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20 December 2012

Die neue Weltordnung der Tiere: Wallace-Karte nach fast 150 Jahren aktualisiert...

18 December 2012

(Fleder)Mäuse als Krankheitsüberträger - Untersuchungen zu Vektoren in Hessens Wäldern...

03 December 2012

Rapid test to save lives of snakebite victims . New diagnostic test awarded 1st prize at the Göttingen Innovation Competition...

22 November 2012

Online-Portal zum Klimawissen wächst...

20 November 2012

Midges in a heat-based test of endurance – evolutionary history determines adaptability to high temperatures...

11 October 2012

„Feed the World 2050“ – Veranstaltung zum Welternährungstag 2012: Wie ernährt man neun Milliarden Menschen nachhaltig? Ernährungssicherung der Zukunft...

21 September 2012

Schutz für die Heimat der Drachenblutbäume: BiK-F, Senckenberg, GIZ und jemenitische Umweltagentur vereinbaren Zusammenarbeit im UNESCO-Weltnaturerbe Sokotra...

17 September 2012

Veranstaltungdreiklang: Vorträge und Diskussionen zur Nachhaltigkeit ...

14 September 2012

Teamwork in the tropics – pollinators and frugivores are less choosy at the equator...

04 September 2012

Pinguine in der Patsche: Neue Zahlen zu Pinguin-Rückgang auf sich erwärmender Antarktischer Halbinsel...

30 August 2012

Klimaentwicklung ist keine Einbahnstraße - Tiefsee-Bohrungen zeigen langfristige Entwicklung des CO2-Kreislaufs...

01 August 2012

Tropical climate in the Antarctic: Palm trees once thrived on today’s icy coasts 52 million years ago...

06 July 2012

Outstanding for the past 15 million years – the Swiss Alps have influenced Europe’s climate since the Miocene ...

05 July 2012

Pilze für die Zukunft: Neuer LOEWE-Schwerpunkt „Integrative Pilzforschung (IPF)“...

28 June 2012

Tree trumps grass to rule the savannas...

26 June 2012

Auf Mückenfang im Auftrag der Wissenschaft - Frankfurter Wissenschaftler unterstützen „Jugend forscht!“ Projekt in Bad Vilbel...

25 June 2012

Vortrag: Tropenkrankheiten – jetzt auch in Europa?...

11 June 2012

Vortrag im Senckenberg: Toxische Lebensretter - Einsatz von Tiergiften in der modernen Arzneiforschung ...

04 June 2012

Unscheinbar und doch gewaltig: Flechten, Algen und Moose sind Großspeicher für Stickstoff und Kohlendioxid...

31 May 2012

Biodiversität und Klima Forschungszentrum vereinbart Kooperation mit Nationalpark Kellerwald-Edersee...

25 May 2012

Allergie durch Klimawandel? - Vortrag aus der Reihe „Natur wirkt!?“...

14 May 2012

Vortrag: Gesundes Stadtgrün – wie Park und Co. unsere Lebensqualität steigern...

10 May 2012

Globaler Online-Atlas der Arten – Großprojekt „Map of Life“ geht an den Start...

07 May 2012

Der BIOTA West Atlas – 10 Jahre Biodiversitätsforschung in einem Buch ...

26 April 2012

Gefährliche Gäste – Parasiten: Vortrag aus der Reihe „Natur wirkt!?“...

24 April 2012

Ein genetischer Personalausweis für Pilze...

20 April 2012

Polar bears are evolutionarily older and genetically more distinct than previously known: ancestry traced back to 600,000 years ago...

17 April 2012

Evolution: Vangas beat Darwin’s finches in diversity ...

10 April 2012

Vortrag: Medizin am seidenen Faden – neue Anwendungsgebiete für Spinnen...

22 March 2012

Viren aus dem Regenwald - Vortrag aus der Reihe „Natur wirkt!?“...

12 March 2012

Neue Senckenberg-Vortragsreihe „Natur wirkt?!“...

29 February 2012

Standing still in running water - Lotic dragon- and damselfly species are less able to track climate change...

24 February 2012

Blick aufs große Ganze – Jahrestagung des Arbeitskreises Makroökologie der Gesellschaft für Ökologie ...

06 February 2012

Klimawandel: Warum aus Wissen so wenig Handeln wird – Podiumsdiskussion mit Harald Welzer und Hans-Werner Sinn...

24 January 2012

Where there’s a worm there’s a whale – First distribution model of marine parasites provides revealing insights...

23 January 2012

Rahmstorf kommt...

10 January 2012

Rettet uns Geo-Engineering vor dem Klimawandel? ...

05 January 2012

Inselhopping zahlt sich aus - Studie unterstreicht Bedeutung des Verbreitungsgebiets bei der Artbildung ...

Press Releases

Where there’s a worm there’s a whale – First distribution model of marine parasites provides revealing insights

Frankfurt am Main, Germany, January 25, 2012. Each year around 20,000 people are infected by nematodes of the genus Anisakis and suffer from illnesses ranging from gastrointestinal diseases to serious allergic reactions as a result. For the first time, parasitologists from the Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (BiK-F) have gathered data on the occurrence of the parasitic worm and have modelled the worldwide distribution of individual species in the ocean. The resulting maps not only enable statements to be made on the occurrence and migration behaviour of certain hosts of the parasites, such as Baleen or toothed whales,  but also provide conclusions on the risk of human infection. The study has just been published in the renowned journal “PloS ONE”.

Freeloaders in the ocean
Until twenty years ago the parasitic nematode Anisakis simplex was still seen as one single species. Now, thanks to molecular biology, we know that the name covers nine different species, which are almost identical optically, but which differ greatly from each other in ecological and genetic terms. The marine parasites have a complex lifecycle, in which they frequently change host. The final hosts for each species are Baleen and toothed whales (so-called cetacea), which absorb the parasite with their food and act as its host until sexual maturity. In order to learn more about the distribution of the parasite and its risk potential, a team led by Prof. Dr. Sven Klimpel, head of the project group on medical biodiversity and parasitology at the Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (BiK-F), combined data from 53 publications with the results of some molecular-biological analyses in one model approach.

Information on the occurrence of the whale hosts
The result of the different data sets is a model that demonstrates the distribution of the individual Anisakis species in the various oceans of the world. Parasites are a fixed component of the marine food web. Their distribution is closely connected with the nutritional habits of their intermediate and ultimate hosts, which are integrated into the lifecycles of the parasites. This means that the distribution and migration behaviour of each whale host can be derived from the model of parasite occurrence. “By means of our molecular analyses and the model based upon them we can draw detailed conclusions about the occurrence of whale species in very specific areas and thus make statements with regard to the size of their population and stock,” says Klimpel. For example, the researchers expect that some of the distribution area boundaries of the whales can be examined by means of the parasite data.

The parasite also infects humans
On the way to the whale, fish, cephalopods and crabs act as intermediate hosts for the parasites. However, just as with whales, herrings etc. can often be found on human menus. This can lead to an infection of humans with parasites via the consumption of fish, the intermediary host. Eating infected fish and fish-based products can lead to so-called anisakiasis. This illness often occurs in regions in which raw or semi-cooked fish is traditionally consumed. Symptoms include severe stomach pains, nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting and fever, or even severe allergic reactions. Around 20,000 people are affected throughout the world each year, with a growing tendency. Hotspots include the coastal regions of Europe, the USA, as well as Japan and developing countries, in which fish and seafood are an important source of protein. In Germany, according to Klimpel, marine fish products are examined very closely for parasites and do not currently pose any acute risk.

Distribution map helps in estimating risk of infection
The parasite distribution maps, which have been modelled for the first time, indicate clearly that each anisakis species is concentrated in specific distribution areas within climate zones and oceans. This is particularly connected with the distribution and migration behaviour of certain final hosts in these areas. Biologist Thomas Kuhn of the BiK-F, who is also involved in the project, summarises the significance of the study as follows: “This knowledge is essential in order to estimate the risk of an anisakiasis infection in certain areas in the world. This is particularly important, because infections no longer remain restricted to the one region in which the consumption of raw or insufficiently cooked fish is traditional. For developing countries in the tropics in particular, there are currently no figures on infection levels, and here we assume that there is a much higher degree of infection, since the population covers its daily protein requirements by eating freshly-caught fish.”

Paper:
Kuhn T, García-Màrquez J, Klimpel S (2011) Adaptive Radiation within Marine Anisakid Nematodes: A Zoogeographical Modeling of Cosmopolitan, Zoonotic Parasites. PLoS ONE 6(12): e28642. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0028642

Online access: http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0028642

Press images

Fischleber mit Anisakis Befall

Anisakis on fish liver, Copyright: H. Möller [Download in 300 dpi]

Zwergwal

Plunging mink wale in antartica, Copyright: Sven Klimpel, BiK-F [Download in 300 dpi]

Springende Delfine

Dolphins in the atlantic ocean, Copyright: Sven Klimpel, BiK-F [Download in 300 dpi]

Verbreitungskarten Anisakis

Distribution of  Aniksakis simplex (s.s.) (restricted to the northern hemisphere) and Anisakis typica, which is particularly common in the Tropics. Copyright: BiK-F [Download in 300 dpi]
Terms of use:  Images may be used for editorial purposes only. Please state the copyright information as given in the image caption. Use of images for commercial purposes prohibited. .

For more information please contact:
Prof. Dr. Sven Klimpel
LOEWE Biodiversität und Klima Forschungszentrum (BiK-F)
Tel.: 069 7542 1895
E-Mail: sven.klimpel@senckenberg.de

or

Sabine Wendler
LOEWE Biodiversität und Klima Forschungszentrum (BiK-F), press officer
Phone +49 69 7542 1838
email: sabine.wendler@senckenberg.de
 

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