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Nicole Stephanie Gierlinger, MSc Zoology



Curriculum vitae

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Education

Since 10.2017 PhD student of Natural Sciences (Biology) at the University of Vienna
Thesis: Development and patterning of oral and dermal denticles in sharks (Chondrichthyes, Elasmobranchii): Ecological constraints and evolutionary patterns
2014-2016 Master Zoology at University of Vienna (Focus on Marine Biology and Cognition)
Thesis: Morphology, distribution and development of dermal and dental denticles in catsharks (Scyliorhinus canicula, Sclyiorhinus retifer) and bamboo sharks (Chiloscyllium cf. punctatum)
Supervisor: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Dr. Gerd Müller, Dr. Brian Metscher
2010-2014 Bachelor in Biology at the University of Vienna (Focus on Ecology)
Thesis: Effect of lighting types (LED, T5HO and metal halide) on the growth, weight and volume of Acropora selago, Montipora sp. and Pocillopora verrucosa and aggressive and territorial behaviour discovered among Acanthuridae, Pomacentridae and Anthiinae in marine aquaria
Supervisor: Dr. Anton Lamboj
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Professional Background

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Membership in professional organizations

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Research Statement

Chondrichthyans are the only jawed vertebrates, which have reduced bone secondarily, but retained an ancestral bauplan. This makes them important to study evolutionary aspects of vertebrates. This PhD project will investigate the morphology, development and distribution of dermal and dental denticles in selected embryonic and adult squalomorph and galeomorph shark species of the northern and southern hemispheres to (1) clarify the influence of ecological factors on morphological structures of denticles, (2) to reveal the property of growth or replacement in dentition and (3) to address one of the major current controversies in evolutionary vertebrate biology: the evolution of teeth in jawed vertebrates. Currently, two competing hypotheses, the "inside-out" theory and the "outside-in" theory stating the origin of dermal and dental denticles is debated.

To achieve the goals of this project, several species of each shark group will be selected according to ethical availability, and compared to other groups, to define morphological differences between galeomorph and squalomorph shark denticles. Additionally, selected shark specimens of the same species from the northern and southern hemisphere, will be compared to understand whether ecological factors have a significant influence on morphological structures of denticles. The aim of this study is to understand the ontogenetic development of denticles in shark species of different orders of elasmobranchs and whether denticles develop the same way in all species of elasmobranchs. This study should outline whether denticles change their morphology in respects to growth or in terms of replacement. Dermal denticles develop in some but not in all modern sharks which leave some elasmobranchs without scales. Thus the genetic circumstances during tooth development is very essential in understanding this concept. The morphology, development and distribution of denticles in shark species of different orders of elasmobranchs have never been compared and described in detail before. The influence of ecological factors on the morphology of denticles and the comparison of shark specimens of the same species from the northern and southern hemisphere have not been analysed yet.

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Academic Grants and Awards

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Conferences and Symposia

  • 6th Meeting of the European Society for Evolutionary Developmental Biology (EvoDevo), Uppsala, Sweden (2016)
  • Poster The morphology and distribution of dermal and dental denticles in different stages of ontogeny in Chiloscyllium cf. puncatum, Scyliorhinus canicula and Scyliorhinus retifer (Co-authored by G. Müller, B. Metscher)
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    Peer-reviewed papers

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    Non peer-reviewed papers

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    Published conference presentations

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    Unpublished conference presentations

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    Miscellaneous

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    Contact

    Department of Paleontology
    University of Vienna
    Geozentrum
    Althanstrasse 14
    1090 Vienna
    Austria
    phone: +43 (0)1 4277 535 42
    fax: +43 (0)1 4277 9535