Sonja Rueckert

Sonja Rueckert

Dr Sonja Rueckert

Associate Professor in Marine Biology/Parasitology

Biography

In 2012, I started as Senior Lecturer in Marine Biology at Edinburgh Napier University and in 2018 I was awarded the title of Associate Professor. I'm broadly interested in parasites and in particular in parasites of marine organisms including a whole range of invertebrates and fishes. My research approach involves traditional morphological and modern molecular techniques to understand the biodiversity, ecology and evolutionary history of parasitic organisms. Since I was a postdoc, a large part of my research focuses on the morphology and molecular phylogeny of gregarine apicomplexans and other protozoan parasites in marine invertebrates. At the moment I am starting to look into the utilization of gregarines as model organisms and also the role and impact of micro-eukaryotes in food webs.

- Teaching activities:

Module Leader for Life on Earth ENV07100 (since 2014), 1st year module with ~140 students
Module Leader for Practical Skills in Biodiversity and Ecology ENV08108 (since 2018), 2nd year module with ~70 students

Teaching on several modules including:
Fisheries Biology ENV10101
Symbiosis BMS08105
Marine Biology ENV09104
Population & Community Ecology ENV09103
Scientific Methods ENV11109

- Postgraduate supervision/co-supervision (ongoing)

Muhammad Ilyas (PhD candidate since 2019) Design a smart system for pathogen detection using deep learning in bathing waters. Edinburgh Napier University, UK. Co-supervision with A. Kerrouche (DoS) and A. Lawson

Matthew Dicker (MRes since 2019) The hidden links in trophic food webs: where do the parasites fit? Edinburgh Napier University, UK. Co-supervision with M. Huxham

Anna-Lotta Hiillos (PhD candidate since 2018) Microbiome-host interactions and developmental polymorphism. University of Jyväskylä, Finland. Co-supervision with E. Knott

Anna Osicka (MRes since 2016) Description of metazoan parasites of juvenile fish in Kenyan mangrove forests and investigation of various aspects of focal fish species ecology and life histories. Edinburgh Napier University, UK. Co-supervision with M. Huxham (DoS)

Caroline Wanjiru (PhD candidate since 2015) Exploring the fish community in a mangrove forest in Kenya utilizing different methods. Edinburgh Napier University, UK, based in Kenya. Co-supervision with M. Huxham (DoS)

Ian Martin (PhD candidate since 2013) Ecology, morphology and population structure of the mahseer, Tor putitora (Cyprinidae), in the Mahakali river, Western Nepal. Edinburgh Napier University, UK. Co-supervision with R. Briers (DoS)

- Postgraduate supervision/co-supervision (completed)

Alexander J. Kent (PhD completed in Oct 2018) Exploring the Causes of Red Vent Syndrome in wild Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) from Coastal Waters around Scotland. Edinburgh Napier University, UK. Co-supervision with R. Briers & K. Diele, ENU; C. Pert (External Supervisor, Marine Scotland Science, UK)

Jenny McLeish (PhD completed in Feb 2018) Non-native Bullhead in South-East Scotland: Molecular and morphological identification and parasite links with native fauna. Edinburgh Napier University, UK. Co-supervision with R. Briers

Natasha Nicholson (MSc complete in 2013) An investigation into the tolerance of Macrobiotus dispar and Hypsibius dujardini to biotic and xenobiotic heavy metals, and possible adaptive strategies to chemotoxic stress. Edinburgh Napier University, UK. Co-supervision with L. Gilpin (DoS)

- Undergraduate BSc project students

Niall Browne (2019): Investigating the parasite fauna of hatchery and wild Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) from the North East of Scotland, focusing on Anisakidae (Nematoda) larvae.
Micha-Lukas Gaub (2019): Diet composition, parasite infection, and health conditions of two juvenile fish from Vanga Mangrove Kenya.
Freya Gruber (2019): A bioassay determining the toxicity of e-liquid on the environment using Daphnia pulex.
James Kean (2018): Determining the toxicity of popular e-liquid flavours through acute exposer to freshwater species, Bithynia tentaculata.
Lauren Hart (2018): An exploration into the levels of parasitic infection in haddock from the North Sea and a comparison to the West Coast of Scotland.
Robyn Farquhar (2018): Parasite fauna present in Perca fluviatilis from Loch Ore, Fife and a comparison of the abundance of parasite species between hosts of different size classes.
Valeria Macchia (2018): Development of a conventional PCR and TaqMan quantitative PCR (qPCR) targeting a conservative region of lumpfish Ranavirus.
Emma Vincent-Cuaz (2017): A comparative study on the parasite fauna of Perca fluviatilis of Loch Ore (Scotland) and Lough Neagh (Northern Ireland).
Scott Taylor (2017): Comparison of health indices and parasitic fauna present in the two spawning populations of Scomber scombrus found in Scottish waters.
Jamie Bruce (2016): Analysing C. harengus from two sites to investigate, if parasites can be used as biological tags.
Remy Bailly (2016): Acute toxicity of an anti-parasitic veterinary drug on faucet snails (Bithynia tentaculata).
Shauna Baxter (2016): Using parasites found in Sprattus sprattus as biological indicators to compare environmental conditions of two sites located on the East and West Coast of Scotland: The North Sea and the North-East Atlantic.
George Race (2016): The individual and synergistic acute effects of zinc pyrithione and copper on the freshwater gastropod Bithynia tentaculata.
Delli Woodhead (2016): Parasite fauna of European perch, Perca fluviatilis in Lake Windermere, England and Lough Neagh, Northern Ireland.
Liam Scotcher (2015): Differences in the parasite fauna in Perca fluviatilis from two different locations and the possible use to determine ecosystem health.
Amy Ashe (2014): A comparison of the parasite fauna of common dab (Limanda limanda) from the Clyde Estuary and the North Sea.

- International placement students

Catiá Alves (2019 IAESTE) worked with myself and in collaboration with St Abbs Marine Station on different projects.
Jelena Knežević (2018 IAESTE) worked with myself and Dr Karen Diele on molecular identification of developmental stages of squid.
Anja Alvestadt (2016 IAESTE) worked with former and current PhD students on parasites of invertebrates and nematodes of salmon.
Reeson Wong (2015 IAESTE) worked with former PhD student on invertebrate parasite and with myself on deep sea parasites.
Bonnie Bailet (2012 Université Aix Marseille work placement) worked with myself on gregarines infecting polychaetes.

Events

Esteem

Advisory panels and expert committees or witness

  • International Society of Protistologists’ (ISOP) International Committee on Nomenclature, Taxonomy, and Systematics
  • UniEuk taxonomy expert for Apicomplexa

 

Conference Activity

  • Co-organizing the 22nd Meeting of the International Society of Evolutionary Protistology in Cyprus 2018. Chair of the Travel Award Committee
  • Co-organized two sessions (three days in total) for Protistology-UK under the umbrella of the 21st Microbiology Society Annual Meeting 3rd -6th April 2017, Edinburgh, UK
  • Session Chair: Co-chaired three sessions at the 21st Microbiology Society Annual Meeting 3rd -6th April 2017, Edinburgh, UK
  • Session Chair: Edinburgh Napier University, Faculty of Health, Life and Social Sciences Postgraduate Conference, 26th March 2016, Edinburgh, UK
  • Session Chair: 14th International Congress of Protistology (ICOP XIV), 28th July -2nd August 2013, Vancouver, Canada
  • Session Chair: Protist, 29th July-3d August 2012, Oslo, Norway

 

Editorial Activity

  • Associate Editor at the European Journal of Protistology
  • Editorial Board Member of the European Journal of Protistology

 

External Examining/Validations

  • External Examiner for Marine Biology Programme, University of Aberdeen

 

Grant Reviewer

  • NERC Reviewer for grant applications
  • MASTS Reviewer for multiple grant schemes (Visiting Fellow, Small Grants)
  • Czech Science Foundation Reviewer for grant application

 

Invited Speaker

  • Keynote speaker at the Annual Meeting of the German Society of Protozoology in Cologne, Germany
  • Invited Speaker at Charles University Prague Protistology Seminar, Czech Republic
  • Invited Speaker at the 21st Microbiology Society Annual Meeting, Edinburgh, UK
  • Invited Speaker at Universidad de Antofagasta Research Seminar, Chile
  • Oral Presentation at the 15th International Congress of Protistology (ICOP), Prague, Czech Republic
  • Invited Speaker at University of Cologne Biocentre Colloquium, Germany
  • Oral Presentation at the VII Argentine Congress of Parasitology, Argentina
  • Oral Presentation at the British Society for Protist Biology (BSPB) Spring Meeting, Huddersfield, UK
  • Poster Presentation at the MASTS ASM, Technology & Innovation Centre, Glasgow, UK
  • Poster Presentation at the 7th European Congress of Protistology (ECOP VII), Seville, Spain
  • Invited Speaker at the 2nd JAMBIO International Symposium 'Aquatic Ecosystems: Past, Present and Future', University of Tsukuba, Tokyo Campus Tokyo, Japan
  • Poster Presentation at Protist, joined meeting ISOP/ISEP, Banff, Canada
  • Oral Presentation at the 14th International Congress of Protistology (ICOP XIV), Vancouver, Canada
  • Invited Speaker at the Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre BIK-F Research Seminar, Frankfurt, Germany
  • Oral Presentation at Protist, Oslo, Norway
  • Poster Presentation at the MASTS ASM, Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh, UK
  • Oral Presentation at ECOP, VI European Congress of Protistology, Berlin, Germany
  • Oral Presentation 2 at ECOP, VI European Congress of Protistology, Berlin, Germany
  • Invited Speaker at University of Tsukuba Seminar series 'Advanced Marine Biology', Tsukuba, Japan
  • Oral Presentation at ISEP, XVIII Meeting of the International Society for Evolutionary Protistology, Kanazawa, Japan
  • Oral Presentation at ICOP, XIII International Congress of Protistology, Armação dos Búzios, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • Oral Presentation at the CPR Meeting, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
  • Poster Presentation at ICOP, XIII International Congress of Protistology, Armação dos Búzios, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • Invited Speaker at the Tree of Life (Protists) Workshop, CIFAR-Tula Foundation, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
  • Oral Presentation at Protist, joined meeting ISOP/ISEP XVII, Dalhousie University Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
  • Oral Presentation at the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) IMB General Program Meeting: Integrated Microbial Diversity, Lac Carling, Quebec, Canada
  • Invited Speaker at the Indonesian-German Bilateral Workshop on SPICE Phase I: Ecological and Social Aspects of Segara Anakan Cilacap, Purwokerto, Indonesia
  • Invited Speaker at the Science for the Protection of Indonesian Coastal Ecosystems (SPICE) Program Workshop: Focus on Cluster 2, Purwokerto, Indonesia
  • Oral Presentation at the SPICE/LOICZ/ATSEF/SEACORM (SLAS) Southeast Asia Coastal Governance and Management Forum: Science Meets Policy for Coastal Management and Capacity Building, Bali, Indonesia
  • Poster Presentation at the SPICE/LOICZ/ATSEF/SEACORM (SLAS) Southeast Asia Coastal Governance and Management Forum: Science Meets Policy for Coastal Management and Capacity Building, Bali, Indonesia
  • Oral Presentation at the XVII Ichthyoparasitologisches Symposium, Biologische Station Boiensdorf, Germany
  • Poster Presentation at the EASIZ Symposium & Workshop, Alfred-Wegener Institute, Bremerhaven, Germany

 

Membership of Professional Body

  • The Systematics Association
  • Microbiology Society
  • Protistology UK (P-UK) formerly known as British Society for Protist Biology (BSPB)
  • International Society for Evolutionary Protistology (ISEP)
  • International Society of Protistologists (ISOP)
  • German Society for Parasitology (DGP)

 

Public/Community Engagement

  • Public outreach event before 22nd Meeting of the International Society for Evolutionary Protistology in Cyprus
  • Native Scientists
  • Beaty Biodiversity Museum exhibition of parasite micrographs
  • Tree of Life web project

 

Research Degree External Examining

  • External Examiner for PhD candidate at the University of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland
  • External Examiner for PhD candidate at the University of Oslo, Norway.

 

Reviewing

  • Reviewer: Protist
  • Reviewer: Tropical Natural History
  • Icelandic Research Fund Reviewer for grant application
  • Reviewer: Biologia
  • Reviewer: EAFP Bulletin
  • Reviewer: Zootaxa
  • Reviewer: Acta Protozoologica
  • Reviewer: Estuaries and Coasts
  • Reviewer for book proposal, BRILL, Leiden
  • Reviewer: Folia Parasitologica
  • Reviewer: Marine Biodiversity
  • Reviewer: Oikos
  • Reviewer: African Journal of Biotechnology
  • Reviewer: Evolutionary Bioinformatics
  • Reviewer: Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology
  • Reviewer: Revista de Biologica Tropical
  • Reviewer: Science of the Total Environment
  • Reviewer: Journal of Parasitology
  • Reviewer: Polar Biology
  • Reviewer: Turkish Journal of Zoology
  • Reviewer: Diseases of Aquatic Organisms
  • Reviewer: European Journal of Protistology
  • Reviewer: International Journal of Fisheries and Aquaculture
  • Reviewer: Acta Parasitologica
  • Reviewer: Aquaculture Research

 

Date


45 results

Increasing intensities of Anisakis simplex third-stage larvae (L3) in Atlantic salmon of coastal waters of Scotland

Journal Article
Kent, A. J., Pert, C. C., Briers, R. A., Diele, K., & Rueckert, S. (2020)
Increasing intensities of Anisakis simplex third-stage larvae (L3) in Atlantic salmon of coastal waters of Scotland. Parasites & vectors, 13, https://doi.org/10.1186/s13071-020-3942-5
Background: Red Vent Syndrome (RVS), a haemorrhagic inflammation of the vent region in Atlantic salmon, is associated with high abundance of Anisakis simplex (s.s.) third-stag...

First genetic evidence that invasive bullhead (Cottus L. 1758) in Scotland is of English origin and the difficulty of resolving the European Cottus species taxonomy

Journal Article
McLeish, J., Briers, R., Dodd, J., & Rueckert, S. (2020)
First genetic evidence that invasive bullhead (Cottus L. 1758) in Scotland is of English origin and the difficulty of resolving the European Cottus species taxonomy. Journal of Fish Biology, 96(3), 617-630. https://doi.org/10.1111/jfb.14247
The European bullhead (Cottus gobio) is widely distributed across Europe and within the UK is native to England and Wales, where it is protected under the Habitats Directive. ...

Evolution: Parallel Paths to Parasitism in the Apicomplexa

Journal Article
Rueckert, S., Pipaliya, S. V., & Dacks, J. B. (2019)
Evolution: Parallel Paths to Parasitism in the Apicomplexa. Current Biology, 29(17), 836-839. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2019.07.047
A new study presents the first comprehensive genome and transcriptome data for an enigmatic group of apicomplexan parasites, the gregarines. The findings provide insights into...

The symbiotic spectrum: where do the gregarines fit?

Journal Article
Rueckert, S., Betts, E. L., & Tsaousis, A. D. (2019)
The symbiotic spectrum: where do the gregarines fit?. Trends in Parasitology, 35(9), 687-694. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pt.2019.06.013
Gregarine apicomplexans are closely related to parasites such as Plasmodium, Toxoplasma, and Cryptosporidium, which are causing severe health and economic burdens. Colonizing ...

Pathogen detection in bathing waters using microfluidic technology, image processing and deep learning

Presentation / Conference
Kerrouche, A., Muhammad, I., Rueckert, S., & Lawson, A. (2019, June)
Pathogen detection in bathing waters using microfluidic technology, image processing and deep learning. Poster presented at Research Conference, Edinburgh Napier University
Monitoring the quality of recreational waters such as beaches and rivers is becoming a global concern to protect human health (e.g. the EU Bathing Water Directive (BWD) in Eur...

Morphology and molecular systematic of marine gregarines (Apicomplexa) from Southwestern Atlantic spionid polychaetes

Journal Article
Rueckert, S., Glasinovich, N., Diez, M., Cremonte, F., & Vázquez, N. (2018)
Morphology and molecular systematic of marine gregarines (Apicomplexa) from Southwestern Atlantic spionid polychaetes. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology, 159, 49-60. doi:10.1016/j.jip.2018.10.010
Gregarines are a common group of parasites that infect the intestines of marine invertebrates, and particularly polychaetes. Here, we describe for the first time four gregarin...

Revisions to the Classification, Nomenclature, and Diversity of Eukaryotes

Journal Article
Adl, S. M., Bass, D., Lane, C. E., Lukeš, J., Schoch, C. L., Smirnov, A., …Zhang, Q. (2019)
Revisions to the Classification, Nomenclature, and Diversity of Eukaryotes. Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology, 66(1), 4-119. https://doi.org/10.1111/jeu.12691
This revision of the classification of eukaryotes follows that of Adl et al., 2012 [J. Euk. Microbiol. 59(5)] and retains an emphasis on protists. Changes since have improved ...

Consistent patterns of high alpha and low beta diversity in tropical parasitic and free-living protists

Journal Article
Lentendu, G., Mahé, F., Bass, D., Rueckert, S., Stoeck, T., & Dunthorn, M. (2018)
Consistent patterns of high alpha and low beta diversity in tropical parasitic and free-living protists. Molecular Ecology, 27(13), 2846-2857. https://doi.org/10.1111/mec.14731
Tropical animals and plants are known to have high alpha diversity within forests, but low beta diversity between forests. By contrast, it is unknown if microbes inhabiting th...

Archigregarines of the English Channel revisited: New molecular data on Selenidium species including early described and new species and the uncertainties of phylogenetic relationships

Journal Article
Rueckert, S., & Horák, A. (2017)
Archigregarines of the English Channel revisited: New molecular data on Selenidium species including early described and new species and the uncertainties of phylogenetic relationships. PLOS ONE, 12(11), https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0187430
Background Gregarines represent an important transition step from free-living predatory (colpodellids s.l.) and/or photosynthetic (Chromera and Vitrella) apicomplexan lineage...

Report of the 2017 Protistology-UK Spring Meeting

Journal Article
Rueckert, S., & Tsaousis, A. D. (2017)
Report of the 2017 Protistology-UK Spring Meeting. European Journal of Protistology, 61(Pt.A), 307-310. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejop.2017.10.003
The Protistology-UK 2017 spring meeting was organised as part of the 2017 Annual Meeting of the Microbiology Society in Edinburgh between the 3rd to the 6th of April 2017. Th...

Current Post Grad projects

Previous Post Grad projects

Non-Napier PhD or MSc by Research supervisions

  • PhD co-supervision at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland