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
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.