Marine Biology graduate wins internship

Proboscis ("spiny head") of marine strain Pomphorhynchus laevis taken using ESEM in Institute of Petroleum Engineering, courtesy of Jim Buckman. Magnification = 283x

Shanna Paterson, one of this year's BSc Applied Marine Biology graduates, has won a prestigious Internship from the Fisheries Society of the British Isles (FSBI) to study a parasitic disease of estuarine fish in Dr Alastair Lyndon's lab in the School of Life Sciences.

Her work focuses on the marine strain of the spiny-headed worm Pomphorhynchus laevis, also known as the "Orange Peril", which is thought to be responsible for reports of infection in sea trout on the west coast. Previously, only two published reports of the marine strain have been made from Scotland, although Dr Lyndon has built evidence for its wider occurrence, including records from the Forth, collected by Shanna during her undergraduate project.

Confirmation of the identity of the parasite in trout is important for the aquaculture industry, as the freshwater strain prevalent in England is considered a Category 2 pathogen which could have implications for fish transport if it invaded Scottish waters. The marine strain, on the other hand, is not found in fresh water, and would be unlikely to pose any threat to marine aquaculture, as it is confined to low salinity conditions.

This is the second year in succession that an Applied Marine Biology student has held one of these awards in Dr Lyndon's lab.