Friday, December 04, 2009

[Monaco] Project for a MSc/ MRes student on Coral and Anemone Physiology at Monaco Scientific Centre

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Project for a MSc/ MRes student on coral and anemone physiology at the Monaco Scientific Centre.

We are seeking a motivated graduate student to conduct a research project on the influence of light on intracellular pH in symbiotic cnidarian cells. The project fits into a wider programme of research conducted at the Monaco Scientific Centre that concerns the physiology of tropical and temperate corals in the context of global environmental change, particularly ocean acidification. The student will be joint supervised by Dr Sylvie Tambutte (Team Leader of the Physiology and Biochemistry Group) and Dr Alexander Venn.

The proposed project will provide the graduate student with the opportunity to acquire skills in cell biology, with an emphasis on the application of physiology to environmental issues. The applicant will need to be already enrolled in a masters programme at another institution, but the proposed project may fill part or all of a student`s requirement for research experience. The student will preferably have some laboratory experience with a background in physiology or cell and molecular biology. Duration of the project is flexible with a maximum of 6 months, with a flexible start date from January 2010. All bench fees/ laboratory costs are covered by CSM and a bursary of 300 euros per month is available.

The Monaco Scientific Centre (`Centre Scientifique de Monaco` or `CSM`) is a world leader in coral physiology, particularly in the areas of biomineralization and symbiosis. Although primarily a French speaking laboratory, CSM provides an international research environment, regularly hosting researchers from locations such the US, Australia and Japan (thus English is widely spoken). CSM is currently housed in the Monaco Oceanographic Museum and funded by the Government of HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco.

Short project synopsis:
The cnidarian-dinoflage llate symbiosis underpins coral reef ecosystems. The ecological importance of corals and their vulnerability to environmental change has led to growing interest in cnidarian physiology (see Weis and Allemand 2009 What determines coral health? Science, 329, 1153-1155). We have recently developed an approach to measure intracellular pH in corals and symbiotic anemones, a fundamental parameter that influences most aspects of cell physiology (Venn et al. 2009 Imaging intracellular pH in a reef coral and symbiotic anemone. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA. 106 (39) 16574-16579). The purpose of the proposed project is to build on our preliminary data and investigate how intracellular pH in host cnidarian cells is modified by the photosynthesis of intracellular algae under different environmental conditions. The project will use the symbiotic anemone Anemonia viridis as a model.

The student may have the opportunity to apply for a fully funded Ph.D. on this topic at CSM starting in October 2010.

Interested candidates should send a CV to Sylvie Tambutte and Alexander

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