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Dr Sonja Rueckert

Biography In 2012, I started as Senior Lecturer in Marine Biology/Parasitology at Edinburgh Napier University and in 2018 I was awarded the title of Associate Professor. I'm broadly interested in parasites and in particular parasites of marine organisms including a whole range of invertebrates and fishes. My research approach involves traditional morphological and modern molecular techniques to understand the biodiversity, ecology and evolutionary history of parasitic organisms. Since I was a postdoc, a large part of my research focuses on the morphology, molecular phylogeny and evolution of gregarine apicomplexans and other protozoan parasites in marine/terrestrial invertebrates. At the moment I am starting to look into the utilization of gregarines as model organisms and also the role and impact of micro-eukaryotes and metazoan parasites in food webs.

- Teaching activities:

Module Leader for Life on Earth ENV07100 (since 2014), 1st year module with ~140 students
Module Leader for Practical Skills in Biodiversity and Ecology ENV08108 (since 2018), 2nd year module with ~70 students

Teaching on several modules including:

Genes & Inheritance BMS08103
Symbiosis BMS08105
Marine Biology ENV09104
Ecological Field Studies ENV09107
Conservation Biology ENV09109
Fisheries Biology ENV10101
Scientific Methods ENV11109
Current Topics in Ecology ENV10108
Professional Practice BMS10107

- Postgraduate supervision/co-supervision (ongoing)

Tully Osmond (PhD candidate since 2021) The effects of parasites on food web structure and dynamics: new ways to improve accuracy and ecological realism. Co-supervision with L. Holman (ENU), C. Pert (Marine Scotland Science) & D. Speirs (University of Strathclyde).

Connor Sword (PhD candidate since July 2021) Design of a smart system for pathogen detection in bathing water using deep learning. Co-supervision with A. Kerrouche (DoS) & Alistair Lawson.

Kevin McKinley (PhD candidate since 2020) Developing gregarine apicomplexans as aquatic symbiosis model system. Edinburgh Napier University. Co-supervision with N. Wheelhouse (ENU) & A. Tsaousis (University of Kent)




- Postgraduate supervision/co-supervision (completed)

Anna-Lotta Hiillos (PhD completed in August 2022) Microbiome-host interactions and developmental polymorphism. University of Jyväskylä, Finland. Co-supervision with E. Knott

Ian Martin (PhD completed in July 2022) Ecology, morphology and population structure of the mahseer, Tor putitora (Cyprinidae), in the Mahakali river, Western Nepal. Edinburgh Napier University, UK. Co-supervision with R. Briers (DoS)

Heather Knight (MSc completed in 2022) The impact on the functional response of a gregarine parasite infection in Gammarus pulex. Co-supervision with J. Dodd

Irfan Ali (MSc completed in 2021) Ectoparasite prevalence and diversity in rosy starling (Pastor roseus) in district Muzaffaragarh, Pakistan. Co-supervision with L. Gilpin (DoS)

Matthew Dicker (MRes completed in October 2020) The hidden links in trophic food webs: where do the parasites fit? Edinburgh Napier University, UK. Co-supervision with M. Huxham

Bruno de Cleene (MSc completed in September 2020) Is the parasite presence in fish related to the current velocity of the habitat those fish occupy? A case study of the European bullhead (Cottus gobio) in the river Ceze.

Caroline Wanjiru (PhD completed in June 2020) Exploring the fish community in a mangrove forest in Kenya utilizing different methods. Edinburgh Napier University, UK, based in Kenya. Co-supervision with M. Huxham (DoS)

Alexander J. Kent (PhD completed in Oct 2018) Exploring the Causes of Red Vent Syndrome in wild Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) from Coastal Waters around Scotland. Edinburgh Napier University, UK. Co-supervision with R. Briers & K. Diele, ENU; C. Pert (External Supervisor, Marine Scotland Science, UK)

Jenny McLeish (PhD completed in Feb 2018) Non-native Bullhead in South-East Scotland: Molecular and morphological identification and parasite links with native fauna. Edinburgh Napier University, UK. Co-supervision with R. Briers

Natasha Nicholson (MSc complete in 2013) An investigation into the tolerance of Macrobiotus dispar and Hypsibius dujardini to biotic and xenobiotic heavy metals, and possible adaptive strategies to chemotoxic stress. Edinburgh Napier University, UK. Co-supervision with L. Gilpin (DoS)

- Undergraduate BSc project students

Erin Lathangie (2022) An assessment of the role of haul location and host traits in parasite abundance and prevalence in Norway pout (Trisopterus esmarkii) in Shetland and Orkney Waters
Keelan Norrie (2022) Comparison of parasite fauna of poor cod (Trisopterus minutus) from two different regions in the North Sea.
Maximilian Troppmann (2022) Acute and chronic toxicity comparison of Sterling Dual, Marlboro Gold and JPS cigarette leachate on survival of Daphnia magna.
Owen Barron (2021) Should ownership and breeding of the domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris) be more tightly regulated in the UK?
Ines Borges (2021) Analysis of the littering behaviour exhibited by the fishermen of the the Scottish fishing fleet during fishing trips in the North Sea.
Janos Kondri (2021) Toxicological evaluation of alcoholic and non-alcoholic hand sanitisers on Daphnia pulex – A look into the environmental hazards of hand sanitisers.
Lauren Mitchell (2021) The role that parasites play in the stranding of cetaceans with focus on the parasitic genera Crassicauda and Nasitrema.
Eilidh Sturgeon (2021) Investigating the potential impact of a sewage pipeline on macrobenthos species abundance and density on the shore of Portobello Beach, Scotland.
Simona Blaze (2020): Internal parasites of the Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra) in urban and rural sites in Scotland: Prevalence, richness, and composition
Jack Colombo (2020): Combined toxic effects of e-liquid base components and flavour concentrates on environmental bioindicator Daphnia pulex.
Ellen Welsh (2020): Comparative study of the effectiveness of creel design commonly used in Scottish east coast creel fishing industry.
Niall Browne (2019): Investigating the parasite fauna of hatchery and wild Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) from the North East of Scotland, focusing on Anisakidae (Nematoda) larvae.
Micha-Lukas Gaub (2019): Diet composition, parasite infection, and health conditions of two juvenile fish from Vanga Mangrove Kenya.
Freya Gruber (2019): A bioassay determining the toxicity of e-liquid on the environment using Daphnia pulex.
James Kean (2018): Determining the toxicity of popular e-liquid flavours through acute exposer to freshwater species, Bithynia tentaculata.
Lauren Hart (2018): An exploration into the levels of parasitic infection in haddock from the North Sea and a comparison to the West Coast of Scotland.
Robyn Farquhar (2018): Parasite fauna present in Perca fluviatilis from Loch Ore, Fife and a comparison of the abundance of parasite species between hosts of different size classes.
Valeria Macchia (2018): Development of a conventional PCR and TaqMan quantitative PCR (qPCR) targeting a conservative region of lumpfish Ranavirus.
Emma Vincent-Cuaz (2017): A comparative study on the parasite fauna of Perca fluviatilis of Loch Ore (Scotland) and Lough Neagh (Northern Ireland).
Scott Taylor (2017): Comparison of health indices and parasitic fauna present in the two spawning populations of Scomber scombrus found in Scottish waters.
Jamie Bruce (2016): Analysing C. harengus from two sites to investigate, if parasites can be used as biological tags.
Remy Bailly (2016): Acute toxicity of an anti-parasitic veterinary drug on faucet snails (Bithynia tentaculata).
Shauna Baxter (2016): Using parasites found in Sprattus sprattus as biological indicators to compare environmental conditions of two sites located on the East and West Coast of Scotland: The North Sea and the North-East Atlantic.
George Race (2016): The individual and synergistic acute effects of zinc pyrithione and copper on the freshwater gastropod Bithynia tentaculata.
Delli Woodhead (2016): Parasite fauna of European perch, Perca fluviatilis in Lake Windermere, England and Lough Neagh, Northern Ireland.
Liam Scotcher (2015): Differences in the parasite fauna in Perca fluviatilis from two different locations and the possible use to determine ecosystem health.
Amy Ashe (2014): A comparison of the parasite fauna of common dab (Limanda limanda) from the Clyde Estuary and the North Sea.

- International placement students

Catiá Alves (2019 IAESTE) worked with myself and in collaboration with St Abbs Marine Station on different projects.
Jelena Knežević (2018 IAESTE) worked with myself and Dr Karen Diele on molecular identification of developmental stages of squid.
Anja Alvestadt (2016 IAESTE) worked with former and current PhD students on parasites of invertebrates and nematodes of salmon.
Reeson Wong (2015 IAESTE) worked with former PhD student on invertebrate parasite and with myself on deep sea parasites.
Bonnie Bailet (2012 Université Aix Marseille work placement) worked with myself on gregarines infecting polychaetes.
ResearcherID E-4695-2011