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Stan King

Exploring biodiversity and population genetics in species of Gyrodactylus infecting marine fishes: What can parasite DNA tell us?

Stan King
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Stanley spent his youth fly-fishing for trout and jigging cod in the waters of Nova Scotia. His fascination of fish led to a career commercially fishing and eventually studying them across North America.

Paul Bentzen

Biology, Dalhousie University

9/2009 to 8/2014

Marine Biodiversity, MB-02

Using microsatellites developed via next-generation sequencing, the current research attempts to characterize the genetic variation of gyrodactylid parasites infecting 3-spine sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus) and Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) in the North Atlantic and to assess their value in delineating host stocks through a ‘biological magnifying glass’ effect. In-depth study of the phylogeography and population genetics of Gyrodactylus is non-existent and overdue, and will provide much needed information on the amount of inbreeding, local adaptation and effective population size of this potentially virulent group.  We anticipate this data will also offer greater accuracy in delineating host populations across the North Atlantic and will provide insight into host demographic processes and parasite speciation mechanisms. Additionally, the research will examine the biodiversity of this specious genus in the Northwest Atlantic, Arctic and Pacific Oceans, formally describing all new species encountered and clarifying the taxonomy of species previously described using traditional taxonomy, scanning electron microscopy and rRNA sequence data.


The specific project/thesis aims are:

- Characterize the amount of genetic variability in species of Gyrodactylus on differing hierarchical levels

- Characterize the marine diversity of the genus Gyrodactylus, describing new species when encountered

This project is directly related the to biodiversity stream.

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