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Haplosporian parasites in Bivalve Molluscs: A South American and European perspective on the problem

University College Cork

Brief of Description of Project

The Haplosporidia are a group of protistan parasites that 
infect a wide range of Bivalve molluscs worldwide, 
particularly oysters that cause significant mortalities. 
Much information still needs to be obtained on their 
origin, modes of transmission, life cycles and 
host:parasite interactions.  The group proposing this 
research have a significant track record of working in this 
area. However, there is little information available on 
them from South America and in particular from Brazil 
and studying them globally will give a better perspective 
on this group and their biology and aetiology.

This PhD will involve a combination of field and Laboratory based work. In the study a wide variety of
bivalves fromboth Brazil and Europe will be screened and
processed to answer a number of questions: what 
bivalves are present and what parasites including 
haplosporidia do they have? The range of parasites plus 
haplosporidia present will be determined (Histology plus 
Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) plus DNA sequencing), 
the pathogenicity of these species (Microscopy), the 
structure and ultrastructure of these species 
(Microscopy) and their phylogenetics.  Host response will 
be assessed by measuring immunological parameters.  
This study will provide a greater global understanding of 
these pathogens, ultimately contributing to their control 
which will benefit developing fisheries and aquaculture 
based industries.

Description of facilities and research environment 

This PhD will be based in the Aquaculture and Fisheries 
Development Centre, School of Biological, Earth and 
Environmental Sciences and its laboratories in Cork. We 
have state of the art histology, immunology and molecular 
genetics laboratories as well as large scale facilites to carry 
out short or long term tank based trials. 


Priority Areas

Principal Investigators

Research Groups