Project groups


Project leader:
Prof. Dr. Sven Klimpel

More than two thirds of the world’s surface is covered by the sea, reaching a maximum depth of approximately 11.000 m (Mariana Trench) below the sea surface with an average depth of 3.800 m. The deep-sea comprises those regions below 200 m water depth, where sunlight is practically absent and the light sources are mainly generated by bioluminescent organisms. The environment is characterized by temperatures around 4°C, high pressure, reasonably good oxygenation and physical homogeneity. The global fish fauna comprises more than 32.000 marine and freshwater species. Of these, perhaps 10–15% (3.200–4.800 species) occur in the deep-sea. Such limited diversity is somewhat surprising, considering the large size of this ecosystem. Marine fish parasitology contributes to various scientific disciplines such as general zoology, ecology, but more importantly to fisheries biology. Fish parasites have been used as biological indicators of migratory behaviour, feeding ecology and population structures in their host populations. Parasitological studies on deep-sea fish species are scarce, compared to studies on commercially important fish and on fish from the shallow coast and shelf regions. However, a detailed understanding of diversity differences among different habitats and zoogeographical regions in the deep-sea is still missing. This project group investigates the feeding ecology and metazoan parasites of pelagic and benthic deep-sea fish species and the evolution of marin parasitic life by identifying life cycles of the major parasite groups Digenea, Monogenea, Cestoda, Nematoda, Acanthocephala and Crustacea. This includes classical biological methods as well as current molecular techniques.


Markus Busch, Ph.D. student
Thomas Kuhn, Ph.D. student


Abdel-Ghaffar, F., Semmler, M., Al-Rasheid, K.A.S., Strassen, B., Fischer, K., Aksu, G., Klimpel, S. & H. Mehlhorn (2011) : The effects of different plant extracts on intestinal cestodes and on trematodes. - Parasitology Research 108: 979-984.

Karl, H., Baumann, F., Ostermeyer, U., Kuhn, T. & S. Klimpel (2011) : Anisakis simplex (s.s.) larvae in wild Alaska salmon: no indication of post-mortem migration from viscera into flesh. - Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 94: 201-209.

Klimpel, S., Kuhn, T., Busch, M.W., Karl, H. & H.W. Palm (2011) : Deep-water life cycle of Anisakis paggiae (Nematoda: Anisakidae) in the Irminger Sea indicates kogiid whale distribution in north Atlantic waters. - Polar Biology 34(6): 899-906.

Kuhn, T., Garcia-Marquez, J. & S. Klimpel (2011) : Adaptive Radiation within Marine Anisakid Nematodes: A Zoogeographical Modeling of Cosmopolitan, Zoonotic Parasites. - PLoS One: e28642.

Mehlhorn, H., Schuhmacher, B., Jatzlau, A., Abdel-Ghaffar, F., Al-Rasheid, K.A.S., Klimpel, S. & H. Pohle (2011) : Efficacy of deltamethrin (Butox® 7.5 pour on) against nymphs and adults of ticks (Ixodes ricinus, Rhipicephalus sanguineus) in treated hair of cattle and sheep. - Parasitology Research 108(4): 963-971.

Verweyen, L., Klimpel, S. & H.W. Palm (2011) : Molecular Phylogeny of the Acanthocephala (Class Palaeacanthocephala) with a Paraphyletic Assemblage of the Orders Polymorphida and Echinorhynchida. - PLoS One: e28285.

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