School of Natural Sciences (Zoology Building)
Trinity College Dublin
Email: Paula Tierney
My main research interests are in invasion biology and parasite ecology. Parasites are small and traditionally overlooked components of ecosystems but they can have wide-ranging impacts on the workings of ecosystems through their interactions with their hosts. With invasive aliens species posing a major threat to biodiversity globally, it’s important to understand native host-parasite interactions and how these interactions can be altered when a novel host is introduced to the ecosystem. On a broader scale, I am also interested in conservation biology, invasive species management and science communication.
Funding: Inland Fisheries Ireland & Trinity College Graduate Studentship Award.
My PhD project focuses on the helminth parasite communities of common dace (Leuciscus leuciscus), an invasive freshwater fish in Ireland and brown trout (Salmo trutta), an economically important native sympatric species. Dace have been present in Ireland since the late 1800s but it is only relatively recently that they have begun spreading to new catchments. This makes them a useful model for asking questions about the role of parasites in biological invasions - how are native host-parasite dynamics impacted by introduced species? Are there differences in parasite burdens between established and dispersing populations of invaders? Can parasites mediate the impacts of invasive species on native ecology?