College of Science,
School of Natural Sciences

Course overview

Research in the Zoology Department is mainly concentrated in the following broad areas: evolutionary biology, including the evolution of animal development; ecological parasitology; aquaculture and fisheries management; ecology, behaviour, and conservation of a variety of animal groups, including: inshore marine and freshwater fish; mammals and birds, especially squirrels, bats, and game birds; centipedes (both coastal and inland species); introduced aquatic organisms (such as zebra mussels).

Programmes available

MSc, full-time and part-time

Entry requirements

Candidates for the degree of PhD or MSc by research must have reached a high honours standard (minimum H2.2 [or equivalent international qualification] for an MSc) at the examination for the primary degree or presented such other evidence as will satisfy the Head of School and the College of his/her fitness.

Areas of interest

EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY: Evolutionary research in Zoology includes studies of how certain aspects of the development of animals evolve. Centipedes serve as a 'model system' to examine this question. Current studies involve molecular, developmental and ecological aspects of animals groups. Research also focuses on molecular evolution of animal viruses and micro and macroevolutionary processes in animals generally. 


MARINE BENTHIC ECOLOGY: The ecology of animals that live on or near the seafloor and intertidal area. Current research includes population and community level studies e.g. in relation to climate change, as well as systematics and biodiscovery. 


MARINE FISH: Filling gaps in our knowledge about the biology of by-catch species and continuing longterm studies on the ecology and distribution of fish and fish larvae. 


FRESHWATER BIOLOGY: The ecology of Ireland's rivers and lakes. Work in this area focuses on the River Shannon catchment and eutrophication of western lakes such as Lough Corrib. Other aspects include fish ecology and parasitology of species such as European eel, brown trout, and arctic charr. 


Research focuses on development and evolution of vertebrate nervous and sensory systems. In particular, we use amphibian embryos to study early embryonic development of cranial sense organs. 


A variety of terrestrial habitats are studied. Recent work has investigated rodent populations, bats, seals, urban mammals, otter diet, fox distribution and conservation projects on native red squirrel. 


Developmental biologists ask important questions such as how can a complex adult animal be made from a fertilized egg, and what is the function of a stem cell? What makes vertebrates and arthropods segmented?

PAC code

MSc (full-time), GYT47
MSc (part-time), GYT48

Current project

Fees for this course

EU: €4,529 p.a. 2016/17

Non-EU: €13,750 p.a. 2016/17

Full time EU Fee €4,529 p.a. 
Part time EU Fee €2,320 p.a.