CoBiD-UREKA
Mentors & Research Projects


2010 - Research groups

Applications for 2010 are now closed. Students work with a specific research group or lab. Each lab may take up to two UREKA students. The participating labs are listed below.

Click on the titles for descriptions and research interests (below)

Lab 1 – BioControl
Mentor: Dr. Jan-Robert Baars

Lab 2 – Vertebrate palaeontology
Mentor: Dr Gareth Dyke

Lab 3 - Plant genomics
Mentors: Dr. Colin Kelleher (National Botanic Gardens) and Dr. Tommy Gallagher (UCD)

Lab 4 – Limnology
Mentor: Dr. Mary Kelly-Quinn

Lab 5 – Palaeobotany
Mentors: Dr. Jennifer McElwain, Dr Claire M. Belcher, Dr Matthew Haworth

Lab 6 - Epigenetics
Mentor: Dr. Kay Nolan

Lab 7 – Extreme environments
Mentor: Prof. Bruce Osborne

Lab 8 – Soil ecology
Mentor: Dr. Olaf Schmidt

Lab 9 – Invertebrate palaeontology
Mentor: Prof. Ian Somerville

Lab 10 – Bat phylogenetics
Mentor: Dr. Emma Teeling

Lab 11 – Ecological modelling
Mentor: Dr. Jon Yearsley


Past Projects

2009: Projects Offered

2008: Projects Offered

2007: Projects Offered

2006: Projects Offered

2005: Projects Offered

2005: Virtual Symposium



Lab 1 - Biocontrol

Mentor: Dr. Jan-Robert Baars

Research Interests:

  • The use of Classical Biological Control to manage plant and arthropod non-native species.
  • Insect-Plant interactions.
  • The ecology and management of non-native invasive species.
  • Interaction between invasive species and natural terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems.
  • Freshwater and general Entomology

Past projects:

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Lab 2 - Vertebrate palaeontology

Mentor: Dr. Gareth Dyke

Research Interests:

My research lab addresses the evolutionary history of birds and their dinosaurian relatives and encompasses phylogenetics, anatomy, functional morphology, palaeoecology, taphonomy, sedimentology and aerodynamics as well as the analysis and interpretation of large fossil-record datasets. My research prospectus is grounded in the fossil record - the most important dataset recording the history of life on Earth - but draws extensively on living animals.

Past projects:

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Lab 3 - Plant genomics

Mentors: Dr. Colin Kelleher (National Botanic Gardens) and Dr. Tommy Gallagher (UCD)

Research Interests:

  • Population genetics and genomics – particularly for woody species
  • Phylogeography and conservation of native tree species
  • Aquatic macrophytes
  • Conservation genetics of rare plants
  • Species of interest include: oak, poplar, willows, water crowfoots.

Past projects:

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Lab 4 - Limnology

Mentor: Dr. Mary Kelly-Quinn

Research Interests:

  • Freshwater Ecology - macroinvertebrate diversity, taxonomy (Ephemeroptera). Assessment of Anthropogenous Impacts on Aquatic Ecosystems and Biota. Application of Biological Indicators in Freshwater Assessments.
  • Hydrochemical Studies with Emphasis on Acidification and Eutrophication. Ecology of the Freshwater Crayfish, Austropotamobius pallipes (Lereboullet).
  • River Habitat Rehabilitation and Enhancement.

Past projects:

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Lab 5 - Palaeobotany

Mentors: Dr. Jennifer McElwain, Dr. Claire Belcher, Dr. Matthew Haworth

Research Interests:

McElwain's research group interfaces between geological and biological sciences and is mainly focused on exploring macroecological and evolutionary responses of plants to long term climatic and atmospheric change. I am particularly interested in understanding and documenting plant community responses in the plant fossil record to changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration. Intervals of past global change can serve as import analogs with which we can improve our predictions of how broad-scale ecological interactions and plant communities may respond to future carbon dioxide-induced global warming. I have been working extensively on documenting plant community responses across mass extinction boundaries in the fossil record, including the Triassic-Jurassic mass extinction event (200 million years ago) when over 50% of invertebrate fauna went extinct and the Cenomanian-Turonian oceanic anoxoic event, which was an interval of major climatic and atmospheric upheaval in the Cretaceous period around 90 million years ago. Much of my research has also focused on developing tools with which we can reconstruct past environmental changes, including the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide in ancient atmospheres and paleoelevation (the elevation of past land surfaces) using fossil plants.

Past projects:

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Lab 6 - Epigenetics

Mentor: Dr. Kay Nolan

Research Interests:

Past projects:

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Lab 7 - Extreme Environments

Mentor: Prof. Bruce Osborne

Research Interests:

Osborne's group is involved in a diverse range of plant and environmentally-related research, including symbioses and symbiotic interactions, encompassing work at cell, leaf , whole plant, canopy and ecosystem scales. Recent research has focussed on environmental constraints on biomass productivity and carbon sequestration in natural and agricultural ecosystems, including forests, as well as investigations on global climate change and mitigation options in croplands. Other work has been directed at the biology and ecology of invasive plant species, including the impact of climate change. My group has also had a long-standing interest in the biology of the Gunnera-Nostoc the only angiosperm-cyanobacterial nitrogen-fixing symbioses.

Past projects:

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Lab 8 - Soil Ecology

Mentor: Dr. Olaf Schmidt

Research Interests:

  • Biology and ecology of soil invertebrate animals, especially earthworms and slugs.
  • Carbon, nitrogen and sulphur cycling in terrestrial soil-plant-animal systems.
  • Stable isotope ratio techniques.

Past projects:

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Lab 9 - Invertebrate Palaeontology

Mentor: Prof. Ian Somerville

Research Interests:

  • Carboniferous palaeontology (corals, conodonts, algae and foraminifers) and biostratigraphy
  • Carbonate sedimentology in platforms and basins, reefs, mud mounds
  • Dolomites and fluid flow, tectonics and base-metal mineralisation of Irish Carboniferous basins
  • Carboniferous sedimentology and biostratigraphy of Morocco, SW Spain, northern England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland

Past projects:

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Lab 10 - Bat Phylogenetics

Mentor: Dr. Emma Teeling

Research Interests:

Past projects:

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Lab 11 - Ecological Modelling

Mentor: Dr. Jon Yearsley

Research Interests:

I have worked on life history theory (food intake, compensatory growth and sexual segregation), foraging ecology and spatial models of parthenogenesis. The recent main areas of research in my group are:
  • Estimating metapopulation demographic parameters (e.g. dispersal rates) from genetic data
  • Studying the effect of a metapopulation's structure (i.e.spatial extent and local population extinctions) upon the population genetics (e.g. allele fixation probability, genetic diversity)
  • Matrix population models (transient dynamics), which look at the short-term response of a population to changes in the environment.

Past project - 2009 [pdf]

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