Biodiversity of the fish parasitic Gnathiid isopods from coral reefs

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dc.contributor.advisor Prof. N.J. Smit; Prof. A.J. Davies-Russell en
dc.contributor.author Farquharson, Charon
dc.date.accessioned 2011-06-29T06:33:50Z
dc.date.available 2011-06-29T06:33:50Z
dc.date.issued 2011-06-29T06:33:50Z
dc.date.submitted 2010-08
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10210/3726
dc.description M.Sc. en
dc.description.abstract Recent years have seen a remarkable increase in scientific research and studies conducted regarding the unique group of parasitic isopods known as gnathiids. The taxonomy of gnathiids are based solely on the morphological characteristics of the free-living adult males, which means that the female and larval life stages are often not collected and described with the males, and when collected it is seldom possible to even identify these stages when not in the company of there adult males. Numerous studies have been conducted in Australia regarding cleaning behaviour of coral reef fishes, where these gnathiid larvae are extremely abundant and are often collected. These types of studies as well as others are increasing all around the world, and because of the fact that the larvae cannot be easily identified, the results and data collected from these various studies are often misinterpreted or inconclusive and makes no sense. The fact that gnathiid larvae may serve as possible vectors for certain fish blood parasites and have various physiological and ecological effects on their fish hosts, which may lead to mortality, can have detrimental economical effects on the fisheries industry. This study was thus conducted to improve the identification methods that are currently applied to the larval life stages of gnathiid isopods through various means including increasing the number of detailed descriptions available, constructing a taxonomic key and lastly conducting a basic phylogenetic analysis of a group of known gnathiid larvae in order to aid researchers with future identifications. It was hypothesised that firstly, although there are some gnathiid descriptions from coral reefs, mostly of adult males, it is likely that there are still a great number of unknown and not yet described gnathiid species, because coral reefs are one of the most highly biodiverse marine ecosystems. Secondly, that the distribution of coral reef gnathiids is much wider than currently known or documented and lastly, that it might be possible to identify gnathiid larvae species in the absence of adult males, through the use of detailed taxonomic descriptions of these larval stages and there live colouration patterns, and to then construct a taxonomic key to aid researchers with future identifications. en
dc.language.iso en en
dc.subject Isopoda ecology
dc.subject Parasite ecology
dc.subject Fish parasites
dc.subject Gnathiids
dc.title Biodiversity of the fish parasitic Gnathiid isopods from coral reefs en
dc.type Thesis en

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