Project proposal details

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Project title
The origin of shark scales: new data from high-resolution tomography of early chondrichthyan scales
Contact name
Martin Brazeau
Project based at
Silwood Park (Imperial)
Project description
The skin denticles of sharks have long been used as a model for the evolutionary basis of the vertebrate exoskeleton. However, the origin of scale growth modes in the ancestors of sharks from the middle Palaeozoic remain mysterious. The extent to which shark denticles make a model for vertebrate exoskeletons remains contentious. In this project, you will use high-resolution x-ray computed tomography to model the growth of scales of early shark relatives from the Canadian Arctic and use this to reconstruct the mode of growth. This will be compared with the modes of growth in other early vertebrate hard tissues and analysed phylogenetically. The project is suitable for a student interested in whole-organism morphology, palaeontology, and phylogenetics.
Available support
The student will have access to a graphics workstation and tomography imaging software for the duration of the project, as well as both dry/wet palaeontological laboratory.
Date uploaded

Project proposal limitations

The project proposer has indicated that there are some limitations to the availability of this project. It may only be available at certain times of year or suit a specific project length. It may also need skills taught to students on a particular course or courses.

Research project proposals are usually part of an active research programme. If supervisors have stated limitations to a proposal, then they are unlikely to have any flexibility. If you are very interested in the topic but have problems with the stated limitations, the supervisor may still be happy to talk to you about other options around the proposal, but you should not expect that any alternative arrangements can be made.

Project length limitations
3.5 months, 5 months
Available date limitations
Winter (January), Spring (April-May)
Suitable for
Ecology Evolution and Conservation, Taxonomy and Biodiversity [NHM MSc], Biosystematics [NHM MRes]