Gulf Coast Research Laboratory
Digenean Family HAPLOPORIDAE
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RESEARCH AND MUTABILITY OF ORGANISMS
In 1937, Dr. Paul C.Beaver published experimental results documenting that the digenean trematode Echinostoma revolutum (Froelich) is a very plastic, mutable organism that expresses differences in form and life cycle when encountering differences in life cycle environmental factors. The additive impact of these host- and life cycle-induced changes, coupling with changes and artifacts derived from variability in specimen collection and preparation techniques, make the investigation of
taxonomic relationships based on life cycle and meristic body data subject to variability in outcome. Many, if not most, of historical studies documented in the more distant past contain conclusions which may be erroneous.

Research Efforts in Haploporidae at GCRL Parasitology

Taxonomy, heretofore based mostly on morphological comparisons, cannot abandon the hierarchy built upon decades of good research. Redefining the taxonomic relationships of thousands and thousands of morphologically related parasitic organisms into a DNA-based tree presents a daunting workload and heavy responsibility. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the family Haploporidae, first established by Nicoll in 1914 to hold trematode helminths with the following morphological characters:

excretory pore far posterior to pharynx; usually at or close to posterior extremity
testes usually not elongate
vitellarium usually follicular
wide taxonomic and geography host distribution
if in turtles, confined to sites in the gut
ventral sucker present
Oral sucker usually or always present
pharynx typically present, very rarely absent or rudimentary
hermaphroditic sac present


SPECIES in Family Haploporidae

 

The Gulf Coast Research Laboratory (GCRL) is located at the nexus of three huge reservoirs of biological research material. The gradients of biodiversity provided by the freshwater wilderness watershed of the Pascagoula River, the unique and well-documented Pearl River system on the West, and their junctions with the Gulf of Mexico provide research opportunities in abundance. Not limited by local material, GCRL is actively collecting Haploporoidean trematodes in all global environments. A Parasitological Molecular Laboratory, a superb facility set aside for DNA analysis of the fresh material constantly arriving, is enabling insightful discoveries in the evolution and zoogeography of Haploporids.

Acknowledgment and Disclaimer
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0529684.

Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation (NSF).
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Change Date 24 November 2011

 

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