Smith, T.K. and Hunter W.N. (2007) Structure, substrate recognition and reactivity of Leishmania major mevalonate kinase (BMC Structural Biology 7, art. no. 20) 9. Richmond G.S. and Smith, T.K. (2007) A novel phospholipase from Trypanosoma brucei. Molecular Microbiology 63 (4), pp. 1078-1095. 10. Buetow L, Smith, T.K. Dawson, A., Fyffe S.A, and Hunter W.N. (2007) Structure and reactivity of LpxD, the N-acyltransferase of lipid A biosynthesis. PNAS 104 (11), pp. 4321-4326. 11. Azzouz, N., Shams-Eldin, H., Niehus, S., Debierre-Grockiego, F., Bieker, U., Schmid, J., Mercier, C., Delauw , M., Dubremetz, J.F., Smith, T.K.. & Schwarz, R.T. (2006) Toxoplasma gondii grown in human cells use GalNAc-containing glycosylphosphatidylinositol precursors to anchor plasma membrane proteins while the immunogenic Glc-GalNAc-containing precursors remain free at the parasite cell surface. Int J of Biochem and Cell Biol 38(11): 1914-1925. 12. Kimmel,J. Smith, T.K.. , Azzouz, N., Gerold, P.,Seeber, F., Lingelbach, K., Dubremetz, J.F. & Schwarz, R.T. (2006), On the topology and transient acylation of Toxoplasma gondii-phosphatidylinositols. Euk Cell 5(8): 1420-1429. 13. Martin, K. & Smith, T.K. (2006) Phosphatidylinositol synthase is essential in Trypanosoma brucei. Biochem J 396: 287-295. 14. Martin, K. & Smith, T.K. (2006) The role of de novo synthesis of myo-inositol in Trypanosoma brucei. Molecular Microbiology 61(1): 89-105. 15. Fyffe SA, Alphey MS, Buetow L, Smith, T.K., Sorensen MD, Bjorkling F, Hunter WN. (2006) Recombinant Human PPAR-beta/delta Ligand-binding Domain is Locked in an Activated Conformation by Endogenous Fatty Acids. J Mol Biol. 356(4):1005-13. 16. Fyffe SA, Alphey MS, Buetow L, Smith, T.K., Sorensen MD, Bjorkling F, Hunter WN. (2006) Reevaluation of the PPAR-beta/delta ligand binding domain model reveals why it exhibits the activated form. Mol Cell. 21(1):1-2. 17. Crossman, A., Smith, T.K. Ferguson, M.A.J. and Brimacombe, J.S. (2005) Synthesis of a cell-permeable analogue of a glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI) intermediate that is toxic to the living bloodstream form of Trypanosoma brucei. Tetrahedron Letters. 46: 7419-7421. 18. Martin, K. & Smith, T.K. (2005) The myo-inositol synthetase gene is essential in Trypanosoma brucei. Biochem Soc Trans. 33(Pt 5):983-5. 19. Azzouz, N., Macedo, C.S., Smith, T.K. and Schwarz, R.T. (2005).Mannnosamine can replace glucosamine in GPIs of Plasmodiumn falciparum in vitro. Mol Bichem Para 142, 12-24. 20. Urbaniak, M.D,, Crossman, A., Chang, T., Smith, T.K., Van Aalten, D. & Ferguson, M.A.J., (2005) The N-acetyl-D-glucosaminyl-phosphatidylinositol de-N-acetylase of glycosyl-phosphatidylinositol biosynthesis is a zinc metalloenzyme. JBC 280(24) 22831- 22838. 21. Smith, T.K., Crossman, A., Brimacombe, J.S. and Ferguson, M.A.J. (2004). Chemical Validation of GPI Biosynthesis as a Drug Target African Sleeping Sickness. EMBO J. 23(23) 4701-4708. 22. Fontaine, T., Smith, T.K., Latgé, J.P. and Ferguson, M.A.J. (2004). In vitro biosynthesis of glycosylphosphatidylinositol in Aspergillus fumigatus. Biochem. 43, 15267-15275. 23. Macedo, C.S., Shams-Eldin, H., Smith, T.K., Schwarz, R.T. and Azzouz, N. (2003). Inhibitors of glycosylphosphosphatidylinositol (GPI) biosynthesis. Biochimie 85, 465-472. (REVIEW) 24. Smith, T.K., Gerold, P., Crossman, A., Paterson, M.J., Borissow, C.N., Brimacombe, J.S. and Ferguson, M.A.J. Schwarz, R.T. (2002), Substrate Specificity of the Plasmodium falciparum glycosylphosphatidylinositol biosynthetic pathway and inhibition by species specific suicide substrates. Biochem. 41, 12395-12406. 25. Smith, T.K., Crossman, A., Paterson, M.J., Borissow, C.N., Brimacombe, J.S. and Ferguson, M.A.J. (2002) Specificities of enzymes of glycosylphosphatidylinositol biosynthesis in Trypanosoma brucei and HeLa cells. J. Biol. Chem. 277 (40), 37147-37153. 26. Chang, T., Milne, K.G., Guther, M.L.G., Smith, T.K. and Ferguson, M.A.J. (2002) Cloning of Trypanosoma brucei and Leishmania major Genes Encoding the GlcNAc-Phosphatidylinositol De-N-acetylase of Glycosylphosphatidyl-inositol Biosynthesis That is Essential to the African Sleeping Sickness Parasite. J. Biol. Chem. 277 (51), 50176-50182. 27. Crossman, A., Paterson, M.J., Ferguson, M.A.J., Smith, T.K., and Brimacombe, J.S. (2002). Further probing of the substrate specificities and inhibition of enzymes involved at an early stage of glycosylphosphosphatidylinositol (GPI) biosynthesis. Carbohydrate Research 377, 2049-2059. 28. Smith, T.K., Crossman, A., Borissow, C.N., Paterson, M.J., Brimacombe, J.S. and Ferguson, M.A.J. (2001), Specificity of GlcNAc-PI de-N-acetylase of GPI biosynthesis and synthesis of parasite specific suicide inhibitors. EMBO J. 20(13) 3322-3332. 29. Borissow, C.N., Smith, T.K., Ferguson, M.A.J, Brimacombe, J.S. (2001) Synthesis of 3’-, 4’- and 6’-deoxy and other analogues of D-glucosaminyl-phosphatidylinositol Tetrahedron Lett.42, 121-123. 30. Smith, T.K., Paterson, M.J., Crossman, A., Brimacombe, J.S. and Ferguson, M.A.J. (2000), Parasite-specific inhibition of glycosylphosphatidylinositol biosynthetic pathway by stereo isomeric substrate analogues. Biochem. 39, 11801-11807. 31. Smith, T.K., Sharma, D.K., Crossman, A., Brimacombe, J.S. and Ferguson, M.A.J. (1999), Selective inhibitors of the glycosylphosphatidylinositol biosynthetic pathway of Trypanosoma brucei. EMBO J. 18(21), 5922-5930. 32. Crossman, A., Brimacombe, J.S. and Ferguson, M.A.J., Smith, T.K., (1999), Synthesis of some second-generation substrate analogues of early intermediates in the biosynthetic pathway of glycosylphosphatidylinositol membrane anchors. Carbohydr.Res. 321, 42-51. 33. Sharma, D.K., Smith, T.K., Weller, C.T., Crossman, A., Brimacombe, J.S. and Ferguson, M.A.J. (1999), Difference between the trypanosomal and human de-N-acetylases of glycosylphosphatidylinositol membrane anchor biosynthesis. Glycobiol. 9(4), 415-422. 34. Vidugirene, J., Sharma, D.K., Smith, T.K., Baumann, N.A. and Menon, A. (1999), Segregation of glycosylphosphatidylinositol biosynthetic reactions in a subcompartment of the endoplasmic reticulum. J. Biol. Chem. 274 (21), 15203-15212. 35. Ferguson, M.A.J., Brimacombe, J.S., Brown, J.R., Crossman, A., Dix, A., Field, R.A., Guther, M.L.S., Milne, K.G., Sharma, D.K. and Smith, T.K., (1999). The GPI biosynthetic pathway as a therapeutic target for African sleeping sickness. Biochim. Biophys. Acta 1455, 327-340. (Review) TRUST 36. Brown, J.R., Smith, T.K, Ferguson, M.A.J. and Field, R.A. (1998), A synthetic acceptor substrate for Trypanosoma brucei UDP-Gal: GPI anchor side chain a-galactosyltransferase. Bioorg. Med. Chem. Lett. 8, 2051-2054. 37. Smith, T.K., Milne, F.C., Sharma, D.K., Crossman, A., Brimacombe, J.S. and Ferguson, M.A.J. (1997), Early steps in glycosylphosphatidylinositol biosynthesis in Leishmania major. Biochem. J. 326, 393-400. 38. Smith, T.K., Sharma, D.K., Crossman, A., Dix, A., Brimacombe, J.S. and Ferguson, M.A.J. (1997), Parasite and mammalian GPI biosynthetic pathways can be distinguished using synthetic substrate analogues. EMBO J. 16(22), 6667-6675. 39. Sharma, D.K., Smith, T.K., Crossman, A., Brimacombe, J.S. and Ferguson, M.A.J. (1997), Substrate specificity of the N-acetylglucosaminyl-phosphatidylinositol de-N-acetylase of the glycosylphosphatidylinositol membrane anchor biosynthesis in African trypanosomes and human cells. Biochem. J. 328, 171-177. 40. Smith, T.K., Cottaz. S., Brimacombe, J.S. and Ferguson, M.A.J. (1996), Substrate specificity of the Dol-P-Man:GlcN-PI a1-4 mannosyltransferase of the glycosylphosphatidylinositol biosynthetic pathway of African Trypanosomes. J. Biol. Chem. 271, 6476-6482. 41. Bullock, J.I., Duffin, P.A., Nolan, K.B. and Smith, T.K., (1995), Effect of phytate on the in-vitro solubility of Al3+, Ca2+, Hg2+, Pb2+ as a function of pH at 37C. J. Sci. Food Agric. 67, 507-509. 42. Smith, T.K., Ikeda, Y., Fujii, J., Taniguchi, N. and Meister, A. (1995), Different sites of acivicin binding and inactivation of ?-glutamyl transpeptidase. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 92, 2360-2364. 43. Smith, T.K. and Meister A., (1995), Chemical Modifications of active site residues in ?-glutamyl transpeptidase. J. Biol. Chem. 270, 12476-12480. 44. Stole, E., Smith, T.K., Manning, J.M. and Meister, A. (1994), Interaction of ?-glutamyl transpeptidase with acivicin. J. Biol. Chem. 269, 21435-21439. 45. Smith, T.K. and Meister, A. (1994), Active deglycosylated mammalian ?-glutamyl transpeptidase. FASEB J. 8, 651-664. 46. Terry K. Smith, Colin L. Gibson, Brendan J. Howlin, John M. Pratt (1991) Active transport of amino acids by gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase through Caco-2 cell monolayers Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Volume 178, Issue 3, Pages 1028-1035






Smith, Dr V Anne Senior Lecturer
(School of Biology)
vas1@st-and.ac.uk
01334 463368
Complex biological networks
keywords:
Bioinformatics, Ecological modelling, Environmental modelling, Gene regulation
Dr V Anne Smith

For more information, please visit my research pages: Complex Biological Neworks.

My research uses computational methods to analyse complex biological networks, and evaluates the computational methods through both computer simulation and biological intervention. I concentrate on networks in three types of biological systems: neuronal networks, gene regulatory networks, and species interaction networks.

Current Projects

Neural information flow

We have for the first time applied and validated a Bayesian network (BN) inference algorithm for recovering neural information flow. BNs are an advance over prior methods, as they can handle the known non-linearity present in neural systems. We applied a BN to multi-unit electrode array recordings from the songbird auditory system, and found that recovered networks were appropriately constrained to anatomical connections, matched physiological features of the system, and were consistent with measure dynamics of the system.  As part of the CARMEN (Code Analysis, Repository, and Modelling for e-Neuroscience) neuroinformatics consortium, we are expanding Bayesian network theory to enable recovering neural information flow from single-unit neural recordings. We are analysing place cells recorded from the rat hippocampus, to understand network-level information coding of location and other variables.

Gene regulation

We develop BN inference algorithms for recovering gene regulatory networks from gene expression data, with special attention paid to overcoming the difficulty of handling biologically realistic small amounts of data.  Yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, is used as a model system to develop and test these algorithms.  As regulation  occurs at the step of protein translation as well as mRNA transcription, the genes which code for proteins involved in this type of regulation also have a part in the gene regulatory network. We also focus on methods to incorporate this type of regulation into the network inference task.

Ecological systems

We are pioneering the use of BN algorithms for the analysis of interspecific and species-habitat interactions within ecosystems, using species abundance and habitat data.

MPhil/PhD project opportunities:

  • PhD projects - PhD projects are available in (1) Bayesian network analysis of neuronal networks and information coding, (2) incorporation of additional genomic information to recover gene regulatory networks, and (3) development of Bayesian network techniques for ecological analysis.
     
  • MPhil projects - Proposals for MPhil projects in any of the above areas are welcome; particular projects may include: simulation based studies of Bayesian networks for revealing neural information flow, investigation of Bayesian networks' representation of ecological networks, and recovery of gene regulatory networks using publicly available data.

 






Smith, Dr Valerie Reader
(School of Biology)
vjs1@st-and.ac.uk
01334 463474/7210
Immunology and pathology of marine and aquatic organisms.
keywords:
Biochemistry, Immunology, Marine biology
Dr Valerie Smith

General areas of research: Comparative immunology and marine microbiology

 

Innate immunity in invertebrates, lower vertebrates and marine mammals.
Antibacterialproteins in crustaceans, ascidians, cnidarians, teleosts and pinniped seals.
Plasticity within the innate responses of marine animals.
Immunedevelopment in fish and marine invertebrates and effect of environment on immune function.
Complement phylogeny.
Virus diseases and antiviral immunity incrustaceans.
Marine invertebrate blood cell culture.
Developmentof molecular probes for disease diagnosis in marine shellfish.
Antibacterialproducts from marine micro-algae and cyanobacteria.






Smout, Dr Sophie Lecturer
(School of Biology)
scs10@st-and.ac.uk
01334 463526
Predator life history and trophic interactions
keywords:
Ecological modelling, Environmental modelling, Marine biology, Statistics
Somorjai, Dr Ildiko MASTS Lecturer
(School of Biology)
imls@st-and.ac.uk
01334 463628
Regeneration Biology
Taylor, Prof Garry Professor of Molecular Biophysics
(School of Biology)
glt2@st-and.ac.uk
01334 467301
Structural biology of infection and immunity
keywords:
Biochemistry, Chemical biology, Enzymologoy, Structural biology, Virology
Templeton, Dr Chris NERC Research Fellow
(School of Biology)
ct510@st-and.ac.uk
01334 467260
animal communication, bioacoustics, and behavioural ecology
keywords:
Animal communication, Behavioural biology, Ecology, Evolutionary biology, Zoology
Thompson, Dr Dave Senior Research Scientist
(School of Biology)
dt2@st-and.ac.uk
01334 462637
Foraging, diving behaviour, population dynamics, seals, sealions, fur seals.
keywords:
Marine mammals, Population biology
Todd, Prof Chris Professor of Marine Ecology
(School of Biology)
cdt@st-and.ac.uk
01334 463454
Marine ecology
keywords:
Biodiversity, Ecology, Marine biology
Prof Chris Todd

My postgraduate research concerned various aspects of the ecology of intertidal nudibranch molluscs. Subsequently, I became especially interested in the evolution of differing reproductive 'strategies' among marine invertebrates, and continued to use nudibranch molluscs as an experimental model system. This topic has been investigated by us both from functional energetic, conceptual and population genetics standpoints. In addition, however, I have also more general interests in benthic community ecology. This latter has concerned especially the development and dynamics of intertidal and sublittoral marine epifaunal ('fouling') assemblages on natural hard substrata on the west coast of Scotland and the applied importance of artificial reefs.
Our recent interests have focused on epifaunal larval settlement responses to specific substratum-associated biofilm cues and the presence of previously settled post-larvae. With specific reference to the intertidal barnacle, Semibalanus balanoides, we have developed an effective and very simple laval trap for deployment on rocky shores and we are now also assessing the importance of wave crash and wind strength/direction on the larval input to benthic intertidal substrata.



 

Ecological Genetics of Parasitic Sea Lice

Inducible Morphology in Marine Bryozoans

Larval Dispersal

Biofilms and Larval Settlement

Bryozoans

Salmonid Parasites






Torrance, Prof Lesley Professor
(School of Biology)
lt27@st-and.ac.uk
01334 463415
Molecular biology of plant virus-host-vector interactions
keywords:
Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Virology
Tyack, Prof Peter Professor
(School of Biology)
plt@st-and.ac.uk
01334 462630
Behaviour and acoustic communication in cetaceans
keywords:
Animal communication, Behavioural biology, Conservation biology, Marine mammals
Prof Peter Tyack

 

Acoustic communication and social behavior

 

Current Research Projects

 

Comparative studies of acoustic communication, social behavior, and vocal production learning among cetaceans and other taxa

Development and function of individual- and group-distinctive vocalisations

Behavioral responses of cetaceans to anthropogenic sounds

Development of novel bioacoustic methods, including tags and acoustic localisation, to collect data critical for the above scientific issues

 


MPhil/PhD project opportunities:

Potential students are welcome to contact me to discuss projects

 






Unkles, Dr Shiela Reader
(School of Biology)
su@st-and.ac.uk
01334 463348
Molecular biology of membrane proteins
keywords:
Biochemistry, Microbiology, Molecular Biology
Dr Shiela Unkles

Nitrate is a key source of nitrogen for a large number of microorganisms and plants. While nitrate limitation frequently confines the growth of these organisms especially in natural environments, its use in fertilisers to improve plant crop yield may give rise to (i) eutrophication of natural water systems and (ii) human and animal health concerns. My present work is focussed on two related areas of research towards understanding how organisms use this important nitrogen source.

  • Structure/function studies of a high affinity nitrate transporter

Nitrate is transported into cells from the environment by high affinity nitrate transporters, proteins located in the membranes of nitrate-utilising organisms. These proteins belong to a large group of transport proteins known as the Major Facilitator Superfamily, which also includes many permeases of medical interest such as drug and sugar transporters. MFS proteins have very similar overall structures of around twelve hydrophobic transmembrane domains that zig-zag through the membrane joined by more hydrophilic loops. Differences in the amino acid sequence account for the variety of substrates that can be transported by different family members.

At St Andrews, we are gaining insights into the structure and function of high affinity nitrate transporters by studying the effects of mutations, induced chemically or by in vitro means, on the ability of these proteins to transport nitrate. For example, our studies have shown that two arginine amino acid residues found at the same equivalent position in all high affinity nitrate transporters most likely form the binding site for nitrate. Concomitant with our mutagenesis studies, we are over-expressing high affinity nitrate transporters with the aim of obtaining a crystal structure. This will allow more precise interpretation of results from our mutant collections.

  • Nitrate signalling

In mutants that have no functional high affinity nitrate transporters and in which we can detect no uptake of nitrate, genes involved in the utilisation of nitrate, such as those encoding the enzymes nitrate reductase and nitrite reductase, show increased levels of transcription in the presence of external nitrate. How does the cell pass the signal that nitrate is present outside to the nucleus to initiate transcription of the genes encoding these enzymes? We have created strains in which reporter genes are controlled by the transcription promoters for nitrate and nitrite reductase. The activity of the reporter gene products are easily monitored by a colour reaction. By following the activity of the reporter genes, we are using these strains to search for mutants with altered colour reaction in the presence of nitrate. Such mutants may have mutations within genes involved in sensing or signalling, and can serve to identify the cognate gene by conventional cloning methods.
 

Selected Recent Publications:

  • S.E. Unkles , D. Rouch, Y. Wang, M.Y. Siddiqi , M. Okamoto, R.M. Stephenson, J.R. Kinghorn and A.D.M. Glass (2005) Determination of the essentiality of the eight cysteine residues of the NrtA protein for high-affinity nitrate transport and the generation of a functional cysteine-less transporter. Biochemistry 44: 5471-5477
  • J.R. Kinghorn, J. Sloan, G.J.M. Kana'n, E.R. DaSilva, D.A. Rouch and S.E. Unkles (2005) Missense mutations that inactivate the Aspergillus nidulans nrtA gene encoding a high-affinity nitrate transporter. Genetics 169: 1369-1377
  • S.E. Unkles , D. Rouch, Y. Wang, M.Y. Siddiqi, J.R. Kinghorn and A.D.M. Glass (2004) Two perfectly conserved arginine residues are required for substrate binding in a high affinity nitrate transporter. PNAS 101: 17549-17554
  • S.E. Unkles , R. Wang, Y. Wang, A.D.M. Glass, N.M. Crawford and J.R. Kinghorn (2004) Nitrate reductase activity is required for nitrate uptake into fungal but not plant cells. J. Biol. Chem . 279, 28182-28186
  • B.J. Monahan, S.E. Unkles , T.T. I, J.R. Kinghorn, M.J. Hynes and M.A. Davis (2002) Mutation and functional analysis of the Aspergillus nidulans ammonium permease MeaA and evidence for interaction with itself and MepA. Fungal Gen. Biol . 36, 35-46
  • A.D.M. Glass, D.T. Britto, B.N. Kaiser, J.R. Kinghorn, H.J. Kronzucker, A. Kumar, M. Okamoto, S. Rawat, M.Y. Siddiqi, S.E. Unkles and J.J. Vidmar (2002) The regulation of nitrate and ammonium transport systems in plants. J. Exp. Bot . 53, 1-10
  • S.E. Unkles , D. Zhou, M.Y. Siddiqi, J.R. Kinghorn and A.D.M. Glass (2001) Ecological plasticity through genetic redundancy: kinetic differentiation of nitrate transport. EMBO J . 20, 6246-6255
  • L.J. Millar, J. Sloan, I.S. Heck, G.J.M. Kana'n, J.R. Kinghorn and S.E. Unkles (2001) The Aspergillus nidulans cnxE gene and its involvement in the later stages of molybdenum cofactor biosynthesis. Mol. Gen. Genomics 266, 445-453

 






White, Prof Malcolm Professor
(School of Biology)
mfw2@st-and.ac.uk
01334 463432
DNA repair and the CRISPR system
keywords:
Biochemistry, microbiology, Molecular biology, Proteomics, Structural biology
Willmer, Prof Pat Professor
(School of Biology)
pgw@st-and.ac.uk
01334 463507
Social insect ecology and animal plant interactions
keywords:
Behavioural biology, Ecology, Evolutionary biology, Zoology
Prof Pat Willmer

A. Environmental Physiology of Invertebrates.

Water balance and osmoregulation in insects. Thermal physiology in relation to microclimate and behaviour, especially in bees and other terrestrial and littoral invertebrates.

B. Insect-Plant Interactions.

Pollination ecology. Interactions between pollinators, pests and predators.

Insects as pests on crop plants, and interactions with crop microclimates. Ant deterrence in flowers.

C. Animal behaviour, especially social insects.

Ecology and behaviour of insects, specifically insect-plant interactions and pollination ecology. The constraints acting on pollinators, especially bees, in temperate and arid systems.

D. Invertebrate Evolution and Convergent Evolution.

Invertebrate morphology and fossils; the evolution of basic body plans, and the prevalence of convergent evolution; implications for phylogenetic approaches.