Parasites as potential population tags: implications for the study of deepwater sharks

Late lunch talk by Wolf Isbert, Universitat de València


Parasites have been demonstrated to be efficient biological tags for several aspects in fishes comprising among others markers for host diet, pollution, stock separation and migration events. However, knowledge on the parasite fauna and their application as tags in elasmobranchs is still limited.Within the framework of the project ‘DEEPCON’ the metazoan parasite fauna of the velvet belly lantern shark (Etmopterus spinax) from the Galicia Bank and the Avilés Canyon in the NE Atlantic was compared. The main goal of this study was to evaluate differences in the parasite fauna of this species in both areas, and assess the potential use of parasites as tags to separate populations. Detected parasites represented three taxonomical groups: Monogenea, Nematoda, and Cestoda. Although the obtained preliminary results do not reveal a distinct parasite fauna in both areas, differences in quantitative descriptors of some parasites indicate their usefulness as tags in future studies. It is hypothesized that differences derive from distinct habitat characteristics and availability of hosts.This approach shall be used within a multidisciplinary study on E. spinax from different sites in Norway in order to determine how supposed distinct populations differ from each other, also considering potentially different degrees of contamination.

Published Feb. 21, 2013 3:57 PM