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Nicholas Wee

PhD Candidate


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  • BSc (Honours) Marine Biology, 2015-2016. The University of Queensland
  • BSc Marine Science, 2014-2015. The University of Queensland

I’m interested in using taxonomy and molecular sequencing to restructure the organisation of the Monorchiidae


Research

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The focus of my PhD candidature focuses on the Monorchiidae, a relatively large trematode family, comprising of over 250 species and 40 genera. The group is poorly studied in Australia, with few species described despite a rich fish host diversity in the region. The Monorchiidae are generally small, spiny worms with complex spined male and female terminal genitalia. Monorchiids are the only trematode group to possess a spined female terminal organ. The evolutionary and functional biology of this complex feature is presently unknown.


There is also much confusion with the classification among the monorchiids. Some monorchiid members exhibit great diversity in their body organisation which has led to past authors casting doubt on the taxonomic position of many species and on which features are truly important.


I will first attempt to broaden our knowledge about the true diversity of monorchiids in Australian waters. I have already identified a wide breadth of uncharacterised species and am constantly finding more. I will also attempt to resolve these taxonomic problems using a combined traditional morphological and modern molecular sequencing techniques. While there is still much work to be completed, my recent analyses have demonstrated that some monorchiid genera and even the subfamily level classification is inadequate. With additional work, I hope to achieve my ultimate goal of adequately reorganising the classification of the monorchiids.

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Funding

My research has been supported by the School of Biological Sciences and the Graduate School at the University of Queensland (UQ), Moreton Bay Research Station, the Australian Biological Resources Study (ABRS) and the PADI Foundation. I am fortunate to have the support of these organisations as it has increased not only the breadth of my research but also the opportunities to attend international conferences, take part in field trips and collections and generate significant DNA sequences that are crucial to my research.

 

Publications

2019

Wee, NQ-X, Cutmore, SC, and Cribb, TH (2019). Four new monorchiids from the golden trevally, Gnathanodon speciosus (Forsskål)(Perciformes: Carangidae), in Moreton Bay, Australia. Systematic parasitology 96: 265–278.



2018

Cribb, TH, Wee, NQ-X, Bray, RA and Cutmore, SC (2018). Monorchis lewisi n. sp. (Trematoda: Monorchiidae) from the surf bream, Acanthopagrus australis (Sparidae), in Moreton Bay, Australia. Journal of Helminthology 92: 100–108.

Wee, NQ-X, Cutmore, SC and Cribb, TH (2018). Two monorchiid species from the freckled goatfish, Upeneus tragula (Perciformes: Mullidae), in Moreton Bay, Australia, including a proposal of a new genus. Systematic Parasitology 95: 353–365.



2017

Wee, NQ-X, Cribb, TH, Bray, RA, Hall, KA and Cutmore, SC (2017). Two known and one new species of Proctoeces from Australian teleosts: Variable host-specificity for closely related species identified through multi-locus molecular data. Parasitology International 66: 16–26.

Wee, NQ-X, Cutmore, SC, Yong, RQ-Y and Cribb, TH (2017). Two new and one known species of Tergestia (Trematoda: Fellodistomidae) with novel molecular characterisation for the genus. Systematic Parasitology 94, 861–874.



2016

Yong, RQ-Y, Cutmore, SC, Miller, TL, Wee, NQ-X and Cribb, TH (2016). A complex of Cardicola (Digenea: Aporocotylidae) species infecting the milkfish, Chanos chanos (Gonorynchiformes), with descriptions of two new species. Systematic Parasitology 93: 831–846.