The majority of marine biology lays beyond the naked eye. My research interests centre around understanding how marine microbes can elucidate our understanding of evolutionary histories and biogeochemical processes in marine systems. Throughout my undergraduate degree (BSc. Marine Biology, Plymouth University) I volunteered as a research student studying the cell and molecular biology of marine choanoflagellates – the closest unicellular relatives of the animals – to shed light on the evolutionary origins of animal multicellularity and synaptic signalling. I also became actively involved in science communication and public outreach, volunteering in museums and aquaria to disseminate marine research to a public audience – something I now hold central to my work and look forward to bringing into my PhD research.
Fungal parasites of marine diatoms – the biology and ecology of marine chytrids
Chytrids (Phylum Chytridiomycota) are zoosporic fungi, which include parasites of marine diatoms. Data from freshwater systems suggest that chytrid parasites can play key roles in the regulation of diatom blooms and biogeochemical cycling. However, relatively little is known about the role of chytrid-diatom parasites in marine systems. Metagenomic datasets have revealed a huge diversity of uncharacterised marine chytrid groups, yet their impact on marine systems is very poorly understood. This project aims to improve our understanding of the interactions between marine diatoms and their chytrid parasites through field observations and molecular characterisation of chytrid-diatom ecological interactions. In addition, the project will establish laboratory model systems to investigate the cell biology of the host-parasite system. The project will be based at the Marine Biological Association in Plymouth.
British Conference of Undergraduate Research (2017) – Oral presentation
International Congress of Protistology (2017) – Oral Presentation
Project Supervisor: Dr. Michael Cunliffe (MBA)