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M.Sc. Position to Study Aquatic Chemosensory Biology

Location: St. Francis Xavier University (StFX)

Date Posted: 27-May-22

M.Sc. Position to Study Aquatic Chemosensory Biology

Interested in building expertise at more than one level of inquiry in biology, from field studies, through behavioural experiments, neurophysiology and microscopy, to gene expression and bioinformatics?

Dr. Russell Wyeth in the Biology Department at St. Francis Xavier University (StFX) is accepting applications for an MSc student position to start January 1, 2023 (or earlier).

Our research is focused on understanding how aquatic animals use odours and other cues during navigation.  We work primarily with marine slugs and freshwater snails, both of which rely heavily on olfaction to guide movement through their habitats.  Potential thesis projects range across a number of different levels of organization, including:

  • field work with SCUBA studying how nudibranchs respond to odour and flow cues while navigating in their natural habitat
  • behavioural experiments in the laboratory exploring the navigation strategies sea slugs and snails use to find odour sources
  • neuroanatomical research studying the structure of the gastropod nervous system, focusing particularly on sensory cells that detect odours and other cues
  • neuroethological experiments to establish how the nervous system integrates olfactory and other sensory information to produce adaptive movements towards attractive odours and away from aversive odours exploring gene expression patterns in sense organs and sensory neurons

Research topics will be chosen based on student interest and expertise.  Projects may involve work at either Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre in British Columbia or Friday Harbor Laboratories in Washington State, USA.  Some projects could include international collaborations with other labs working on related topics in the USA, Germany or Australia.

For further information or to apply, contact Dr. Russell Wyeth: rwyeth@stfx.ca

Applications should include a statement regarding your interest in this position, and PDF versions of your resume (or curriculum vitae), unofficial transcript(s), and a writing sample.

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