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ZooBytes is the weekly news digest from the Zoology discipline at Trinity College Dublin


Jeremy (Jay) Piggott and Ralf Schafer published a paper in Global Change Biology on Advancing understanding and prediction in multiple stressor research through a mechanistic basis for null models (

Jeremy (Jay) Piggott was awarded EPA funding to lead work packages on two collaborative projects: IMPACT (Innovative monitoring to prioritise contaminants of emerging concern for Ireland) and SSNET (Managing the small stream network for improved water quality, and biodiversity and ecosystem services protection). 

PhD Student of Zoology Aoibheann Gaughran, gave two radio interviews about a newly discovered "super-ranging" behaviour in Irish badgers that her research group recently published in PLOS ONE.  You can listen to the Radio Kerry interview here at 3:30 mins and the KCLR interview here at 19:30 mins. 


Gwendoline Deslyper published a blog post on her research for the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene:
Pepijn Luijckx and coauthors published a paper in PLOS Biology which combined empirical experiments on a microsporidium parasite of the water flea Daphnia magna with mechanistic modeling and metabolic theory. The papers provides evidence that combining these approaches can be used to predict and understand how disease dynamics are affected by rising temperatures. Read the full story on:
PhD Student of Zoology Aoibheann Gaughran, Dr David Kelly and Dr Nicola Marples have published a paper with researchers from the Department of Agriculture, Food and The Marine and The National Parks and Wildlife Service that presents a newly discovered ranging behaviour in Irish badgers which they have termed 'super-ranging'. Their discovery both enhances our knowledge of badger ecology and has implications for disease control strategies such as the vaccination of badgers against TB. 

Gaughran A, Kelly DJ, MacWhite T, Mullen E, Maher P, Good M, et al. (2018) Super-ranging. A new ranging strategy in European badgers. PLoS ONE 13(2): e0191818. 


The latest issue of Scientific American features an in-depth report from science writer Olive Heffernan about our collective failure to protect the oceans. In spite of international targets for ocean protection - and the creation of increasingly large marine reserves - we're doing very little to reduce commercial exploitation of the ocean's resources. In part, that's because wealthy nations are fudging the numbers on the extent of their conservation efforts, and are exploiting loopholes in the law. Read more in 'Troubled Waters', here:

On Wednesday the 17th of January Maureen Williams was one of 4 recipients to be awarded a Provost's Postgraduate teaching award at a special ceremony in the Old Common Room, presided over by the Dean of Graduate Studies. 


Former PhD students of zoology Kevin Healy, Thomas Guillerme and Sean Kelly have published a paper with Andrew Jackson and their University of Exeter collaborators presenting a new statistical method called SIDER which compliments Andrew’s other stable isotope methods SIBER, SIAR and MixSIAR by estimating the important discrimination effects arising from physiology in animals for which we lack data by using phylogenetic relatedness and ecological information. Citation: Healy, K., Guillerme, T., Kelly, S., Inger, R., Bearhop, S. & Jackson, A.L. In press. SIDER: An R Package for Predicting Trophic Discrimination Factors of Consumers Based on their Ecology and Phylogenetic Relatedness. Ecography. doi

Gwendoline Deslyper won a prize for her poster: 'Wormy people - understanding the molecular mechanisms behind heavy Ascaris infection' at the Royal Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene on London on 5/12/2017.

Celia Holland, MRIA, delivered the response to the Discourse entitled "Finding medication: Ivermectin and beyond"  by Professor William C. Campbell at the Royal Irish Academy on the
29th of November 2017. 


Nessa O’Connor, Ian Donohue, Andrew Jackson and Jay Piggot have been awarded a grant of around €200,000 from the Marine Institute to support a new project: ‘Quantifying the Impacts of Multiple Stressors (QIMS) on marine benthic ecosystems’. Work will start soon to build a new experimental platform within Zoology, to test experimentally for effects of ocean acidification, warming, and nutrient enrichment on multiple marine bio-resources, such as shellfish and seaweed.

The EcoEvo blog is up and running again here. Keep an eye on the blog for regular contributions from people across the Department of Zoology and beyond. 

Dr. Annabel Smith covered her recent Oecologia paper in the blog post "What happens to animals when their habitat burns?" Check it out here

Sam Ross’ recent paper is out now in the journal Ecological Research. See the full open-access paper here, or read about it in the news here.


Ross, S.R.P-J., Friedman, N.R., Dudley, K.L., Yoshimura, M., Yoshida, T. and Economo, E.P., Listening to ecosystems: data-rich acoustic monitoring through landscape-scale sensor networks. Ecological Research, pp.1-13.


Aoibheann Gaughran and Rachel Louise Byrne attended the 32nd European Mustellid Colloquium in Lyon last week where Rachel won Best Student Poster entitled "The Parasites of Irish Badgers: An Untold Story" and Aoibheann won best student talk for "Badgers as Super-Rangers: alternative ranging strategies in the European badger."

Yvonne Buckley was awarded the Sir John Burnett memorial medal by the National Biodiversity Network at their meeting in Cardiff last week. She also gave the Sir John Burnett memorial lecture . The NBN champions the sharing of biological data and are the UK’s largest partnership for nature, with over 215 million wildlife records available through the NBN Atlas. The NBN is the UK’s node for the Global Biodiversity Information Facility which makes biodiversity data and information accessible worldwide.


As part of the 26th International Conference of the World Association for the Advancement of Veterinary Parasitology, which took place in Kuala Lumpur in September, Peter Stuart travelled as part of a bidding committee to present Ireland as a potential destination for the 28th WAAVP in 2021. The bid was successful and WAAVP 2021 will take place at the Convention Cente Dublin with the theme “Parasitologists without Borders”. The local committee worked in partnership with Keynote PCO and were supported by Failte Ireland, Meet in Ireland and Dublin Convention Bureau through the Conference Ambassador programme. Peter Stuart also gave an oral presentation of his research in Kuala Lumpur entitled “The hidden faces of a biological invasion: parasite dynamics of invaders and natives”. Peter also recently was awarded a Marie Sk?odowska-Curie individual fellowship to continue his research at TCD. Peter has also had two publications recently published, “Parasitic nematodes of the genus Syphacia Seurat, 1916 infecting Muridae in the British Isles, and the peculiar case of Syphacia frederici” in Parasitology and “Ticks and Tick-borne diseases in Ireland” in the Irish veterinary journal.

Congratulations to Lyndsay Walsh, who was Highly Commended at the 2017 Undergraduate Awards for her paper entitled 'Can international designation of outstanding natural heritage sites be relied on to ensure their long- term conservation?'. This was recognised as being in the top 10% of all submissions in the Earth & Environmental Sciences category, after being assessed by a panel of expert academics from universities across the world.


The National Biodiversity Action Plan was launched this week and Yvonne Buckley, as Chair of the National Biodiversity Forum which contributed to the plan, gave a speech at the launch with Minister Heather Humphreys and Ciaran O’Keeffe of NPWS . She also wrote an opinion piece in the Irish Times on natural capital and the biodiversity action plan

Yvonne Buckley performed at the science/comedy event BrightClub Dublin on July 11th on “Ecological Adventures”, here’s the video (caution, there’s swearing)

Anna Csergö & Yvonne Buckley have had a paper published in Biodiversity & Conservation “Effect of management on natural capital stocks underlying ecosystem service provision: a ‘provider group’ approach” . The paper is 1st authored by Yvonne’s former PhD student Fleur Maseyk (UQ).

Yvonne Buckley is the invited Murray Lecturer at the School of Life and Environmental Sciences at the University of Sydney. The University of Sydney is ranked 61st in the THE world university rankings.

Yvonne Buckley held an international research workshop supported by SFI which brought together researchers from the PLANTPOPNET project on global population performance from Australia, UK, USA, Finland and Ireland to progress papers and discuss the future of the network. PLANTPOPNET involves over 40 academics worldwide in the collection, analysis and communication of population performance data for an ecological model species, Plantago lanceolata. The workshop also included a session with representatives from funders and industry, as well as academics from TCD Zoology and Botany, to discuss how plant based industries will adapt to a changing climate.


Visiting PhD student Ryan Andrades has published a Letter in Science on “Fringe on the brink: Intertidal reefs at risk”. The argue that the centimetres-deep waters around oceanic islands play host to a significant proportion of endemic species and unique ecosystems. Ryan is visiting Andrew Jackson to work on analysis of his system of intertidal tropical reef ecosystems using stable isotope data. He is visiting from the Departamento de Oceanografia e Ecologia, Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo, Brazil. DOI to article

Congratulations to visiting research Professor Alen Dzidic from the University of Zagreb, Croatia who will take up residency as a Fulbright Scholar in the University of Wisonsin-Madison, USA. Prof Dzidic is an international leader on the dairy agriculture industry while in the USA will further develop his research on optimising milking strategies using a combination of empirical observations and statistical analysis of high-throughput data made available through sensors on the milking machines. He has been visiting Andrew Jackson since November 2016 to develop new quantitative teaching resources for both their curricula. They are also exploring new ways to analyse the data from the farm systems and exploring the potential for individual based models to be used to further optimise farm management.

Andrew Jackson published a new paper in the journal PharmacoEconomics with collaborators in the Cystic Fibrosis Registry of Ireland titled “Estimating Direct Cost of Cystic Fibrosis Care Using Irish Registry Healthcare Resource Utilisation Data, 2008–2012”. This paper uses statistical models to estimate the direct medical cost of CF care using registry data and examines how cost was affected by patient characteristics and CF gene (CF Transmembrane Conductance Regulator [CFTR]) mutation. doi: 10.1007/s40273-017-0530-4.



Celia Holland's paper "Knowledge gaps in the epidemiology of Toxocara: the enigma remains" has been selected for Editors Picks ( in Biomedical Advances a website that focuses on cutting-edge biomedical research from around the globe. This paper was also selected as Paper of the Month for Parasitology and 
had an invited blog associated with it (…/toxocara-enigma-remai…/)

Celia Holland gave an invited talk, entitled "Chasing Ascaris aggregation from field to laboratory", as part of the Presidential symposium at the American Society for Parasitology in San Antonio, Texas.

Alumnus Karen Loxton, Colin Lawton, Peter Stafford and Celia Holland published a paper on how helminths of wood mice can be influenced by the invasive vole


The Zoological Museum’s summer season has started with a bang with record visitor numbers, a successful “Science for Schools” season of workshops for primary school students, a new video and featured on Ryan Tubridy’s radio show last week. Well done to all involved.

Yvonne Buckley has been awarded a Royal Irish Academy – Royal Society International Exchange Cost Share Programme small grant to enable collaborative visits between her group and Dr Wayne Dawson at Durham University over the next two years to work on the effects of the environment on below-ground traits of Plantago lanceolata. She was also awarded an SFI Conferences & Workshop grant to fund an international workshop on Plantago lanceolata at TCD in September.

Paula Tierney attended the Body & Soul festival and spoke about invasive species to an appreciative audience of festival goers!


Annabel Smith, David Kelly, Aoibheann Gaughran and Darren O'Connell attended  the BES Ecological Genetics SIG conference in Dublin's Botanic Gardens. 
Annabel Smith presented a poster.
Darren O'Connell gave a talk, winning the prize for best student talk. 

Paula Tierney was awarded the student prize for Best Biodiversity Presentation at the Eviron colloquium in Athlone IT for her presentation entitled 'Parasite-mediated impacts of an invasive fish on native brown trout'. As part of the prize, a short article on her research will be published in the Environmental Science Association of Ireland E-zine 'Environews', and on the ESAI website.

Rachel Byrne won best conference talk at the Association for the study of animal behaviour (ASAB) Easter conference. The prize was a voucher to use on Cambridge University press and she was invited to write a small article on her conference experience for the ASAB newsletter and website.


Zoology alumnus Andrew Cooper and co-author Celia Holland have published a paper entitled "Helminths in organ transplantation" in the Lancet Infectious Diseases.

Ian Donohue, Andrew Jackson, Nessa O’Connor, Kevin Healy, Deirdre McClean and Qiang Yang have all been named recipients of the 2017 Innovations in Sustainability Science Award from the Ecological Society of America for their paper “Navigating the Complexity of Ecological Stability”, published in Ecology Letters last July. The paper argues that our grasp of ecological stability, and how we measure it, is one-dimensional. This has led to a remarkably poor understanding of the impacts on stability of the characteristics that define many, perhaps all, of the most important elements of global change. The authors will receive their award at the ESA annual meeting this August

Donohue, I., H. Hillebrand, J.M. Montoya, O.L. Petchey, S.L. Pimm, M.S. Fowler, K. Healy, A.L. Jackson, M. Lurgi, D. McClean, N.E. O’Connor, E.J. O’Gorman, and Q. Yang (2016), Navigating the complexity of ecological stability. Ecology Letters, 19: 1172–1185. doi:10.1111/ele.12648


Just a reminder that the sixth annual Zoology-Botany Postgraduate Symposium will take place on Thursday the 2nd March in the Haughton Lecture Theatre, Museum Building. This one day event will feature talks by postgraduate students from the departments of Zoology and Botany, showcasing their current research. Key note speeches will be delivered by Dr James LaCourse of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and Dr Zenobia Lewis of the University of Liverpool. All are welcome to attend."

Yvonne Buckley attended an sDIV research workshop in Leipzig, Germany where a small group of population biologists are working together to use existing databases of plant and animal population performance to predict performance under future climate conditions. There will be another workshop in June.


Yvonne Buckley talks about holly, winter lethargy & climate change in the Irish Times, thanks to Dave Kelly for badger tips! 
Yvonne Buckley has an invited news & views article in the 1st issue of the new journal Nature Ecology & Evolution out this week on the unpredictable effects of invasions 
Welcome to new academic staff member Nessa O’Connor who joins Zoology as Asst. Prof. in ecology. Nessa was previously an academic at Queens University Belfast and comes with a wealth of experience in ecosystem ecology and marine systems.
Welcome to Maude Baudraz who has joined Yvonne Buckley’s group as a Research Assistant. Maude previously studied at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland and will be working on spatial ecology of Plantago lanceolata


Ian Donohue is co-author on a letter that has just been published in Science that aims to highlight the vulnerability of the African Great Lakes to ongoing oil exploration in the region. The lakes are among the most biologically rich on Earth, within which about 90% of species are endemic. However oil extraction is posing grave risk to the environment and local communities in the region.

Abila, R. et al. (2016) Oil extraction imperils Africa's Great LakesScience 354: 561-562.  

There was a great showing from TCD Zoology at the recent BES annual meeting in Liverpool with Yvonne Buckley, Jesus Villellas Arino, Kevin Healy, Alain Finn, Maureen Williams, Darren O'Connell & Ruth Kelly all presenting talks or posters at the meeting. It was a great opportunity to network with colleagues and academic heroes!


Nicola was invited this week to be on Newstalk Drivetime to provide the science slot on Weds 6.30. Most of the talk was about badgers and their exciting sex lives, but we also discussed fussy eating in birds and children. If you wish to listen to the conversation, please visit this site

Yvonne Buckley contributed to a review of the week’s science news on Newstalk’s FutureProof on Saturday talking about Kevin Healy & Andrew Jackson’s work on lifespan & time perception in animals, amaretti biscuits, CRISPR & sci fi.

Members of the Irish Ecological Association have produced a Virtual Issue of the BES journals on Ecology & Evolution in Ireland featuring several papers by staff in Zoology & Botany. The editorial is authored by Yvonne Buckley together with colleagues in UCC, QUB and UC, see here. Yvonne Buckley is on the organising committee of the 1st Ecology & Evolution Ireland conference taking place in Sligo IT on 24-26 November.

Congratulations to Professor Nicola Marples and Associate Professor Ian Donohue who were promoted by College. It’s great to see our colleagues in Zoology being recognised for their outstanding work.

Congratulations to Darren O’Connell who won the best 10 min student talk prize at the Ecology & Evolution Ireland conference.

Yvonne Buckley was on the organising committee for the Irish Ecological Association’s first conference (Ecology & Evolution Ireland) in Sligo last week which was a great success with 140 attendees and over 45 talks & 38 posters. Yvonne Buckley was elected President of the Irish Ecological Association

Zoology alumnus Donal T. Manahan (Professor of Biological Sciences at The University of South California LA) will be visiting the department on Tuesday and will be around for morning tea at 11am.


Shaun Coutts (former postdoc) along with Rob Salguero-Gómez (former postdoc) and Anna Csergö (current MSC fellow) together with Yvonne Buckley have had a paper published in Ecology Letters. If you’ve ever wondered how far you can extrapolate plant population processes in phylogenic and geographic distance wonder no more (the answer is around 10 Million years & 20km at best).

The research of the department was highlighted in outreach in two ways this week: the members magazine for the Mammal Society, Mammal News, featured an article on the breeding biology of badgers by Nicola Marples, presenting the badger group’s paper on superfetation. Also the Provost’s Annual Review 2015-16contains two articles, one an overview by Nicola on her team’s research on foraging in birds, and one by their collaborator in Engineering on their interdisciplinary study of bird song analysis.  Hard copies of both magazines will be available in the coffee room.

Celia Holland was an invited speaker at the Potomac Regional Veterinary Conference in Washington, DC for
a session addressing the topic "Larval toxocariasis: reducing the prevalence of the most common human
helminth in the world".

Celia Holland was a co-author on a paper entitled "The role of more sensitive helminth diagnostics in mass drug administration campaigns: elimination and health impacts"
published in Advances in Parasitology here.