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Re: summer undergrad research in Dublin '05 -- deadline 29 May

Please don't ask me about this; I'm just a conduit... -- MPR

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From: Julia Sigwart <ureka@ucd.ie>
Subject: summer undergrad research in Dublin '05  -- deadline 29 May
To: gl-pal@bristol.ac.uk, mike.benton@bristol.ac.uk, vrtpaleo@usc.edu,
   PaleoNet@nhm.ac.uk, N.MacLeod@nhm.ac.uk, dinosaur@usc.edu, gsvstpul@tcd.ie
Cc: ian.somerville@ucd.ie, gareth.dyke@ucd.ie

Apologies for any cross-postings. Please circulate this notice widely, 
and note the fast-approaching deadline!! This is the first year of a 
new annual summer school in Dublin for international students.

Collections-based Biology in Dubin (CoBiD) provides an exciting 
research environment, with experience both in high quality laboratories 
in the science departments in University College Dublin, and important 
international research centre in the National Musuem of Ireland 
(Natural History) collections in Dublin city centre. Diverse research 
projects are offered, with topics ranging from systematic biology? 
including traditional and molecular techniques? to ecology and 
population genetics. Students will work side-by-side with curators and 
senior scientists and will be involved in all aspects of 
collections-based research including collection and curation of 
specimens, experiments and analysis, participation in field 
expeditions, and dissemination of scientific results through oral 
presentation and publication.

The CoBiD summer school programme is funded by Science Foundation 

Particularly of interest may be the available palaeontological projects 
(see below).

Term dates: July 4th to September 5th 2005

*       completion of the third (junior) year of an undergraduate biosciences 
*       proficiency in English (written and spoken) 
*       willingness to work hard, and ability to work independently 
*       strong interest in the project of choice 
*       career goals in organismal biology 

Your application must include a total of three documents recieved as 
e-mail attachments in MS-Word format.
Two documents (CV and letter of interest) in an email recieved from the 
applicant, and a seperate letter of recommendation in an e-mail 
recieved directly from your reference.

All materials must be recieved by: Sunday 29 May

Research Projects
feather histology of galliforms  |  evolution of fossil crocodiles  |  
mayflies and climate change  |  evolution of cation-independent 
receptors  |  carboniferous coral "reefs"  |  evolution in mammalian 
sensory perception  |  resource partitioning in inshore fish  |  
distribution and metapopulation structure of cockles

For more information, including project descriptions see 

or e-mail 

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Anatomy and systematics of the bizarre long-snouted fossil crocodile 

Mentor: Dr. Gareth Dyke 

Steneosaurus is one of the largest crocodiles that ever lived?up to 15 
metres in length. Fossils of this long-snouted fish eater are known 
from all over the world, but some of the best preserved specimens come 
from Jurassic (150 million years old) rocks in the UK. Historically, 
the Natural History Division of the National Museum of Ireland received 
collections of rocks and fossils from all over the former British 
Empire and has in its collection excellent representative fossils of 
Steneosaurus. Because the anatomy and evolutionary relationships of 
this ancient sea-going predator are uncertain, the aim of this student 
project will be to describe some of the skulls held in the Dublin 
collection in collaboration with a post-graduate student in Dyke's 
group at UCD. We will clean, re-prepare and describe this material by 
use of state-of-the-art photography, and CT-scan Steneosaurus's 
braincase to provide new information about internal cranial anatomy. 
New data gained from these specimens will be combined into ongoing work 
on the systematics and anatomy of crocodiles and other fossil reptiles 
being conducted in Dublin.

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Coral "reefs" in the Carboniferous of Co. Carlow: 
bioconstructions and palaeoecological associations involving rugose 

Mentor: Dr. Ian Somerville 

Rugose corals are an extinct group of skeletonized invertebrates 
confined to the Palaeozoic Era. Unlike modern corals, which have the 
ability to build wave-resistant frameworks, the rugosans never quite 
achieved this role. However, in the Carboniferous of Ireland, there are 
examples of fossil constructions which mimic reefs on a much smaller 
scale. These patch reefs (biostromes) contain a diverse assemblage of 
solitary and colonial corals which, like their modern counterparts, 
would have thrived in warm shallow water tropical seas. The coral reefs 
today, as in the past, form highly complex ecosystems hosting a diverse 
biota, which are very sensitive to global changes in climate and 
sea-level. By studying the morphology of the coral taxa (systematic 
palaeontology) we can determine the species diversity and abundance of 
the biostromes. In addition, by analyzing the in situ fossil corals we 
can ascertain the 3-D configuration of the coral colonies, and their 
relationships with other skeletal organisms. This will enable us to 
reconstruct the ecological associations of the living communities and 
the host seabed sediment back in the Carboniferous.
The aim of this research project will be to characterize the coral 
species represented in the biostromes and determine their distribution. 
You will add data to an existing database and help compile a more 
comprehensive framework for rigorous analysis in ecological 
reconstructions. You will access an important departmental research 
collection as well as material held in the National Museum of Ireland, 
and have opportunities to collect material from field sites. You will 
gain transferable research and communication skills and use 
state-of-the-art microscopy facilities in the UCD Department of 
Geology. Study of corals and coral reefs is topical and interesting to 
a wide audience, scientist and lay person alike. Work in UCD on rugose 
coral ecology and biostratigraphy, in collaboration with co-workers in 
Spain, is one of the few team projects in Europe undertaking such 
investigations, and this study will provide new and exciting research 
directions in coral palaeontology and palaeoecology.

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Collections-based Biology in Dublin
The UREKA Summer Research programme is 
funded by Science Foundation Ireland
(w) http://www.ucd.ie/ureka/
(e) ureka@ucd.ie
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