- BSc (Honours) Zoology, 2018-2019. The University of Queensland
- BSc Zoology, 2014-2018. The University of Queensland
Understanding the lifecycles, biodiversity and systematics of highly pathogenic turtle parasites, the Spirorchiidae
My research focuses on the biodiversity, systematics and lifecycles of the Spirorchiidae, a family of digenetic trematodes which infect the cardiovascular system of turtles. These parasites have adverse effects on their hosts, as the adults and their eggs can cause lesions in almost every organ system, causing a disease collectively known as spirorchiidiasis. Despite the adverse effects these parasites have on their hosts, there are usually limited and non-specific outward signs of infection
The lifecycles for marine spirorchiids is largely unknown, with lifecycles elucidated for only two species, which utilise spaghetti worms (terebellid polychaetes) and worm snails (vermetid gastropods). My aim is to shed light on the lifecycles of other species of marine spirorchiids, by sampling potential intermediate hosts from Queensland and New South Wales, Australia. By understanding lifecycles, we can better inform strategies for turtle conservation and rehabilitation, as well as use this information to predict spirorchiid infection “hotspots”.
Another large aspect of my research relates to understanding the biodiversity of spirorchiids in Australian marine turtles. Recent studies have uncovered a range of novel genotypes from multiple genera of spirorchiids across the world, and I aim to add to this knowledge so we can truly grasp the biodiversity of spirorchiids, not only in Australia, but globally.