General

The MRes in Animal and Plant Science is a full-time programme running over 12 months from the date of first registration for the programme. Applications will be accepted for a start date in October or January. The programme consists of (a) a major research thesis and (b) taught modules on generic and transferable skills, with an emphasis on scientific writing, oral presentations, and general research skills. Part-time study for this programme is not available.

Prospective students must talk to their proposed supervisor about possible project areas (see below) and have a project approved by interview with the supervisor and Head of Discipline prior to application via www.pac.ie (PAC code: CKS81).

MRes Animal and Plant Science Brochure (596kB)

Prospective students should also consult the following guide to procedures realting to applying for the MRes Animal and Plant Science:

MRes Animal and Plant Science - Student guide to application process before entr (394kB)

Students should consult the Fees office website for information on College and Bench Fees

W:  http://www.ucc.ie/en/financeoffice/fees

Programme Requirements

Students undertake a total workload equivalent to 90 credits over the 12 month programme, the principal element of which is the completion of a major research thesis of approximately 25,000 words. In parallel, students must take and pass taught modules to the value of 20 credits.

Students take 20 credits from the following available modules1:

BL6010 Characteristics of the Marine Environment (5 credits)

BL6012 Marine Megafauna (10 credits)

BL6016 Marine Ecology and Conservation (10 credits)

BL6019 Ecological Applications of Geographical Information Systems (5 credits)

BL6020 Genetics and the Marine Environment (5 credits)

BL4004 Frontiers in Biology (5 credits)

BL4005 Research Skills in Biology (5 credits)

BL4006 Food Production (5 credits)

PS6001 Plant Genetic Engineering (5 credits)

PS4024 Crop Physiology and Climate Change (5 credits)

PS4021 Environmentally Protective Management of Plant Pests and Pathogens (5 credits)

ZY4021 Evolutionary Ecology (5 credits)

Notes:   

  • 1Students may elect to take other, relevant modules (subject to availability) that are offered by the University that are not listed above to fulfil the elective requirement with approval from the MRes coordinator, research supervisor and Head of School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Science.

Students will also undertake independent research towards completion of a research thesis to a student workload equivalent of 70 credits on a selected topic in Animal or Plant Science. 

See also Regulations for Submission and Examination of Research Masters Degrees.

 

MRes Research Projects:

Supervisor

Project

Fidelma Butler

The effect of lactation housing on the behaviour and welfare of pigs.  (Fidelma Butler and Keelin O'Driscoll, Teagasc Moorepark) This project will address questions regarding the behaviour and welfare of sows and piglets when managed in free-farrowing pens, compared with traditional farrowing crates. The study will be carried out at the Teagasc Pig Development Department in Moorepark, and at the School BEES, UCC.

 

 

Sarah Culloty

Understanding viral pathways in marine environments.  This MRes is part of a Horizon 2020 project Vivaldi looking at viral diseases in shellfish and understanding their spread in marine ecosystems using molecular approaches (training provided).  Bench fees will be covered by the project and will support lab and field work and attendance at a conference or project meeting.

 

 

Javier del Barco Trillo

Behavioural responses in urban tardigrades: a novel approach. Tardigrades, or water bears, are microscopic invertebrates, which live worldwide and across all ecosystems, including urban environments. Terrestrial tardigrades can be found in almost any sample of moss or lichen, and are thus abundant and easy to collect, but they are still a very understudied group. We know especially little about their behaviour, even though tardigrades are very mobile. Due to their resistance to pollutants, tardigrades are likely to thrive in urban environments (although almost nothing is known about urban tardigrades). In urban vertebrates and large-sized invertebrates (e.g. insects) there are many examples of behavioural adaptations to the urban environment. In contrast, we know absolutely nothing about the behavioural responses of urban microorganisms like tardigrades. We can predict that changes driven by urbanisation, such as an increase in light pollution and high population densities, will lead to changes in behaviour. This project will investigate, for the first time, behavioural responses to light pollution and social environment in tardigrades. Very small, purposely-built Y-mazes, T-mazes and open field arenas will be used to measure different behaviours. The student will be able to investigate, for instance, the preference for dark or lighted areas in tardigrades collected in light-polluted or light-unpolluted urban sites; and the preference or avoidance of areas containing other tardigrades.

 

 

Javier del Barco Trillo

Biodiversity of tardigrades across urban gradients in cities of different sizes. Tardigrades, or water bears, are microscopic invertebrates, which live worldwide and across all ecosystems, including urban environments. Terrestrial tardigrades can be found in almost any sample of moss or lichen, and are thus abundant and easy to collect, but they are still a very understudied group. Due to their resistance to pollutants, tardigrades are likely to thrive in urban environments, although almost nothing is known about urban tardigrades. In this project, tardigrade diversity will be measured across urban gradients (from highly urban to highly rural sites) in cities with different sizes (e.g. Dublin, Cork and Galway). If tardigrade diversity decreases with the level of urbanization, we can predict that this will be more the case in larger than in smaller cities.

 

 

Simon Harrison

Distribution and diet of otters in a rural/urban streamscape. Recent research at UCC has established that otter activity can be surprisingly high in streams flowing through built-up urban areas. Preliminary dietary analysis has shown that otters can feed on a wide variety of prey, including  birds, mammals and invertebrates in such systems, although fish, notably brown trout, appears to constitute the bulk of the diet. Otter activity is particularly high along the river Bride, which runs through Blackpool in the north of the city. This river is currently the subject of a proposed major engineering scheme designed to reduce flood damage to flood-sensitive parts of the north of the city. Such a scheme is likely to impact on the otter population of the stream. The proposed research project will involve (a) an intensive monitoring of the otter population along the stream from the rural headwaters to the urban lower reaches (b) a seasonal analysis of the diet of the otters from rural to urban reaches and (c) an evaluation of the likely impact of engineering works on the otter population.

 

 

Simon Harrison

Novel approaches in the use of freshwater macroinvertebrates for biomonitoring.   Freshwater macroinvertebrates have been widely used to biomonitor streams and rivers for at least 50 years in Europe and N. America. A large number of approaches and methodologies have been developed in individual countries, all based around the different sensitivities of different groups of macroinvertebrate to pollution. Nearly all methods are based on the observation that pollution-sensitive species – notably the Plecoptera (stoneflies), Trichoptera (caddisflies) and Ephemeropterra (mayflies) are rare or absent in polluted streams. The pollution-insensitive taxa are generally downplayed or ignored altogether. These ‘tolerant’ taxa – including isopod and amphipod crustaceans, fly larvae, gastropods, worms and certain species of mayflies – nevertheless can tell us a great deal about the nature and quantity of polluting matter getting into the stream, as they respond positively to inputs (such as organic matter and plant nutrients) rather than respond negatively to the indirect effects of inputs. The aim of the investigation will be to devise a novel method of assessing the extent, nature and source of pollution inputs into streams in Ireland, using macroinvertebrate taxa, based on their responses to various types of inputs.

 

 

Simon Harrison

The ecology of Sika/Red/Fallow deer in Ireland. Recent research at UCC has established the landscape distribution of Sika and Fallow deer in southern Ireland. We now have a greater understanding of the factors that govern the distribution of the two deer species at regional (50km) scales. Key knowledge gaps remain, however, in several areas. Firstly, we know little of the factors that cause sika deer, in particular, to damage commercial trees in plantations. In certain areas, notably parts of Wicklow, such damage can be extensive. Secondly, fallow deer typically inhabit plantation forests surrounded by pasture in Ireland, but we know little about the quantity of grass they potentially consume. Thirdly, although sika and fallow deer are considered to live in a wide variety of habitats, it is clear from our research that they prefer certain sub-habitats over others within their range in southern Ireland. Each of these three topics would present a suitable MRes research project.

 

 

Marcel Jansen

Catching prey; the role of Ultraviolet radiation in attracting insects by carnivorous plants.  It has been hypothesised that carnivorous plants use UV radiation, and UV-reflectance, to attract prey. In this project the student will explore the role of UV-radiation in communication, which involves plant pigments as well as the UV-sensitive vision of insects. The student will gain expertise in photobiological techniques, and develop ecologically-relevant experiments that quantify the role of UV-radiation in catching prey.

 

 

Marcel Jansen

Birds as dispersers of plant propagules (Tom Kelly & Marcel Jansen) Epizoochorous dispersal of plant propagules by birds is well known but remains poorly understood. The project will focus on dispersal of Lemnaceae (duckweeds) and explore key issues related to attachment to the vector, the survival of air transport, and detachment at the new site. Emphasis will be on prevention of desiccation during air transport.

 

 

Marcel Jansen

Does the phytotoxicity of nanoparticles depend on environmental parameters? This project focuses on elucidating the threat posed by the increased use, and the increased release into the environment, of metaloxide nanoparticles.  Project will give the student experience in toxicological assessments, using Lemna minor as a test organism.  The project will also explore how toxicity depends on environmental parameters, such as water-nutrient status.

 

 

Eoin Lettice

The role of biochar as a sustainable soil amendment.  Used as a soil amendment, there is evidence that biochar can benefit soil biology, control soil-borne pathogens and increase crop yields by making nutrients available for plant growth.  Utilising a long-term biochar experimental system at BEES, this project will assess the impact of biochar on plant growth and soil diversity.

 

 

Rob McAllen

Effects of Eutrophication in shallow subtidal marine systems  High nutrient levels in the marine environment around Southwest Ireland have caused large scale increases in macroalgal growth in shallow subtidal systems in recent years especially during spring and summer months at times of major invertebrate recruitment. However, the full implications (and possible benefits) to shallow marine communities of this algal growth are not well understood. This project aims to investigate this is in more detail.

 

 

Astrid Wingler

Use of Brachypodium sylvaticum as a model for growth regulation in perennial forage grasses.  The aim of the project is to establish B. sylvaticum as a model for growth regulation in perennial grasses.  Physiological and metabolic parameters will be determined at different temperatures in a range of B. sylvaticum accessions from various geographic origins.  The expression of genes involved in cold acclimation and metabolism will be determined.  Dependent on the interest of the student, it is also possible to establish protocols for tissue culture and transformation.

 

 

Astrid Wingler

Effect of temperature on spring growth of perennial ryegrass cultivars  (in collaboration with Deirdre Hennessy, Teagasc Moorepark).  This project explores the physiological mechanisms that inhibit growth in modern perennial ryegrass cultivars and aims to identify genotypes with improved spring growth.  The first part of the project will be conducted at UCC and involve cultivation of the cultivars under controlled temperature conditions. Effects of temperature on gene expression and on photosynthetic parameters will be determined.  In the second part, the student will conduct research at Moorepark to monitor growth in relation to temperature in the field. Tuition and Bench fees will be covered by the project and will support lab and field work and attendance at a conference or project meeting.

 

Programme Learning Outcomes for MRes (Master of Research) in Animal and Plant Science (NFQ Level 9, Major Award)

On successful completion of this programme, students should be able to:

  • Carry out an independent and original research project to address an emerging question in Animal or Plant Science. 
  • Prepare and write a dissertation of their research project in a critical, logical and systematic manner, in keeping with the standards of postgraduate research.
  • Display advanced theoretical knowledge and practical understanding within a research area of Animal or Plant Science.
  • Understand the basis and application of field and laboratory methods used in Animal and Plant Science and a knowledge of their limitations
  • Avail of relevant workshops or modules to increase scientific technical skills (e. g. biostatistics).
  • Source, review, critically assess and evaluate relevant primary literature and summarize material for presentation to peers and for inclusion within the research dissertation.
  • Design, write and defend a scientific research proposal based on their current research topic or a proposed topic.
  • Evaluate their skill set and identify skills that should be acquired.
  • Develop professional practice skills including team-work, negotiation, time-management, scientific writing and oral communication

MRes Geological Sciences Brochure (345kB)

General

The MRes in Geological Sciences is a full-time programme running over 12 months from the date of first registration for the programme. Applications will be accepted for a start date in October or January. The programme consists of (a) a major research thesis and (b) taught modules on generic and transferable skills, with an emphasis on scientific writing, oral presentations, and general research skills. Part-time study for this programme is not available.

Prospective students are advised to contact the Programme Coordinator (Prof. Andy Wheeler a.wheeler@ucc.ie  in advance of application via www.pac.ie (PAC code CKS82) to discuss possible project areas.

Students should consult the Fees office website for information on EU and Non-EU College and Bench Fees

W:  http://www.ucc.ie/en/financeoffice/fees

 

Programme Requirements

Students undertake a total workload equivalent to 90 credits over the 12 month programme, the principal element of which is the completion of a major research thesis of approximately 25,000 words. In parallel, students must take and pass taught modules to the value of 20 credits.

Students take 20 credits from the following available modules:

GL6002 Igneous and Metamorphic Terrain Mapping (10 credits)
GL6003 Coal Exploration (5 credits)
GL6005 Basin Analysis and Sedimentary Fancies Analysis (10 credits)
GL6006 Geotechnical Investigations of Soils and Rocks (5 credits)
GL6007 Practical Offshore Geological Exploration (5 credits)
GL6008 Geological Application of Geographical Information Systems (5 credits)
GL6010 Field Exploration Methods and Professional Development (5 credits)
GL6011 Structural Geology for Hydrocarbon Exploration (5 credits)
GL6012 Structural Geology for Mineral Exploration (5 credits)
GL6013 Geology of Ore Deposits (5 credits)

GL4002 Petroleum Geology and Basin Analysis (5 credits)

GL4003 Applied Geophysics (5 credits)

GL4004 Advanced Igneous Processes (5 credits)

GL4011 Economic Geology (5 credits)

GL4024 Exceptional Glimpses of Ancient Life (5 credits)

GL4027 Geochemistry (5 credits)

Notes:   

  • 1Students may elect to take other, relevant modules (subject to availability) that are offered by the University that are not listed above to fulfil the elective requirement with approval from the MRes coordinator, research supervisor and Head of School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Science.

Students will also undertake independent research towards completion of a research thesis to a student workload equivalent of 70 credits on a selected topic in Geological Science. 

MRes Research Projects

Supervisor

Project

Ed Jarvis

Palynology and palynofacies of the Booley Bay Formation of Co.Wexford.  This project will focus on the palynofacies, palynogy, sedimentology and Palaeoenvironments of the Cambrian Booley Bay Formation in Co. Wexford.    Nearshore/offshore trends will be determined using quantitative palynofacies analysis, this will greatly aid the understanding of the Palaeoenvironments that the Edicarian biota were present in. This is the youngest record of the Edicarian biota worldwide, this palaeoenvironmental analysis would greatly increase our understanding of the Edicarians last refuge.

   

Ed Jarvis

Palaeoenvironments recorded in the Lias of Northern Ireland.  This project will involve sedimentological, palynofacies, microfossils and macrofossil analysis of the Lias sections in Northern Ireland in order to determine the palaeoenvironmental trends in the sequence. Two principle section, Waterlooville and White Park Bay will be logged and sampled for detailed investigation in the lab. This study will establish the nature of the Lias environments recorded including near shore/offshore trends and patterns of sea floor redox levels.

   

Maria McNamara

Taphonomy of insects in the Daohuguo Konservat-Lagerstätte (Jurassic, Inner Mongolia).  The Daohuguo biota is a major source of information on the diversity of insects during the Mesozoic, but its taphonomy has not been investigated. As a result, the fidelity of the biological information preserved by the biota – e.g. on palaeodiversity, faunal changes through time, preservation of key features e.g. colour patterning, etc. – is unknown. This project involves characterising the sedimentological setting of the biota by the analysis of thin sections using light- and scanning electron microscopy, the construction of sedimentary logs and the analysis of hundreds of sedimentological and fossiliferous hand specimens of sediments from the Lagerstätte. The quality of preservation of numerous fossil specimens will be assessed and analysed using statistical methods.

   

Pat Meere

Characterising deformation in unconsolidated sediments.  (Pat Meere and Kieran Mulchrone, School of Maths)  Techniques and criteria to recognise and measure deformation in unconsolidated sediments are still rather limited and primarily concerned with clast fabric analysis.  Existing techniques assume that clasts behave like rigid objects immersed in a viscous fluid (Jeffery, 1922).  Preliminary experimental studies on natural glacial tills have indicated that clasts tend not to follow true Jeffery behaviour and tend not to orbit through the shear plane.  It is our view that using a 3D Jeffery model with a varying component of pure sheart across the shear plane will best approximate sub-glacial deformation conditions in diamict tills.     

Objective 1: Apply existing numerical modelling software to identifying a series of diagnostic parameters for Jeffery-type deformation in object populations.              

Objective 2: Carry out physical analogue modelling to simulate deformation of unconsolidated sediments.                                                                                              

Objective 3: Use criteria validated from the first two objectives to identify sub-glacial deformation at sites where existing evidence for such deformation is not conclusive.

   

Pat Meere

Early tectonic fabric development in sedimentary rocks.   This project will consist of a combined microstructural/petrological study on the initial development of penetrative tectonic fabrics in clastic sedimentary rocks.  The study will primarily focus on fabric development in the Irish Variscan foreland.

   

John Reavy

Petrological and structural mapping of the Fanad Lineament, Co. Donegal.  Detailed petrographic and structural mapping will investigate the role this structure played in siting, ascent and emplacement of the Fanad granite. Fieldwork will involve granitoid facies mapping, microstructural analysis and kinematic evaluation. 

   

Andy Wheeler

Quantifying the climate-controlled Pleistocene erosion of the Irish landmass (over the last 2.5 ma).  Following a long period (Tertiary) of tropical to temperate weathering, the Irish landmass was eroded by glaciations include mountain glaciation since 2.5 ma. IODP Site U1317 (Challenger Mound, Irish margin) provides a dated record of sedimentation partially reflecting these eroded products. Completed mineralogical analysis is to be combined with isotopic lead fingerprinting of grains (204Pb, 206Pb & 207Pb) and heavy mineral analysis to identify Irish source terrains. The detailed dating from the core (Sr datings, oxygen isotope and magnetostratigraphy) in combination with existing mineralogical assays (XRD clay mineralogy, bulk sediment mineralogy) will be used to determine a sediment flux history to create a model of the downstripping of the Irish terranes during the Pleistocene.

  

See also Regulations for Submission and Examination of Research Masters Degrees.

Programme Learning Outcomes for MRes (Master of Research) in Geological Science (NFQ Level 9, Major Award)
On successful completion of this programme, students should be able to:

  • Carry out an independent and original research project to address an emerging question in Geological Sciences. 
  • Prepare and write a dissertation of their research project in a critical, logical and systematic manner, in keeping with the standards of postgraduate research.
  • Display advanced theoretical knowledge and practical understanding within a research area of Geological Science.
  • Understand the basis and application of field and laboratory methods used in Geological Science and a knowledge of their limitations
  • Avail of relevant workshops or modules to increase scientific technical skills
  • Source, review, critically assess and evaluate relevant primary literature and summarize material for presentation to peers and for inclusion within the research dissertation.
  • Design, write and defend a scientific research proposal based on their current research topic or a proposed topic.
  • Evaluate their skill set and identify skills that should be acquired.
  • Develop professional practice skills including team-work, negotiation, time-management, scientific writing and oral communication.

MRes in Environmental Science Brochure (585kB)

 

Prospective students are advised to contact the Programme Coordinator Dr. Tim Sullivan (E: timothy.sullivan@ucc.ie   T: +353 (0) 21 490 4662)  in advance of application via www.pac.ie (PAC code CKS83) to discuss possible project areas.

 

Students should consult the Fees office website for information on EU and Non-EU College and Bench Fees
UCC Graduate Studies Office
T: +353 (0) 21 490 2365
E: fees@fin.ucc.ie
W: http://www.ucc.ie/en/financeoffice/fees

 

Application Information
UCC Graduate Studies Office
T: +353 (0) 21 490 2876
E: graduatestudies@ucc.ie
W: http://www.ucc.ie/en/study/postgrad/

 

The Postgraduate Certificate in Marine Biology (Conversion Programme) is a part-time programme running from September to March for graduates from non-biological or environmental disciplines unable to meet the entry requirements for direct entry onto the MSc in Marine Biology programme. Students successfully passing all modules will be awarded the Postgraduate Certificate in Marine Biology. Those wishing to progress onto the MSc in Marine Biology must obtain an aggregate of at least 60% to be eligible to transfer onto the Master’s programme in the following academic year and will hold exemptions in passed modules taken in the Postgraduate Certificate in Marine Biology if she/he applies for the Master's in Marine Biology within 5 years from the date of successful completion of the Certificate Examinations.

For more details, see PG cert Marine Biology conversion programme (163kB).

MSc Marine Biology Brochure (1,952kB)

The MSc Marine Biology aims to train graduates in multiple areas of marine biology and equip them with professional certificates in Sea Survival, Powerboat Handling, Marine Radio and First Aid as well as necessary field skills.

The areas of marine biology covered in this master’s course include fisheries and aquaculture, genetics, marine ecology and conservation, marine mammals and ecological aspects of Geographic Information System (GIS). In addition, the course has a significant field work component including ship work as well as survey and sampling techniques training. This course, run entirely by the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences at University College Cork, will provide an understanding of these various disciplines and skills needed in order to meet the growing demand for trained marine biologists at home and abroad.

 

For details of this Masters course, please see Marine Biology

 

MSc Applied Environmental Geology Brochure (669kB)

 

For further information email Programme Co-ordinator Dr Pat Meere (E: p.meere@ucc.ie T:+353 21 4904576)


For information on the Application Procedure
Postgraduate Admissions Office
Tel: +353 -21 -4902876/3241
Email: postgrad@ucc.ie
Web: http://www.ucc.ie/postgraduate


Pac Code: CKR53 full-time, CKR54 part-time.

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