David Thieltges appointed honorary professor Marine Parasite Ecology
Parasites’ hidden roles
The opportunity of research-led teaching, should enable a new generation of students and upcoming researchers to unravel the hidden but often pivotal ecological roles of parasites and pathogens in marine ecosystems. Thieltges: ‘There are a multitude of direct effects of parasites on infected hosts that indirectly affect local communities and food webs as well. The distribution and abundance of parasites, in turn, is affected by the distribution of hosts and other ambient biota, leading to intricate relationships between biodiversity and disease risk.’
David Thieltges also sees new parasites entering marine ecosystems and influences on ecosystems due to climate change. Changing environments in the course of climate warming and species invasions are likely to affect both the distribution and the effects of parasites and diseases, which according to Thieltges could have far-reaching repercussions for conservation and management. With the appointment, he complements the existing diverse marine research activities at the RUG on the ecology and conservation of marine ecosystems.
First record of invasive shell-boring worm in the Wadden Sea means trouble for oyster
In October 2014, the suspicion arose that the parasite worm Polydora websteri had found its way to the Wadden Sea. Following years of research, that suspicion has now been confirmed: the worm, that likely originates from the Asian Pacific, has arrived in European waters.