For your report you will need to do the following:
1. Record the summary data of the Malham survey of parasites encountered during the 3 day field course you attended (for all hosts: fish, rodents, rabbits). Include in Appendix
2. Select ONE of the three (i,ii,iii below) Malham host-parasite systems to carry out a detailed analysis of archived data (including current year data)
(i) stickleback fish, (ii) woodmice, OR (iii) rabbits.
For your selected host concentrate on ONE the dominant helminth parasite species (listed below) encountered that has also accurately been recorded over the years by previous Salford groups. Good data sets from last 10-15 years will be made available for the following parasite-hosts :
1. Diplostomum in eyes of stickleback fish (Gasterosteus aculeatus)
2. Heligmosomoides in small intestine of woodmice (Apodemus sylvaticus)
3. Plagiorchis in small intestine of woodmice
4. Graphidium in the stomach of rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus)
5. Cittotaenia in small intestine of rabbits
Undertake a detailed analysis of prevalence, intensity, and frequency distribution of data for your selected host and respective parasite. Analyse the class data sets that will be made available up to October 2014 and importantly over the previous sampling years (at least 10 years of annual data for the 3 host systems). Annual frequency trends as well as total pooled annual data analyses can be carried out. Aspects of sex (mammals only) and weight/length (age) associated prevalence and intensity distributions should be included. Consider also possible effect of seasonal or annual rainfall variations (rainfall updated data given separately). These data sets will be provided, and a basic data handling/statistics lecture will be given by Dr Kevin Bown in week 6 (3rd November). There will also be an “emergency drop in session” for any problems relating to the report at the beginning of week 9 (24th November) instead of the normal lecture slot.
The report must be submitted via Turn It In by week 9 (Wed 2nd December 2015 at 4pm)
3. Follow the general write-up guidelines below. Divide the report into the following sections: Title, Abstract, Introduction, Materials and Methods, Results, Discussion, References, Appendix.
Write a word-processed report of approximately 5000 words (text, figures, tables, references) in the format of a scientific report as follows:
Abstract – 200 words summary outlining the report
Introduction – Background to the overall study site. Brief description of the location and strengths/weakness of studying parasites in this location. Brief description of the range of hosts and parasites. You should refer to tables showing the prevalence of each parasite found in each host for the current year of study, located in the appendix.
Background to the specific chosen host-parasite system. Literature review on the behaviour/life cycle of the host. Literature review on what is known of the taxonomy, life cycle and morphology of the chosen parasite.
Background to what is NOT known about the chosen host parasite system. (i.e.gap in scientific knowledge).
Detailed objectives. List of objectives.
Materials & Methods – Detailed description of the methods carried out.
Results – Detailed analysis of retrospective data for one host parasite association for the last 10 years. Analyses should include:
Prevalence data (%) (Pooled data for all years and Annual data)
Intensity data (number parasites counted) (Pooled data for all years and Annual data)
Length or weight (=age) group in classes vs mean prevalence
Length or weight (=age) group in classes vs mean Intensity.
5a) Male vs female Mean prevalence in different sexes using 2 x 2 tables (non-fish hosts only)
b) Co-infection of parasite with another parasite species using 2 x 2 tables. Fish Hosts only.
Mean annual rainfall and mean prevalence: correlation
Mean annual rainfall and mean intensity: correlation
Other detailed scientific hypotheses designed independently by the student without recourse to staff members. Such hypotheses might be derived from scientific papers based on similar approaches.
Discussion – Summary of the outcome of each objective (i.e. 1 -8 results section). Technical discussion. The strengths and weaknesses of the whole study. Consideration of how valid each conclusion (i.e. 1 – 8, results) is based on the data used to address that question (i.e. strengths and weaknesses of the data.
Consideration of results in comparison with other studies. Comparison of findings in this study with other published literature such as papers reviewed in the introduction or other papers.
Broader implications of this study. What are the overall strengths and weaknesses of this study? What are the broader findings that this study reveals about host parasite interactions? What does this study tell us about how we should conduct future studies of parasites in their natural ecosystems? Future work. What are the limitations of this study and what future approaches could be taken to improve those limitations?
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