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Associate Professor Ian Whittington
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Ian Whittington is a Senior Research Fellow in the School of Earth & Environmental Sciences (SEES) at The University of Adelaide and a Principal Research Scientist in the Parasitology Section at The South Australian Museum. His office is in the Science Centre of the SA Museum from where he heads the Monogenean Research Laboratory and is also Head of Biological Sciences. Ian also leads the Marine Parasitology Laboratory in SEES (Darling Building) where he supervises Honours and PhD students investigating a variety of marine parasites. He is also a member of the Australian Centre for Evolutionary Biology & Biodiversity at The University of Adelaide.
The prime research interests for Ian embrace the biology, systematics, ecology, ultrastructure and adaptations to parasitism by the Monogenea, a class of ectoparasitic flatworms that can live on the skin, fins, gills, oral cavity, cornea, nasal tissue, pharyngeal tooth pads, urogenital system (cloaca, rectal gland, oviducts) and body cavity of principally elasmobranch and teleost fishes. Monogenean parasites have a direct life-cycle and can proliferate rapidly on fish held in captivity. Therefore, knowledge and understanding of Monogenea is important for the burgeoning aquaculture industry worldwide and for aquarists responsible for public aquaria globally.
Ian is a member of the editorial boards of the following journals: Acta Parasitologica; Folia Parasitologica; Journal of Natural History; Systematic Parasitology. He is a member of the Australian Society for Parasitology Inc.
Head, Biological Sciences at the South Australian Museum, 2012-; Associate Professor (Level D), SEES, The University of Adelaide, 2006-; Principal Research Scientist, Parasitology Section, South Australian Museum, Adelaide, 2006-; Senior Research Fellow, SEES, The University of Adelaide, 2002-; Senior Research Scientist, Parasitology Section, South Australian Museum, Adelaide, 2001-05; Senior Lecturer, Department of Microbiology & Parasitology, The University of Queensland, 1997-2001; Director, Heron Island Research Station of The University of Queensland, 1996-99; Lecturer, Department of Parasitology, The University of Queensland, 1993-96; Queen Elizabeth II Fellow, Department of Parasitology, The University of Queensland, 1990-92; ARC Postdoctoral Research Fellow, The University of Queensland, 1989; University of Queensland Postdoctoral Fellow, 1987-88; PhD student, School of Biological Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich, U.K., 1982-86.
POSITIONS HELD, AWARDS & DISTINCTIONS
Member, International Scientific Committee, International Symposium on Monogenea 7, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (to be held in August 2013), 2010-; Chair, Scientific Committee, 6th International Symposium on Monogenea held in Cape Town, South Africa (August 2009), 2006-2009; Editorial Board, Acta Parasitologica (Polish Academy of Sciences; published by Springer), 2008-; Chair, Local Organising Committee for the 2008 Australian Society for Parasitology Inc. and ARC / NH&MRC Research Network for Parasitology, Adelaide, 2006-08; Visiting Professor, Centro de Investigaciones Biologicas del Noroeste (CIBNOR), La Paz, Mexico, 2006; Member, International Committee of the International Symposium on Fish Parasites, 2003-; Management Committee, Australian Centre for Evolutionary Biology & Biodiversity, The University of Adelaide, 2003-06; State Representative (South Australia) & Council Member, Australian Society for Parasitology Inc., 2003-05; Member, International Committee of the Fifth International Symposium on Monogenea held in Guangzhou, P.R. China (August 2005), 2001-05; Editorial Board, Journal of Natural History (published by Taylor & Francis), 2001-; Editorial Board, Folia Parasitologica (published by the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic), 2000-; Co-editor, Systematic Parasitology (published by Springer), 1999-; Chair, Organizing Committee, 4th International Symposium on Monogenea, 1997-2001; Member, Organizing Committee, 75th Meeting of Australian Coral Reef Society, 1997; Member, Scientific Organizing Committee, 3rd International Symposium on Monogenea, 1994-97; Section Editor-Invited Reviews, International Journal for Parasitology (Elsevier), 1995-97; Section Editor-Book Reviews & Meeting Reports, International Journal for Parasitology (Elsevier), 1993-94; Queen Elizabeth II Fellow, The University of Queensland, 1990-92; University of Queensland Postdoctoral Fellow, 1987-88; Prize for performance in Final Assessment of B.Sc. (Honours), Biological Sciences, University of East Anglia, U.K., 1982; Reckitt & Colman Scholar, Biological Sciences, University of East Anglia, U.K., 1981-82.
BSc (Hons), The University of East Anglia, Norwich, U.K., 1982
PhD, The University of East Anglia, Norwich, U.K., 1986
CURRENT/RECENT RESEARCH STUDENTS & PROJECTS
Emma Brock, Honours project: Metazoan parasite diversity of King George whiting (Sillaginodes punctatus): examination of host ontogeny and spatial variation in South Australian waters. (Honours degree awarded: November 2010).
Sarah Catalano, Honours project: Parasite assemblages of the Arripidae in southern Australian waters. (Honours degree awarded: November 2009).
Sarah Catalano, PhD project: Using dicyemid mesozoan parasites to infer the population structure of giant Australian cutlefish (Sepia apama) in southern Australian waters.
Kate Hutson, PhD project: Parasite interactions between wild and farmed yellowtail kingfish (Seriola lalandi) in southern Australia. (PhD awarded: May 2007).
Allan Mooney, PhD project: Biology of Zeuxapta seriolae (Monogenea: Polyopisthocotylea: Heteraxinidae) from gills of kingfish, Seriola lalandi in South Australia. (Thesis submitted: July 2009).
Elizabeth Perkins, PhD project: Molecular systematics, phylogeny & radiation of Capsalidae (Monogenea). (PhD degree awarded: February 2010).
David Schmarr, PhD project: A holistic approach to discriminate stocks of blue mackerel (Scomber australisicus) in Australasia.
Rissa Williams, PhD project: Studies on oral chemotherapeutants against skin & gill Monogenea of commercially farmed finfish. (PhD degree awarded: December 2008).
Zoology II (semester I)
In the Marine Biology degree: Frontiers in Marine Biology (semester I); Research Methods in Marine Biology (semester II).
My major research foci include: 1) the biology, systematics & phylogeny of the Capsalidae (Monogenea); 2) the biology, systematics & phylogeny of the Monocotylidae (Monogenea); 3) the biology, identity, systematics, discrimination & pathogenicity of Neobenedenia spp. (Monogenea: Capsalidae); 4) Monogenea in finfish aquaculture: knowledge of parasite biology to assist treatment & control; 5) Monogenea of elasmobranch & teleost fish: adaptations to parasitism; 6) adaptations for attachment to fish hosts by Monogenea: chemical (adhesives) & mechanical methods; 7) phylogeny of the Monopisthocotylea (Platyhelminthes: Monogenea).
To view other websites that cover some of my past and ongoing research, try:
CURRENT & RECENT POSTDOCTORAL FELLOWS & PROJECTS (for student projects, see Teaching Interests)
Dr Kate Hutson: Metazoan parasite survey of selected macro-inshore fish of southeastern Australia, including species of commercial importance
Dr Leslie Chisholm: Systematics of Capsalidae (Monogenea): morphological assessments & revisions of species worldwide
CURRENT & RECENTLY FUNDED RESEARCH PROJECTS
2010-2011 Fisheries Research & Development Corporation (FRDC): $25,200 to I.D. Whittington, A.P. Shinn, J.E. Bron & M.R. Deveney: Innovative Solutions for Aquaculture: Assessment of in situ monitoring techniques and life history parameters for monogenean skin and gill parasites
2007-2010 Australian Biological Resources Study (ABRS) AND Fisheries Research & Development Corporation (FRDC): $333,752 to K.S. Hutson & I.D. Whittington: Metazoan parasite survey of selected macro-inshore fish of southeastern Australia, including species of commercial importance
2005-07 Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery: $188,000 to I.D. Whittington: Marine flatworm parasites of elasmobranchs: a unique model for experiments exploring invasion strategies, biology and specificity to help understand parasitism.
2005-07 ARC Discovery: $200,000 to I.D. Whittington & S.C. Donnellan: Phylogeny & radiation of flatworm ectoparasites from marine fish using morphology & genetics, with novel approaches to identify pathogenic species.
2005-06 Scientific Visits to the United States of America, Canada & Mexico Program, Australian Academy of Science: $10,600 to I.D. Whittington: Neobenedenia (Platyhelminthes: Monogenea: Capsalidae), a genus of ectoparasitic flatworms of wild & cultivated fishes with special diversity in Mexico: identification, systematics & biology.
2005 Wildlife Conservation Fund: $4,495 to B.M. Gillanders, I.D. Whittington & S.C. Donnellan: An assessment of the utility of parasites as indicators of population structure in the giant Australian cuttlefish, Sepia apama.
2005 Sir Mark Mitchell Research Foundation: $4,999 to V. Glennon & I.D. Whittington: Monogenean flatworms of the southern fiddler ray, Trygonorrhina fasciata, in South Australia: providing insight into life history evolution.
2004 University of Adelaide Faculty of Sciences Strategic Research Scheme: $8,000 to I.D. Whittington, S.C. Donnellan & L.A. Chisholm: Identity & phylogeny of flatworm parasites from marine fish using morphology & genetics, with novel approaches to identify pathogenic species.
2003-2006 Fisheries Research & Development Corporation (FRDC): $136,650 to C. Johnston, I. Ernst, I.D. Whittington, B.M. Gillanders, Hutson & C.B. Chambers: Wild kingfish populations in Spencer Gulf: potential for parasite interactions with farmed fish, discrimination of farmed and wild fish and assessment of migratory.
2003-2005 Primary Industries & Resources South Australia (PIRSA): $70,000 to I. Ernst, C.B. Chambers, B.M. Gillanders & I.D. Whittington: Wild kingfish populations in Spencer Gulf: seasonal migration and potential for parasite interactions with farmed fish.
2002-2004 ARC Linkage: $507,972 to I.D. Whittington & I. Ernst: Integrated management of pathogenic monogenean (flatworm) parasite infections in warm water finfish aquaculture.
Note: only publications from 2008 onwards are listed here. pdfs available on request!
Open Access articles available (marked with *). Abstracts of most publications accessible by doi link.
For a full list of my research publications with links via available dois, download the pdf at the bottom of this page.
Chapters and contributions to Books:
Whittington I.D. 2012. Benedenia seriolae and Neobenedenia species. In: Fish Parasites: Pathobiology and Protection. Woo P.T.K. & Buchmann K. (Eds.), pp. 225–244 (Chapter 13). CABI, Wallingford, Oxfordshire, UK.
Whittington I.D. 2009. Parasitology at the University of New England. In Chapter 12, Parasitology at Armidale, New South Wales. In: A History of Parasitology in Australia and Papua New Guinea, Beveridge I. & O’Donoghue P.J. (Eds.), pp. 215–217. Raw Publishing, Blackburn, Victoria, Australia.
*Justine J.-L., Beveridge I., Boxshall G.A., Bray R.A., Miller T.L., Moravec F., Trilles J.-P. & Whittington I.D. 2012. An annotated list of fish parasites (Isopoda, Copepoda, Monogenea, Digenea, Cestoda, Nematoda) collected from Snappers and Bream (Lutjanidae, Nemipteridae, Caesionidae) in New Caledonia confirms high parasite biodiversity on coral reef fish. Aquatic Biosystems 8: 22. doi: 10.1186/2046-9063-8-22
Kearn G.C., Whittington I.D. & Evans-Gowing R. 2011. Spermatophores in Dermopristis cairae Whittington et Kearn, 2011 (Monogenea, Microbothriidae). Acta Parasitologica 56: 371–376. doi: 10.2478/s11686-011-0078-y
Deveney M.R. & Whittington I.D. 2011. Revision of Dioncopseudobenedenia Yamaguti, 1965 including the description of D. ancoralis sp. n. (Monogenea: Capsalidae) from Pacific acanthuroid teleosts. Folia Parasitologica 58: 257–272. doi:
*Badets M., Whittington I.D., Lalubin F., Allienne J.-F., Maspimby J.-L., Bentz S., Du Preez L.H., Barton D., Hasegawa H., Tandon V., Imkongwapang R., Ohler A., Combes C. & Verneau O. 2011. Correlating early evolution of parasitic platyhelminths to Gondwana breakup. Systematic Biology 60: 762–781. doi: 10.1093/sysbio/syr078
Whittington I.D. & Kearn G.C. 2011. A new species of Dermopristis Kearn, Whittington & Evans-Gowing, 2010 (Monogenea: Microbothriidae), with observations on associations between the gut diverticula and reproductive system and on the presence of denticles in the nasal fossae of the host Glaucostegus typus (Bennett) (Elasmobranchii: Rhinobatidae). Systematic Parasitology 80: 41–51. doi: 10.1007/s11230-011-9308-9
*Whittington I.D. & Kearn G.C. 2011. Hatching strategies in monogenean (platyhelminth) parasites that facilitate host infection. Integrative & Comparative Biology. doi: 10.1093/icb/icr003
*Catalano S.R., Hutson K.S., Ratcliff R.M. & Whittington I.D. 2011. The value of host and parasite identification for arripid fish. Marine & Freshwater Research 62: 72–82. doi: 10.1071/MF10193
*Justine J.-L., Beveridge I., Boxshall G.A., Bray R.A., Moravec F. & Whittington I.D. 2010. An annotated list of fish parasites (Copepoda, Monogenea, Digenea, Cestoda and Nematoda) collected from Emperors and Emperor Bream (Lethrinidae) in New Caledonia further highlights parasite biodiversity estimates on coral reef fish. Zootaxa 2691: 1-40. [Link to Open Access pdf].
*Justine J.-L., Beveridge I., Boxshall G.A., Bray R.A., Moravec F., Trilles J.-P. & Whittington I.D. 2010. An annotated list of parasites (Isopoda, Copepoda, Monogenea, Digenea, Cestoda and Nematoda) collected in groupers (Serranidae, Epinephelinae) in New Caledonia emphasizes parasite biodiversity in coral reef fish. Folia Parasitologica 57: 237-262. [Link to Open Access pdf]
Perkins E.M., Donnellan S.C., Bertozzi T. & Whittington I.D. 2010. Closing the mitochondrial circle on paraphyly of the Monogenea (Platyhelminthes) infers evolution of diet in parasitic flatworms. International Journal for Parasitology 40: 1237-1245. doi:10.1016/j.ijpara.2010.02.017
Whittington I.D. 2010. Revision of Benedeniella Johnston, 1929 (Monogenea: Capsalidae), its assignment to Entobdellinae Bychowsky, 1957 and comments on subfamilial composition. Zootaxa 2519: 1-30. doi:
Catalano S.R., Hutson K.S., Ratcliff R.M. & Whittington I.D. 2010. Redescriptions of two species of microcotylid monogeneans from three arripid hosts in southern Australian waters. Systematic Parasitology 76: 211-222. doi: 10.1007/s11230-010-9247-x
Kearn G.C., Whittington I.D. & Evans-Gowing R. 2010. A new genus and new species of microbothriid monogenean (Platyhelminthes) with a functionally enigmatic reproductive system, parasitic on the skin and mouth lining of the largetooth sawfish, Pristis microdon in Australia. Acta Parasitologica 55: 115-122. doi: 10.2478/s11686-010-0019-1
Deveney M.R. & Whittington I.D. 2010. Three new species of Benedenia Diesing, 1858 from the Great Barrier Reef, Australia with a key to species of the genus. Zootaxa 2348: 1-22. doi:
Perkins E.M., Donnellan S.C., Bertozzi T., Chisholm L.A. & Whittington I.D. 2009. Looks can deceive: molecular phylogeny of flatworm ectoparasites (Monogenea: Capsalidae) does not reflect current morphological classification. Molecular Phylogenetics & Evolution 52: 705-714. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2009.05.008
Barton D.P., Beaufrère C., Justine J.-L. & Whittington I.D. 2009. Polyopisthocotylean monogeneans from carangid fishes off Queensland, Australia and New Caledonia, with a description of Heteromicrocotyloides megaspinosus sp. nov. Acta Parasitologica 54: 205-217. doi: 10.2478/s11686-009-0038-y
Chisholm L.A. & Whittington I.D. 2009. Malalophus jensenae n.g., n. sp. (Monogenea: Monocotylidae) from the gills of Aetomylaeus vespertilio (Myliobatidae) off northern Australia. Systematic Parasitology. doi: 10.1007/s11230-009-9176-8
*Whittington I.D. & Kearn G.C. 2009. Two new species of Neoentobdella (Monogenea, Capsalidae, Entobdellinae) from the skin of Australian stingrays (Dasyatidae). Folia Parasitologica 56: 29-35. doi:
Chisholm L.A. & Whittington I.D. 2009. Dendromonocotyle urogymni sp. nov. (Monogenea, Monocotylidae) from Urogymnus asperrimus (Elasmobranchii, Dasyatidae) off eastern Australia. Acta Parasitologica 54: 113-118. doi: 10.2478/s11686-009-0023-5
Whittington I.D. & Kearn G.C. 2009. Two new species of entobdelline skin parasites (Monogenea, Capsalidae) from the blotched fantail ray, Taeniura meyeni, in the Pacific Ocean, with comments on spermatophores and the male copulatory apparatus. Acta Parasitologica 54: 12-21. doi: 10.2478/s11686-009-0013-7
Minardi D., Paladini G., Whittington I.D. & Fioravanti M.L. 2009. Studio tassonomico di monogenei Capsalidae, parassiti di teleostei ed elasmobranchi in cattività. [=Taxonomic study on Capsalidae (Monogenea), parasites of teleosts and elasmobranchs held in captivity]. Ittiopatologia 5: 171-178. (In Italian; with English abstract).
Glennon V., Perkins E.M., Chisholm L.A. & Whittington I.D. 2008. Comparative phylogeography reveals host generalists, specialists and cryptic diversity: hexabothriid, microbothriid and monocotylid monogeneans from rhinobatid rays in southern Australia. International Journal for Parasitology 38: 1599-1612. doi:10.1016/j.ijpara.2008.05.017
Mooney A.J., Ernst I. & Whittington I.D. 2008. Egg-laying patterns and in vivo egg production in the monogenean parasites Heteraxine heterocerca and Benedenia seriolae from Japanese yellowtail Seriola quinqueradiata. Parasitology 135: 1295-1302. doi: 10.1017/S0031182008004691
Whittington I.D. & Kearn G.C. 2008. Trimusculotrema heronensis sp. nov. (Monogenea, Capsalidae) from the skin of the pink whipray Himantura fai (Elasmobranchii, Dasyatidae) from Heron Island, Queensland, Australia. Acta Parasitologica 53: 251-257. doi: 10.2478/s11686-008-0044-5
Glennon V. & Whittington I.D. 2009. Australian Biological Resources Study Australian Faunal Directory. Class MONOGENEA. http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/abrs/online-resources/fauna/afd/taxa/MONOGENEA. Australian Government, Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts.
PUBLISHED RESEARCH REPORTS:
Whittington I.D., Shinn A.P., Bron J.E. & Deveney M.R. 2011. Innovative Solutions for Aquaculture: Assessment of in situ monitoring techniques and life history parameters for monogenean skin and gill parasites. Final Report to the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC, Project No. 2003/221). 41 pp.
Hutson K.S., Catalano S.R. & Whittington I.D. 2011. Metazoan parasite survey of selected macro-inshore fish of southeastern Australia, including species of commercial importance. Final Report to the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC, Project No. 2007/225). 245 pp.
Membership of Scientific Societies: American Society of Parasitologists; Asian Fisheries Society; Australian Coral Reef Society; Australian Marine Sciences Association; Australian Microscopy & Microanalysis Society; Australian Society for Parasitology Inc.; Helminthological Society of Washington; Oceania Chondrichthyan Society.
A role in my split appointment at The South Australian Museum and The University of Adelaide is public outreach and community engagement to inform people about parasites, parasitism and parasitology. I have presented public talks at the Museum (e.g. Parasitology@SAM; Prolific Pesky Parasites), I have delivered talks to school groups, clubs, societies and the CSIRO Double Helix Science Club and I have engaged with recreational fishers and aquaculturists to inform them about parasites of fish. In my position at The South Australian Museum, I field phone calls for information and advice about parasites from the public and from general practitioners.
Expertise for Media Contact
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