The research of the parasitology group encompasses parasites of wild and cultured species worldwide and we have close collaborations with scientists in over 20 countries. The Parasitology Laboratory welcomes international scientists to visit and to work with us.
We carry out research on a variety of pathogens. Areas of major interest include:
A broad range of molecular techniques have been employed by the Parasitology research group in recent years including in situ hybridisation, microsatellite analysis, real-time PCR, DNA microarray and phylogenetic and diagnostic analysis employing a range of targeted gene sequences.
The Parasitology Group continues to investigate clinical outbreaks of gyrodactylosis, not only among salmonids where G. salaris is suspected, but also, notably, among pond-reared populations of Nile tilapia, Oreochromis niloticus, which are responsible for the high mortality of juvenile fish in a number of countries.
Knowledge of the life-cycle is critical to the understanding of parasite pathology, epizootiology and to the management and control of parasitic diseases in intensive and extensive aquaculture systems. Using a range of infection techniques employed under controlled laboratory conditions it is possible, in many cases, to reproduce the life-cycle for detailed study.
The secure identification of parasites may be problematical and yet is of prime importance, particularly where closely related forms show different pathological effects on hosts. A case in point is that of the notifiable monogenean G. salaris which has decimated wild Norwegian salmon stocks and has spread across Europe.
A common focus of study within the group is to evaluate the pathogenicity of parasites, identify the conditions under which they become pathogenic and attempt to understand the processes of pathology involved in the particular host parasite system using histopathological techniques.
One of the most challenging problems in aquaculture is the treatment of parasites using chemotherapeutants that are both appropriate for use in the aquatic environment and non-toxic to the host or the consumer at efficacious doses.