Understanding the distribution and seasonal dynamics of Azadinium in Scottish waters using qPCR
My PhD project involves testing and applying a molecular method to detect toxic-producing microalgae on the Scottish west coast, particularly in shellfish producing areas. Some species of phytoplankton produce potent biotoxins, which become concentrated within shellfish flesh as the molluscs filter feed.
I am particularly interested in a single species, Azadinium spinosum, which was only described in 2009. The species is known to produce azaspiracids (AZA) which causes Azaspiracid Shellfish Poisoning in humans. There is a risk of AZA toxicity in Scottish shellfish in the future, therefore monitoring techniques must be improved to protect both consumer health and the Scottish seafood industry.
I have conducted the first environmental survey for A. spinosum in Scotland and have worked with cells in the laboratory to understand their growth, and toxin production, under typical Scottish conditions. My thesis will provide significant gains to knowledge about the use of molecular probes in the field and the biogeography/ ecology of this species.
Davidson, K., Bresnan, E., 2009. Shellfish toxicity in UK waters: a threat to human health? Environ. Heal. 8 Suppl 1, S12. doi:10.1186/1476-069X-8-S1-S12
Hess, P., Twiner, M.J., Kilcoyne, J., Sosa, S., 2015. Azaspiracid Toxins: Toxicological Profile, in: Gopalakrishnakone, P., Haddad, V., Kem, W.R., Tubaro, A., Kim, E. (Eds.), Marine and Freshwater Toxins. Springer, pp. 1–19. doi:10.1007/978-94-007-6650-1_20-1
Tillmann, U., Elbrächter, M., Krock, B., John, U., Cembella, A., 2009. Azadinium spinosum gen. et sp. nov. (Dinophyceae) identified as a primary producer of azaspiracid toxins. Eur. J. Phycol. 44, 63–79. doi:10.1080/09670260802578534
Toebe, K., Joshi, a. R., Messtorff, P., Tillmann, U., Cembella, a., John, U., 2012. Molecular discrimination of taxa within the dinoflagellate genus Azadinium, the source of azaspiracid toxins. J. Plankton Res. 35, 225–230. doi:10.1093/plankt/fbs077
Professor Keith Davidson (SAMS)
Dr David Green (SAMS)
Dr Eileen Bresnan (Marine Scotland Science)
Dr Jean-Pierre Lacaze (Marine Scotland Science)
Scottish Association for Marine Science
Natural Environment Research Council
Foods Standards Scotland
Marine Scotland Science
University of Aberdeen
Paterson, R.F., McNeill, S., Mitchell, E., Adams, T., Swan, S.C., Clarke, D., Miller, P.I., Bresnan, E., Davidson, K., 2017. Environmental control of harmful dinoflagellates and diatoms in a fjordic system. Harmful Algae 69, 1–17. doi:10.1016/j.hal.2017.09.002
Moschonas, G., Gowen, R.J., Paterson, R.F., Mitchell, E., Stewart, B.M., McNeill, S., Glibert, P. M., Davidson, K. (2017) Nitrogen dynamics and phytoplankton community structure: the role of organic nutrients. Biogeochemistry. doi:10.1007/s10533-017-0351-8
Paterson, R. F., Davidson, K., Green, D., Bresnan, E., Lacaze, J. P. Too small to see: Using qPCR to monitor azaspiracid producer Azadinium spinosum in Scottish waters. Talk presented at: 17th International Conference on Harmful Algae; 2016 9-15th October; CentroSul Convention Centre, Florianópolis, Brazil.
Swan, S. C., Turner, A., Paterson, R. F., Bresnan, E., Davidson, K. An unusual bloom of Dinophysis acuta in Scottish coastal waters linked to a change in diarrhetic shellfish toxin profiles. Talk presented at: 17th International Conference on Harmful Algae; 2016 9-15th October; CentroSul Convention Centre, Florianópolis, Brazil.
Paterson, R. F., Davidson, K., Green, G., Bresnan, E., Lacaze, J. P. Keeping Shellfish Safe: New technologies to help protect consumers of culturing shellfish from toxic algae (Azadinium spinosum and azaspiracids) in Scottish waters. Talk presented at: Challenger Society Conference, 2016 5-8th September; Liverpool University.
Paterson, R. F., Davidson, K., Green, G., Bresnan, E., Lacaze, J. P. Working towards cell monitoring of toxic dinoflagellate Azadinium spinosum in Scottish coastal regions. Talk presented at: British Phycological Society; 2016 22-24th June, Bournemouth University.
Paterson, R. F., Green, D., Davidson, K., Tillmann, U. Unexplained cyst-like cells in laboratory cultures of Azadinium spinosum. Poster presented at: 16th International Conference on Harmful Algae; 2014 27th-31st October; Wellington, New Zealand.
Demonstrating on phytoplankton-based field sampling and identification courses for undergraduates.
Overseeing OHS work experience students on RV Seòl Mara.
Carried out a multibeam survey of bathymetry in Loch Etive
Coring and sediment grabs of methane-seeps (pockmarks) in Loch Etive
Assisting a year of phytoplankton and nutrient sampling in Loch Creran and Lynn of Lorne aboard RV Seòl Mara
Carried out a year of phytoplankton sampling in Loch Creran for my PhD project
Inshore cruise-work on the Shelleye project to (shelleye.org/) ground-truth harmful algal bloom monitoring satellites
Public engagement experience
Development of a bespoke designer scarf collection and science outreach package with Crubag textile designs, inspired by harmful algal blooms. Funded by the International Society for the Study of Harmful Algae.
International Society for the Study of Harmful Algae
Royal Society of Biology (AMRSB)
British Phycological Society
Professional training courses
Sea Survival Training
RYA Powerboat Levels 1&2
RYA Young Sailor Courses Levels 1,2 & 3
Introduction to Ecosystem Modelling using Ecopath and Ecosim
Analysis of Multivariate Data from Ecology and Environmental Science using PRIMER
Explore Statistics with R
Making Your Research Matter – How to Influence Policymakers
2013 BSc (Hons) Marine Science - first class. University of the Highlands and Islands