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MSc/Mres Projects

Prof. TED HENRY – (Room JMS7; Institute of Life and Earth Sciences)

Email: T.Henry@hw.ac.uk)

Ted directs MSC/Mres projects within the Ecotoxicology and Pathophysiology of Aquatic Organisms Research Program and the details of research and activities of the group are on our website (https://epaquatic.org/).  Research is conducted in the Zebrafish Research Facility (JMS4-5), molecular toxicology laboratory (JMS13), and histology suite (JMG1).  In 2021, Prof Henry will supervise projects related to the areas of research of the group and additional project topics (including dry projects) are open for discussion. See below for list of anticipated projects.

TH-1 Toxicological effect of micro and nanoplastics in organisms- Among the most prominent and ubiquitous anthropogenic changes in the marine environment has been the accumulation of plastic debris. They do not readily degrade and their accumulation and abundance in coastal environments is now recognised as among the highest priority issues for environmental research and policy. Microplastics (MPs) and nanoplastics (NPs), are small plastic particles which can be produced by fragmentation of larger debris or manufactured as micro- and nano-beads (e.g. used in cosmetics, medical applications, etc) and directly released into the environment. There is a concern that the abundance of these small plastic particles in the marine environment is increasing. Preliminary results from Scotland show that MPs can be found both on sediments and in the lumen of fish digestive tracts. However, little is still known about the real impact of these particles in key species in the marine environment. The goals of this project are: 1) to assess the ingestion and retention rates of these particles in local intertidal invertebrate species and 2) to evaluate the toxicological and physiological effects of MPs and NPs in marine organisms. Mesocosm-type of experiments will be developed to assess the impact of the particles in organisms. MSc projects will mostly involve laboratory work, but there is flexibility to develop field projects towards the student’s interest.

TH-2 Ecotoxicology in deep-sea organisms- A significant area of work with the group is to develop understanding of toxicology (especially related to deep-sea mining activity) in deep sea organisms to support projects aimed at assessment of the environmental impacts of deep-sea mining.  Within this context we are developing surrogate model organisms to test ecotoxicology and translation of results.

TH3- Linking changes in gene expression profiles with high order responses (e.g., histopathology)- Numerous projects within the EPAQ research group focus on investigations of gene expression profiles in various context that include developmental biology, physiology, toxicology, and substance bioavailability.  Model organisms include zebrafish, the freshwater snail Lymnea stagnalis, and the tropical marine amphipod Parhyale hawaiensis.  We also work with numerous non-model species including sponges, fishes, and aquatic invertebrates.

TH4 Toxicology of harmful algal (cyanobacteria) blooms in fish- Blooms of toxic cyanobacteria are reported to be increasing worldwide as a consequence of eutrophication of surface waters.  Cyanobacteria produce numerous substances including specific toxins and the combined effects of these substances can compromise the health of aquatic organisms.  Our research investigates various species of cyanobacteria and fractionated preparations of the complex mixtures that these organisms produce to determine fractions in which bioactivity is present. We are also investigating the influence of cyanobacteria on modulation of the immune system in zebrafish.

TH5 Statistical analyses and dry project options- A variety of options exist to explore dry project and data analysis types of projects.