Ada’s experience on applying for an FSBI studentship

Hi, I’m Ada, a first-year PhD student funded by the FSBI Studentship program.

My path to a PhD place started in 2018 when I decided to apply for a research-focused masters  in freshwater and fish ecology in the UK.

The first decision was to contact Prof Anne Magurran, at the University of St Andrews, after reading some of her exciting work, and ask whether there would be any opportunities to do a project with her group.

Right after my first email, I received a very nice and positive response. With Anne’s help, I was accepted to do a project studying temporal diversity change in freshwater fish communities on the Caribbean island of Trinidad!

The great experience I received through this masters made me confident that I would enjoy embarking on a longer PhD project.

 

Take time to find out whether you enjoy the day-to-day aspects of your research

 

Firstly, find out if you enjoy the academic research lifestyle. There is no point doing a PhD if the way the academic world works frustrates you.

If you are unsure of what academia is like, then I would advise undertaking an internship or masters by research.

 

Start planning you PhD studentship proposal well in advance

 

Secondly, start writing your proposal as soon as you get a PhD idea that you are excited about. It takes longer than you think!

Start by writing a brief outline, making your objectives and hypotheses clear.

Then, take it to your supervisor or contact your desired future supervisor and pitch it to them! They can help you develop your proposal and give you the direction needed.

In my case, having great guidance from my supervisors and the help & encouragement of all the members of the research team was very important. I doubt I would have achieved anything had I not been in this environment.

Furthermore, attending conferences and symposiums is a great way to get your name and ideas out there to relevant and proactive supervisors, just like Joe Perkins did!

The FSBI PhD studentship is a wonderful opportunity!

 

Without the opportunity offered by the FSBI this project would have not been possible.

Fish are incredibly interesting and an essential resource for humans. It is fantastic that there is an organisation dedicated to research on all aspects of their biology.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Symposium

JFB Special Issue on Stable Isotope Analysis (SIA): A call for submissions


Stable isotope analysis (SIA) has emerged as a powerful and widely used tool for understanding the physiology, ecology, evolution, conservation, and management of fishes. Submission Deadline; 1st Feb 2022 Click here to submit an enquiry to the SIA JFB team


 

Research themes may include but are not limited to;

  • The dynamics of isotopic turnover and discrimination of both bulk tissues and individual compounds
  • Development and or/utilization of isoscapes to better understand movement and habitat use
  • Application of SIA to niche theory and to trace energy flo within and among ecosystems
  • Historical perspectives on temporal shifts in fish ecology resulting from climate change and other anthropogenic disturbances

The aim of this JFB special issues is to provide a global perspective, synthesizing recent advances in the application of SIA to fish biologyClick To Tweet

Submissions are invited across the breadth of formats published by the journal: Original Research Articles, Review Articles, Brief Communications and Opinions.

We discourage submissions of original research articles that are based on single species or those describing general trophic ecology unless the work makes a significant conceptual advancement, which should be clearly stated in a cover letter upon submission.

Submission Deadline; 1st Feb 2022

Have any questions? Fill in the form below

Email your enquiry to us here

FSBI and IFM Collaboration Announcement

FSBI and IFM


A new collaboration to foster integration of science and policy across the fish and fisheries communities


What We Plan to Do (Summary)

  • Joint Membership Option

A key objective for both societies is to promote dual involvement to improve the connectivity between our members by offering a dual membership package.

  • Increase Our Social Networking Associations

This aims to improve the signposting of opportunities available to members and greatly improve the awareness of grants and useful training courses to strengthen links between science and practice for all members.

  • Collaborate on Mutual Advertisement and Development of Taining Events/ Workshops

We want to enhance the quality of our future workshops and events by having IFM as the practical experts in applying current academic research to real-world applications. Such as; How to carry out quantitative stock assessments (IFM lead) with new genetic techniques (FSBI lead).

This will provide highly valuable material that will significantly improve the experiences, collaborations and skills gained for all attending members.

  • Support Policies of Mutual Interest to Both Societies

This aims to increase the impact of international statements made by the societies on issues such as; climate change, marine fisheries, over-fishing, invasive species, environmental impacts, habitat and biodiversity loss.

 

 

Read the in-depth breakdown of the new collaboration below

Alternative link to the PDF! 

PhD Studentships: Ada F. Eslava

PhD Student Ada Eslava (2020-2023)

(Supervisor(s): Anne Magurran (University of St Andrews), Amy Deacon (University of the West Indies, St. Augustine) and Indar Ramnarine (University of the West Indies, St. Augustine))

Biodiversity Change in Fish Communities: Integrating Taxonomic, Phylogenetic and Functional Diversity

 

Freshwater fish are among the most vulnerable organisms on the planet due to the ecological impacts of the multiple anthropogenic pressures that modify freshwater habitats. Despite the concern over the current state of the world’s freshwater fish faunas, little is known about how multiple facets of their diversity are changing over time.

In the tropics, the situation is particularly unclear because, historically, fewer temporal community data have been collected than in temperate locations. The tropical  island of Trinidad in the Caribbean is an exception, as stream fish communities there have been monitored at different time points during the last half-century.

In my project, I will ask two main questions. First, how has the regional freshwater fish diversity in Trinidad changed since the 1950s? Second, are the spatio-temporal patterns found in this tropical island observed in other locations of the world?

In order to answer my first question, I will extend time-series surveys by re-visiting fieldwork sites throughout the geography of Trinidad and use the records from the past to establish comparisons. To tackle the second, I will use open-access, temporal data of freshwater fish communities available in repositories such as BioTIME (http://biotime.st-andrews.ac.uk/).

Since biodiversity is a multi-faceted concept, I will adopt a multi-dimensional  approach in my analyses. First, I will quantify two biodiversity components: the local diversity of communities and compositional change relative to a temporal baseline (also named alpha and temporal beta diversity). Second, I will use recently developed methodologies that integrate the information contained in species traits and phylogenies to measure the functional and phylogenetic dimensions of diversity alongside their taxonomic counterpart.

I’ll carry out this research at the University of St Andrews and the fieldwork at the University of the West Indies, Trinidad.

 

The FSBI has Joined a Worldwide Rallying Call for Urgent Action on Human-Caused Climate Change

A worldwide statement from 110 societies calls upon urgent action on climate change 

View the Full Satement Here >>


 

The World Climate Statement

Below is a condensed version of the statement from above, drafted by the AFS, that outlines the challenges presented by climate change, the science based evidence for human-caused climate change and the needed responses. 

 

The Challenges

1.Increased atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases from fossil fuels and land use changes are driving current climate change.

2. Impacts already occurring range from increased frequency, intensification, and severity of; meteorlogical events, hydrological disasters; ocean acidification and deoxygenation. These changes are currently causing an unprecedented ecological backlash on our environment at a global scale.

 

These challenges are precursors of more damage to fisheries, biodiversity, and human society at large.
Delaying action to stop underlying causes of climate change will have economic, environmental, and societal consequences.

 

Changes, Reductions and Loss;  Marine Environments

In the marine environment shifts in species composition, behaviour, abundance, and biomass production is an increasing trend. For instance lobster, cod, mackerel, coral reef fishes and other species important to fisheries are moving poleward to deeper waters or declining.

In addition coastal ecosystems are being transformed, degraded, or lost, either largely or in part due to carbon emissions causing global ocean acidification. Not only does the affect primary production, from coral reefs to kelp forests, but is also tied to the survival of organisms especially shellfish.

Furthermore climate change is interacting with other stressors such as excess nutrient input, overharvesting, and novel species interactions to further suppress marine ecosystems.

Freshwater Environments

Freshwater ecosystems cover less than 1% of the planet’s surface but support one-third of vertebrates, 10% of all species and is more vulnerable to terrestrial changes with less capability to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

Abiotic changes can alter species abundance, predator–prey dynamics, expansion of invasive species, growth, recruitment of species, and novel species interactions. Leading to declines in the number and diversity of freshwater aquatic organisms.

This will impact recreational and commercial fish harvest because of the increased frequency and severity of droughts and floods, damaging the quality of freshwater.

The prominent influence of climate change on these hydrological and meteorological events combined with lower adaptation capability often results in; poor recruitment, inability to access habitats, increased algal blooms from runoff, reducing water quality and re-emergence of diseases. More worryingly, these diverse and small-scale changes combine to create multiple, cumulatively stressful challenges to aquatic species.

 

Climate Change Puts Food Security, Public Health and Ecosystem Services at Risk

 

All life forms need clean and sufficient water.

 

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, fish accounts for 17% of animal protein consumed globally. Furthermore, fishing and aquaculture directly employ almost 60 million people, and global trade in fish products has reached US$152 billion per year, with 54% originating in developing countries.

Furthermore, the warming of waters elevates bioaccumulation of heavy metals increasing the prevalence of waterborne pathogens affecting both human and animal health.

Overall fisheries catch is projected to decline related to increasing declines in water quality and aquatic science shows need for immediate climate action primary production as a result of climate change, with corresponding effects on food security.

It will also impact many businesses that are dependent on local ecosystems for; sustainable diving, snorkelling, angling, marine mammal and bird watching, and other recreational activities.

Climate change impacts on aquatic ecosystems are affecting incomes, food security, key cultural dimensions, and livelihoods of resource-dependent communities.Click To Tweet

All of Society Must Take Rapid Action to Halt Human-Caused Climate Change

Rapid action to curb release of greenhouse gas emissions and to remove and store CO2 from the atmosphere is needed to ensure the prevention of calamitous consequences of human-caused climate change.

Global and national targets are necessary to protect and restore carbon dense ecosystems and reduce the impacts of climate change.

Governments, industry, academia, and sectors of society must prioritize actions in a concerted way to halt human-caused climate change.

A rapid transition towards green energy sources, accomplished by all governments by immediately acting on the advice of specialists.

To better understand other environmental stressors that act synergistically with climate change we must provide resources for mapping and research. This will arm natural resources agencies with the tools to mitigate these impacts and plan for changes in aquatic ecosystems.

Movement to curtail human-caused climate change can result in advanced, novel technologies; strong economies; healthier aquatic ecosystems; greater food security; and human well-being.

 

 

How the 2019 symposium led to my PhD place

My name is Joseph Perkins and I am a student FSBI member finishing my masters by research degree at the University of Salford.

In the summer of 2018, I was fortunate enough to get accepted to deliver a speed talk at the FSBI symposium in Hull.

The symposium was focused on advances in eDNA-based approaches to fish ecology and management. The conference was fantastically orchestrated, the talks were incredibly delivered, and the social events provided the chance to meet wonderful scientists, in which their work I have been reading and admiring throughout my studies.

“If I did not join the FSBI or apply for this conference, this opportunity may not have presented itself.”

After I nervously delivered by presentation, I approached a PhD student from James Cook University whose presentation was incredibly inspiring. Here we spoke about the amazing research she had done, along with other research at JCU, this then led to the projects they had on offer. That very evening, I got onto my laptop and found an exciting PhD opportunity at JCU.

Now a few months down the line, I have been offered and now accepted the PhD position. I have obtained a scholarship and I am now in the final stages of completing my visa, before starting the PhD in July at JCU in Townsville, Australia.

Push yourself and your research, no matter how nervous you are!Click To Tweet

As a master’s student, my advice would be to push yourself and your research, no matter how nervous you are.

With this, you need amazing organisations such as FSBI to give students, as well as established scientists the opportunity to showcase what they have achieved, so they too, can progress and get such wonderful opportunities like I have.