Diversity mapping of Norwegian gyrodactylid flatworms – mining natural history collections
New parasites from old fish.
The biodiversity of invertebrate parasites is an important factor in ecosystem health. This project targets the Norwegian gyrodactylid fauna. This group of ectoparasites of fish and cephalopod molluscs includes the major pathogen Gyrodactylus salaris on salmon and the emerging pathogen Gyrodactylus marinus on cod.
Overall the genus Gyrodactylus is poorly known and many species and parasite strains await proper description. This is particularly true for the gyrodactylids on Norwegian marine fishes, where perhaps up to 50 species remain to be catalogued, and several species new to science are to be expected.
This project adopts a novel approach, screening the fish collection of the Natural History Museum Oslo that has a comprehensive representation of the Norwegian fish fauna for gyrodactylids. These parasites will then be described using advanced morphometric and molecular approaches.
We aim at developing towards a comprehensive picture of the Norwegian gyrodactylid fauna of both freshwater and marine fishes, and expect to add morphometric and molecular descriptions of some 30-50 species (including some new to science) to the Norwegian fauna lists.
The project "Diversity mapping of Norwegian gyrodactylid flatworms - mining natural history collections" is funded for 2011-2012 by the Artsprosjektet managed by Artsdatabanken (The Norwegian Biodiversity Information Centre).