My research covers a broad range of parasite and host groups, geographic regions and methodological approaches. I am interested in evolution and phylogeny, molecular and traditional systematics, ultrastructure, host specificity, life cycles and geographic distribution of helminths (primarily flatworms) of wild animals.
My favorite parasite groups are digeneans and tapeworms, although I currently work on several groups of nematodes and also bacteria that can parasitize both digeneans and their vertebrate hosts. My systematic and phylogenetic studies span taxonomic levels from differentiation among strains and cryptic species to phylogenetic analyses of the whole class of Trematoda and the largest cestode order Cyclophyllidea. All these things keep me pretty busy.
Majority of phylogenetic projects are global in their geographic coverage and include parasites of various hosts, from marine and freshwater fish to reptiles, birds and mammals.
Throughout my career I was involved in multiple biodiversity survey projects studying parasites in the United States, Australia, Ukraine, Russia, Philippines, Malawi, Romania, Vietnam and other countries.
Here you can find the list of the new species and higher taxa that I have described on my own or in co-authorship with my colleagues. Currently, the list includes 71 new species of digeneans, aspidogastreans, cestodes, nematodes and acanthocephalans belonging to 47 genera and 27 families.
My current projects include, but not limited to:
Southern Amazonian Birds and Their Symbionts: Biodiversity and endemicity of Parasites From the Most Diverse Avifauna on Earth. Collaborative project with the Chicago Field Museum and Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi, Belém, Brazil. NSF BS&I grant.
Revisionary systematics of avian blood flukes. Collaborative project with Dr. Sara Brant, University of New Mexico. Supported by a current grant from the National Science Foundation. Funding period: October 2010-September 2013.
Fauna, systematics and evolution of helminths of insectivores in North America Helminths, particularly cestdoes, of shrews are my favorite parasites. We have described several new taxa, currently describing several more and building a sequence database to study the evolution of the shrew helminths on the continent, in connection with their relatives in the Old World. The up to date checklist of the helminths of insectivores in North America is here.
Zoonotic cycle and transmission dynamics of Neorickettsia. Collaborative project with Dr. Jefferson Vaughan, University of North Dakota. Supported by a current grant from the National Institutes of Health. Funding period 2011-2014.
Parasites of Australian turtles. Collaborative project with Dr. Scott D. Snyder, University of Nebraska at Omaha. Supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation (Awards # 0515492 & 0515460). Funding period: October 2005-September 2010. The project has formally ended, but the work on the data continues.
PBI: A survey of the tapeworms (Cestoda: Platyhelminthes) from the vertebrate bowels of the Earth. This is a major multi-collaborator and multi-national roject led by the PIs Dr. Janine Caira from the University of Connecticut and Dr. Kirsten Jensen from the Unibversity of Kansas. Funded by the NSF BS&I program. I am a sub-contractor in this study mainly focusing on cestodes of small mammals. The project is funded through 2015.
Phylogenetics, taxonomy and biogeography of nematodes of the family Rhabdiasidae. In collaboration with Dr. Yuriy Kuzmin (Institute of Zoology, Kyiv, Ukraine).
Molecular phylogenetics of the Digenea with emphasis on the suborder Plagiorchiata. The study includes taxa at all levels of systematic hierarchy, from relationships of superfamilies and families to differentiation between cryptic congeneric species. I co-work with many collaborators on particular projects.
Molecular phylogeny of the cestode order Cyclophyllidea with emphasis on the Hymenolepididae. The project is aimed at reconstruction of phylogenetic interrelationships among all currently recognized and tentative families within the order and detailed phylogenetic study (at level of genera) of the families Hymenolepididae, Dilepididae, Anoplocephalidae, Gryporhynchidae, suborder Acoleata and several other groups.