Research in Biological Science

Research in the School is organised into three major interdisciplinary centres: the Scottish Oceans Institute (SOI), Biomedical Sciences Research Complex (BSRC) and Centre for Biological Diversity (CBD). Together these centres encompass the full spectrum of research in biological sciences, spanning investigations on the properties and behaviour of individual molecules to planetary environmental dynamics.

Research Impact

In REF2014 Biological Sciences in
St Andrews was rated top in Scotland and second across the UK.
Biomedical Sciences Research Complex
World class innovative multi-disciplinary research focussed on the broad theme of infection and immunity
Centre for Biological Diversity

Advancing science that underpins the diversity of life
Scottish Oceans Institute

A key focus for research excellence in marine-related science



04 Mar 2015
Eavesdropping on whales: working on the challenges of estimating cetacean abundance using passive acoustic data - Danielle Harris - CREEM

Danielle Harris (CREEM)
Seminar Eoom, The Observatory: 2:00 PM, 04 Mar 2015

“Eavesdropping on whales: working on the challenges of estimating cetacean abundance using passive acoustic data”


Acoustic data are increasingly being used to infer cetacean abundance or density.  Recordings of the vocalisations of many species are being collected from both dedicated and opportunistic surveys.  In some circumstances, standard abundance estimation methods can be used to analyse the acoustic data.  However, abundance estimation methods may need to be adapted or novel methods created, especially for use with opportunistic datasets.  In this seminar, I aim to (a) give a general overview of abundance estimation using passive acoustic data and (b) highlight some of the current research areas by focusing on two specific examples.  The first example involves adapting distance sampling methodology to deal with marine mammals at depth.  The motivation for this work came from two sources: monitoring deep diving beaked whales using acoustic equipment towed by ships, and a recently completed project that investigated the potential to monitor fin whales using Ocean Bottom Seismometers.  The second example involves the development of an abundance estimation approach where only the direction to a calling animal is known.  This work is part of a new project that is utilising the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty network of instruments (primarily designed to detect nuclear weapons testing) to monitor blue and fin whales. 


RefID: 1522 click to edit (admin only)

05 Mar 2015
SOI seminar: Using data-driven models to explore sea louse infestations on wild and farmed salmon

Prof Crawford Revie and Dr Maya Groner (University of Prince Edward Island, Canada)
Gatty Lecture Theatre, SOI: 1:00 PM, 05 Mar 2015


The relationships in any ecological system are affected by many, often interacting, factors and this is certainly true of farmed and wild salmon hosts, and the sea louse species which are amongst the most important of their natural parasites. In particular L. salmonis have been the most significant health threat to Atlantic salmon farming for the past two decades, while the impact of spill-over from these concentrated loci of infestation to wild populations has been a concern in many regions. These health threats and concerns have led to the collection of large data sets some spanning many years, and a range of questions arise as to the best way to model and interpret the relationship that may be present in such data. This talk will present a range of statistical and mathematical modelling approaches that the presenters have explored over the past decade address these challenges.  



Dr. Crawford Revie

Crawford holds the Canada Research Chair in Epi-Informatics at the Atlantic Veterinary College in Prince Edward Island, Canada. The main focus of his research involves novel methods to extract and organize knowledge that exists in large/complex epidemiological data sets. He has extensive experience in designing and delivering distributed database solutions in the domains of human and veterinary health. He leads a team of researchers who use epi-informatics approaches to tackle a range of tasks; from the development of web-based fish health databases, through network modelling of zoonotic pathogen spread, to the application of mobile phones in assisting animal health assistants in sub-Saharan Africa.


Dr. Maya Groner

Maya is a postdoctoral fellow at the Atlantic Veterinary College in Prince Edward Island. Maya's research focuses on ecological and evolutionary consequences of infectious disease in aquatic systems including sea louse parasites of salmon, wasting disease in seagrasses and chytridiomycosis in amphibians. Her research employs a range of approaches, from field surveys, to experiments, to theoretical models. Dr. Groner is also a member of the National Science Foundation supported Research Coordination Network on the Ecology of Infectious Marine Diseases.


RefID: 1483 click to edit (admin only)

11 Mar 2015
Biology Management Group

( )
Room 4.14, BMS: 9:30 AM, 11 Mar 2015
RefID: 1487 click to edit (admin only)

11 Mar 2015
EaStCHEM/BSRC Colloquium Series: The use of enzymes for C-C bond formation and chiral amine synthesis

Prof Helen C Hailes (University College London, Organic Chemistry and Chemical Biology)
Lecture Theatre C, Purdie Building: 3:30 PM, 11 Mar 2015

Biocatalysis offers a powerful sustainable strategy for the production of pharmaceuticals and fine chemicals. We have been investigating the use of transketolases, transaminases and norcoclaurine synthases for C-C bond formation and chiral amine synthesis, including reaction cascades. The seminar will present recent studies using these enzymes and other selected reactions in water.

RefID: 1540 click to edit (admin only)

12 Mar 2015
SOI seminar: Comparative diving eco-physiology: a tool to assess environmental change

Dr Andreas Fahlman (Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi, USA)
Gatty Lecture Theatre, SOI: 1:00 PM, 12 Mar 2015

RefID: 1484 click to edit (admin only)

18 Mar 2015
BSRC Seminar Series: Fragment-based drug discovery- a decade of thinking small

Dr Harren Jhoti (Astex Pharmaceuticals)
Lecture Theatre, BMS: 1:00 PM, 18 Mar 2015
RefID: 1466 click to edit (admin only)

01 Apr 2015
SOI seminar: Toothed whales and tooth fish: depredation by marine mammals on fisheries around the Southern Ocean Islands of Kerguelen and Crozet

Christope Guine (Centre d'…tudes Biologiques de Chizť (CEBC))
Gatty Lecture Theatre, SOI: 1:00 PM, 01 Apr 2015

He will be discussing the depredation by sperm whales and killer whales on fisheries in the Crozet  and Kerguelen area that he and Paul Tixier have been doing over the last 10 years.

RefID: 1537 click to edit (admin only)

08 Apr 2015
Biology Management Group

( )
Room 4.14, BMS: 9:30 AM, 08 Apr 2015
RefID: 1488 click to edit (admin only)