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


Sam Ross published a paper in the Journal of Animal Ecology. The paper, "A test of trophic and functional island biogeography theory with the avifauna of a continental archipelago", explores how different facets of biodiversity scale with island area for birds on islands of the Ryukyu archipelago spanning from southern Kyushu, Japan, to Taiwan.

Recently graduated Zoology student Neil Mahon has won both the W.C. Campbell Moderatorship prize in Zoology and the W.C. Campbell undergraduate research prize in Zoology. These prizes were established in 2017 by a gift from Professor William C. Campbell from his 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, which was awarded for discoveries concerning a novel therapy against infections caused by roundworm parasites. The gift is a token of gratitude for Prof. Campbell’s undergraduate education in the natural sciences, and for the inspiring mentorship of Dr. James Desmond Smyth of the Zoology department. They are awarded annually to the student/s with the best overall moderatorship result in zoology and the best overall undergraduate research project result in zoology.

Neil demonstrated excellence across his academic studies in Zoology, with exceptional achievements in the practical components, and completed his project on “Pollinating insect communities along a gradient of urbanisation in Dublin City”, supervised by Professor Jane Stout.

Neil is currently working as the lead guide in the Zoological Museum for the Summer where he gets to combine his passions for the animal kingdom with his interest in meeting people and communicating his love of animals.

Neil stated that: "I love zoology for two reasons. I have been infatuated with the natural world from as early as I can remember. The story of the animal kingdom is both complex and beautiful and it excites me to think that by studying zoology I could one day contribute another little bit to that story. The second reason why I love zoology is the people. I have had the pleasure of meeting some of the most inspirational, friendly and caring people while studying zoology. They continuously make it an ever more fascinating and enjoyable subject."

Jay Piggott and colleagues published their second paper from the Irish ExStream: Davis, S.J., Ó hUallacháin, D., Mellander, P.-E., Matthaei, C.D., Piggott, J.J. & Kelly-Quinn, M. (2019). Chronic nutrient inputs affect stream macroinvertebrate communities more than acute inputs: An experiment manipulating phosphorus, nitrogen and sediment. Science of The Total Environment.

Jay Piggott undertook an AQUACOSM Transnational Access visit to the Silwood Park, Imperial College London for the AQUACOSM CELLulose Decomposition EXperiment, seeking to establish develop standardised mesocosm sampling protocols and procedures to be applied across the H2020 AQUACOSM mesocosm network.

'Science for the love of it' is a documentary /podcast featuring Martyn Linnie's experiences of his time in Zoology ,Trinity and particularly the museum. Please listen to the attached link here.

We would like to welcome Megan Sleeper, a 3rd year interdisciplinary studies student from the Arizona State University. Megan will be working in the museum over the summer as an intern on our outreach programme.

Reminder: The award winning art installation, The Repeated Refrains of Nature will take place in the Auk room from June 24th to July 20th.

Recent posts on the EcoEvo blog:

"Wild and free: red deer grazing for conservation" by Annabel Smith

"World Bee Day 2019" by Jane Stout

"Ecofiction: The Bog down in the Valley" by Fionn Ó Marcaigh

"PhD Retrospective: Finding new Bird Species in Sulawesi" by Darren O'Connell


Nick Payne and Celia Holland organised a signing ceremony for an MOU between TCD and Inland Fisheries Ireland, with Minister of State Sean Canney TCD attending. The MOU should facilitate closer links between the college and IFI.

Jacinta Kong is commencing a 4-year research and teaching position with Nick this month. Jacinta joins us from Australia and will work on thermal biology and macroecology, and will teach in several modules in fresh and soph years.

Jay Piggott leads a work package of the Belmont Forum/BiodivERsA-funded ’Land2Sea’ project (nationally co-funded by EPA and Marine Institute), with contributions from Nessa O'Connor and Marcin Penk, which was kicked off in April 2019. This is a collaboration between partners from Ireland (UCD, TCD), Germany (EDU, HZG), Sweden (UG), Canada ([Université%20Laval]UL) and US (CSU). Over the next 3 years, the project will develop integrated models for predicting the consequences of land-use and climate change for ecosystem services and the underlying biodiversity and ecosystem processes in freshwater and marine ecosystems.

Jay Piggott leads a work package of the EPA-funded ‘ESDecide’ project, with contribution from Marcin Penk, which was kicked off in April 2019. This is a collaboration between academic and industry partners from Ireland (UCD, TCD), Wales (BIC), England (EC) and Germany (EDU). Over the next 2.5 years, the project will develop an evidence-based decision support tool for optimising ecosystem services from Irish freshwater resources.

Darren O'Connell, Nicola Marples, David Kelly and Fionn Ó Marcaigh recently published the paper "A sympatric pair of undescribed white-eye species (Aves: Zosteropidae: Zosterops) with different origins" in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society

This paper highlighted two new bird species for the islands off Sulawesi and described their contrasting evolutionary origin.

The paper has generated significant media attention including; an RTE news segment an RTE radio segment and articles with a wide variety of international news outlets such as

Read more about the paper on the TCD SNS EcoEvo blog

Jay Piggott and Annabel Smith just returned from Almería, southern Spain, where they taught on a successful Masters in Environmental Science field course with Quentin Crowley (Geology) and Marcus Collier (Botany). The field course followed a peer-to-peer knowledge transfer format, where the fifteen students were each responsible for leading their own field research. They introduced their topic in an evening presentation and, the following day, led the group on a field expedition to demonstrate environmental problems and solutions relevant to their topic. We covered a lot of ground, intellectually as well as geographically, across Europe's only desert, where hyper-diverse Mediterranean shrublands (> 4000 plant species in Andalucia) co-exist with ever-changing agriculture, energy and tourism challenges. These included cliff-top wind farms, the "Mar de Plastico" where plastic polytunnels dominate an entire landscape, the "Mini Hollywood" where American movies are made and tourist operations must buy their water from already depleted aquifers in other regions, and the Plataforma Solar de Almería where a solar concentrator can burn its way through a lead panel in less than a minute!

Sam Ross was awarded the 2019 W. C. Campbell Postgraduate Teaching Inspiration Award in Zoology for his contribution to teaching undergraduate students within the Zoology Department and beyond.

Jay Piggott and James Orr attended the 6th "Fresh Blood for Fresh Water" conference at the Balaton Limnological Institute in Hungary where Jay gave one of the plenary talks. James was also awarded funding to participate in a DNA metabarcoding workshop in Uppsala, Sweden organised by DNAqua-Net."

Annabel Smith has accepted a position at University of Queensland, Australia. She will be working as a Lecturer in Wildlife Management in the School of Agriculture and Food Sciences, Gatton Campus, about 80 km west of Brisbane city centre. She will be teaching applied ecology in the undergraduate Wildlife Science program. In her new research lab, Annabel will continue to work on fire ecology, with a particular focus on conserving biodiversity and population processes at the nature-agriculture interface. Students seeking applied ecology PhD opportunities in Australia can contact Annabel to discuss. She will leave in August with a mix of excitement for the new position and sadness to be leaving Zoology. Trinity College Dublin colleagues are officially invited to visit Annabel at University of Queensland!

Zoological Museum

We are delighted to announce that Neil Mahon, Niall Ferris – Meldon and Wiktoria Fangor have been appointed as Museum Mediators for the coming season. The museum opens to the public on June 1st –until 31st of August.

Martyn Linnie, Jenny Bortoluzzi and Neil Mahon provided a museum workshop for Maths and Science Week attended by 29 pupils form Marist Primary School in Dublin.

Martyn Linnie gave two presentations on Outreach and Civic Engagement to the Annual Conference of the Natural Sciences Collections Association (NATSCA) held in the National Museum of Ireland at Collins Barracks, Dublin recently.

Please listen to the attached link here.


Dr Marcin Penk has joined Jay Piggott’s research group as a Research and Teaching Fellow on the IRC Laureate Project “ExStream” which seeks to understand the relationships among biodiversity, ecosystem functioning and the key drivers of climate change in streams and rivers.

Darren O'Connell, David Kelly, Nicola Marples and colleagues published a paper in Emu - Austral Ornithology for the Special issue "Ornithological Advances in New Guinea and the Indo-Pacific", showing greater sexual dimorphism in island bird populations and proposing increased intersexual competition in dense populations to be the cause. Paper title: Increased sexual dimorphism in dense populations of Olive-backed Sunbirds on small islands: morphological niche contraction in females but not males Link:

David Kelly, Aoibheann Gaughran and Ends Mullen (NPWS) attended the Mammal Society Spring Conference in Glasgow last weekend, where they each presented talks on aspects of the N11 Badger Study. Aoibheann won the prize for best student talk for her presentation "Going the Extra Mile. GPS tracking reveals the extent of badger movement during dispersal".


Lucy Harding commenced a PhD with Nick Payne at the start of March. She returns to TCD having completing her UG here in 2014, and will study the thermal niches of diverse fishes.

Nick Payne co-authored a paper published this week in J Experimental Biology. It was featured by Nature and a variety of other outlets.

Jay Piggott was awarded funding from the Enterprise Ireland H2020 Co-ordinator Proposal Preparation Support Scheme as well as Transnational Access funding from AQUACOSM (H2020-INFRAIA) for a CELLDEX (Cellulose Decomposition Experiment) at Imperial College London.

Jay Piggott and colleagues published: a paper on The effect of agriculture on the seasonal dynamics and functional diversity of benthic biofilm in tropical headwater streams in Brazil (Biotropica, 51, (1), 2019, p18-27), a book chapter on Multiple Stressors in Australia and New Zealand: Key Stressors and Interactions in, Multiple Stressors in River Ecosystems (Elsevier, 2019, pp221–233), and a project article Managing the small stream network for improved water quality, biodiversity and ecosystem services protection (SSNet) (Research Ideas and Outcomes, 5, 2019, pe33400).

Recent posts on the EcoEvo blog: 'A New Horizon for Nature' by Prof Jane Stout - 'Is a seal cull needed to protect fish stocks?' by Fionn Ó Marcaigh - 'Modern Women in Science: Eugenie “The Shark Lady” Clark' by Jenny Bortoluzzi

The blog is currently running a series on Modern Women in Science, so if you would like to write a brief piece about a female scientist who has inspired you in some way, please email Jenny at If you have any other posts or ideas for the blog, you can email Fionn at It's a great way to get your research and perspectives out there.

PhD student Bryan Kennedy, Yvonne Buckley & Norman Allott have had a paper published in Phytotaxa describing two new species of diatoms from Irish lakes,Encyonopsis carraensis (named after Lough Carra where it was found) and Encyonopsis hibernica. “Taxonomy, ecology and analysis of type material of some small Encyonopsis with description of new species in Ireland Ireland” .

Diatoms are widely used to assess water quality as they are excellent indicators of water pH, nutrients etc. Bryan and Yvonne will be assessing how more refined taxonomy in this group where species have differing niche characteristics is useful for assessing water quality. This is connected to Yvonne’s previous work on optimizing the taxonomic resolution and sampling effort to design cost-effective sampling of diatoms for environmental assessment published in 2014

Yvonne Buckley has been elected as a member of the Royal Irish Academy Through its election of Members, the Royal Irish Academy recognises and celebrates the excellence of individuals within the all-island Ireland research community. This is a wonderful achievement that is a great source of pride for our discipline and our school.

Maude Baudraz won the "Prix de l'éloquence" for a presentation of her research at the “My thesis in three minutes” event organised by the French Embassy.


Rachel Byrne, Nicola Marples, Celia Holland and Andrew Mooney have had their second paper published out of Rachels Masters project. The short communication will be available in the next issue of the Journal of helminthology entitled 'The helminth parasite community of European badgers (Meles meles) in Ireland. Byrne, R. L., Fogarty, U., Mooney, A., Harris, E., Good, M., Marples, N. M., & Holland, C.V., (2019). The helminth parasite community of European badgers (Meles meles) in Ireland. Journal of Helminthology, 1-4. doi:10.1017/S0022149X19000051

Dr Jean-Francois (Jeff) Arnoldi has joined Andrew Jackson’s research group as a Research Fellow on the IRC Laureate Project “Web-Tracer” which will explore new ways to gain insights into the structure and behaviour of food-webs using mathematical and computational models. Jeff has a PhD in mathematics from Institut Fourier, France and is developing a mathematical framework to understand how food-webs are built and what biological processes govern which species persist and which are pushed to exclusion through competition. Jeff joins Jenny Bortoluzzi who is studying for her PhD on the same project which will run until 2022. Jenny’s focus is on how foraging behaviour shapes the ecological niche occupied by individuals and their populations, and what the consequences of this variation means for food-web ecology and evolution of individual traits.

Related to the new “Web-Tracer” project, Andrew Jackson recently celebrated a milestone of 1000 cites on his research paper "Comparing isotopic niche widths among and within communities: SIBER–Stable Isotope Bayesian Ellipses in R” on Google Scholar. This is the second paper related within the topic of methods development for stable isotope ecology to reach 1000 cites.

Thanks to a collaboration with Kevin Healy NUIG and Chris Carbone, Zoological Society London, Andrew Jackson is now a snake researcher! The most comprehensive cross-species comparative analysis of snake venom and the snakes’ prey showed that venom potency is generally prey-specific and that hat venom yields are lower in species occupying three dimensional environments and increases with body size corresponding to metabolic rate, but faster than predicted from increases in prey size. The research was published in Ecology Letters and made the front cover of the March issue.

Annabel Smith had a paper published, led by Dr Jane Catford and a team from Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve, Minnesota USA. Annabel conducted the modelling for this paper, a project she began in 2015 as a research associate with Dr Catford. Trait data for 164 taxa, analysed with multi-species models, showed that plant invasion was associated with traits of invaders, traits of recipient communities, and invader-community interactions. These interactions changed over a 20 year period, showing that invasion is context-dependent and long-term experiments are required to comprehensively understand plant invasions.

Catford JA, Smith AL, Wragg P, Clark AT, Kosmala M, Cavender-Bares J, Reich PB, Tilman D (2019). Traits linked with species invasiveness and community invasibility vary with time, stage and indicator of invasion in a long-term grassland experiment. Ecology Letters,

Jay Piggott was awarded funding from the Enterprise Ireland H2020 Co-ordinator Proposal Preparation Support Scheme as well as Transnational Access funding from AQUACOSM (H2020-INFRAIA) for a CELLDEX (Cellulose Decomposition Experiment) at Imperial College London.

Jay Piggott and colleagues published: a paper on The effect of agriculture on the seasonal dynamics and functional diversity of benthic biofilm in tropical headwater streams in Brazil (Biotropica, 51, (1), 2019, p18-27), a book chapter on Multiple Stressors in Australia and New Zealand: Key Stressors and Interactions in, Multiple Stressors in River Ecosystems (Elsevier, 2019, pp221–233), and a project article Managing the small stream network for improved water quality, biodiversity and ecosystem services protection (SSNet) (Research Ideas and Outcomes, 5, 2019, pe33400).

Katrin Schertenleib was awarded a British Ecological Society Training & Travel Grant to attend a 5-day training course in 'Collecting and Identifying Seaweeds' in Plymouth in March.

Sam Ross and his coauthors have been awarded the Ecological Research Paper Award 2018 for their paper "Listening to ecosystems: data-rich acoustic monitoring through landscape-scale sensor networks." The award will be presented at the 2019 Ecological Society of Japan meeting in Kobe next month.

You can read the full Open Access paper here: Ross SRP-J, Friedman NR, Dudley KL, Yoshimura M, Yoshida T, Economo E. (2018). Listening to ecosystems: data-rich acoustic monitoring through landscape-scale sensor networks. Ecological Research 33(1), 135-147.

Or read about the work on the EcoEvo Blog here : "If a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound?

This month's posts on EcoEvo: "2018 Hall of Fame" by Various Authors-

"Looking beyond mean trends of environmental change" by Marvin -

"One Thing For Nature" by Yvonne -

Yvonne Buckley took part in the plenary debate and closing summary of the 1st National Biodiversity Conference “New Horizons for Nature” at Dublin Castle on 20/21 Feb. She ran a twitter campaign to support the debate “#1thing4nature” and wrote a blog piece on the TCD NERD club view of what we need to do in Ireland for conservation:

Yvonne Buckley took part in an interview for RTÉ Drivetime together with Inger Andersen who is the new Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme. There was strong involvement of several members of the School of Natural Sciences in the conference including the conference co-organiser Prof Jane Stout


Yvonne Buckley is part of a global network of grassland ecologists who have found that critical plant nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium in leaves respond to fertilisation treatments as well as the climate and soils they are growing in across plant communities in 27 sites on four continents. She is a co-author on the paper in Nature Ecology & Evolution. author Jennifer Firn).

When plants are fertilised they can use those extra nutrients to grow bigger and produce more flowers and seeds which can dilute the nutrients in their leaves, so a positive response of leaf nutrients to fertilisation is not guaranteed. A surprising result of this experiment was that Specific Leaf Area, a leaf trait that is commonly used to tell us about how plants defend themselves against herbivores and capture sunlight for growth, was unaffected by fertilisation. So this critical measure of leaf architecture is not changing in a consistent way in response to fertilisation. Leaf architecture is instead determined by climate and soil characteristics, so it may respond over a longer time frame than short-term fertilisation. For data visualisation geeks a very cool interactive figure was developed by Jennifer Firn showing the results of the statistical model

The annual Botany-Zoology Postgraduate Symposium is coming up on the 26th of February. It will last all day and take place in the Botany Lecture Theatre. The Symposium is a great opportunity for postgraduate research students to present their work, many for the first time, and for us to all to learn about the diversity of research going on across the disciplines. The two invited keynote speakers are Prof. Anna-Liisa Laine (University of Helsinki, University of Zurich) and Dr. Amy Pedersen (University of Edinburgh). Your attendance and your feedback on the students' talks will be much appreciated! See you there!"

"Rebecca Rolfe, in collaboration with colleagues from Imperial College London recently published a paper in European Cells and Materials examining the impact of short term foetal immobility on aspects of chick spine curvature, anatomy and rib development. DOI: 10.22203/eCM.v037a03

Sam Ross won the prize for best talk at the Irish Ecological Association's 2019 Ecology and Evolution Conference in Galway, for his talk entitled 'Urbanisation erodes ecoacoustic diversity and stability in Okinawa, Japan.'

Sam Ross was awarded a British Ecological Society Training & Travel Grant to attend the Ecological Society of Japan's 2019 meeting in Kobe in March.

Sam Ross was awarded an Ecological Research visiting speaker grant to co-organise a keynote symposium at the Ecological Society of Japan's 2019 meeting in Kobe in March. Sam has used the award to invite Dr. Maria Dornelas (St. Andrew's University) to give a plenary at the meeting, and he will be taking in his keynote symposium entitled 'Ecological Stability: Spatial & Temporal Dynamics'. This is the first time the visiting speaker grant has been awarded to a PhD student from outside of Japan


Zoological Museum: We are delighted to announce that the Zoological Museum has been awarded Maintenance of Interim and Full Accreditation of the Standards in the Museum Standards Programme for Ireland. Following on from its successful application in 2015, the award represents continued commitment to improving the care and governance of the Museum’s iconic 200-year-old collection which includes approximately 25,000 specimens of worldwide origin. The Museum Standards Programme sets out to raise standards of care across the cultural spectrum from national institutions to small, volunteer-led organisations. Announcing the award, the Heritage Council review committee acknowledged '… the great achievement, hard work and perseverance of all involved in maintaining the standards and also the museum's continued commitment to public engagement'.

Jay Piggott was awarded funding from the Government of Ireland International Academic Mobility Programme 2019 to explore joint teaching programs in the form of a joint/dual MSc degree in Global Environmental Studies with Kyoto and Keio universities in Japan (one of two TCD funded projects).

Jay Piggott received funding from EPA Ireland as WP leader on ESDecide: from Ecosystem Services Framework to Application for Integrated Freshwater Resources Management. TCD post-doc position to be advertised.

Olive Heffernan has been signed to write her first book, which will be published by Profile Books in the UK/Commonwealth and by Greystone Books in North America in 2021. The working title is "The High Seas: the race to save Earth's last wilderness" and more information is available here:

A popular science book, it will deal with the urgent need to safeguard marine life on the High Seas, the half of our planet that is beyond national jurisdiction and where biodiversity is unprotected. Covering topics from fisheries to marine genetic resources and deep sea mining, this book looks at the conflict in protecting this vast realm at a time when there is huge interest in exploiting it from both existing and emerging industries. If anyone is working on issues relating to the High Seas, maritime law or deep-sea ecology, please get in touch. )


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 Lakes. Science 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.

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.