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Science of Taxonomy set to get a boost

WORKING OF dangerous parasites and microbes capable of inflicting heavy damages on their hosts will be revealed to budding scientists of the country during a special seven-day Young Scientists' workshop on 'Parasitic & microbial taxa biodiversity and aquaculture implications.'
None | By HT Correspondent, Allahabad
PUBLISHED ON JUL 28, 2006 12:21 AM IST

WORKING OF dangerous parasites and microbes capable of inflicting heavy damages on their hosts will be revealed to budding scientists of the country during a special seven-day Young Scientists' workshop on 'Parasitic & microbial taxa biodiversity and aquaculture implications.'

The event is scheduled to kick-off at Allahabad University (AU) from September 23. Being jointly organised by AU's Parasitology Laboratory and the Jana Jaiv Welfare Society of Allahabad, the workshop will witness leading experts from India and abroad sharing their knowledge with youngsters in an event dubbed as an attempt to rejuvenate the interest of young scientists in the mainstream Science of Taxonomy. The workshop is also aimed at preventing the dwindling number of taxonomists in the country.

"Parasites and associated microbes play a very important role in the lives of their hosts. Nevertheless, relative to the enormous diversity in the multitude of trematode, cestode, roundworms, acanthocephalan and other parasites that live in or on a variety of aquatic and terrestrial organisms, little information is available on the intricate life cycles of those parasites as well as hyperparasitism achieved by micro organisms," said Prof Sandeep Malhotra, the director of the AU's Parasitology Lab.

He said that with the passage of time the culture of prawns (Macrobrachium rosenbergii) after successful transfer of technology from marine environment to plains of UP by AU's Parasitology Laboratory has posed a greater challenge to save them from disease causing infectious agents before these could incur colossal commercial losses. "The general lack of information on bio-geographic distribution of parasitic & microbial species have now complicated the situation of intermingling of alien species fauna with parasitic species inhabiting within or on the organism of inland freshwater bodies. Although behaviour, ecology and physiology are well known, relatively few studies have documented the incidence of parasites and their influence on their hosts," he said.

"The dwindling number of Taxonomists in the country has been a serious concern. Therefore, the exposure of younger generation to the tools in modern taxonomy as well as the art of interpretation of morphological features of taxa to attain command in Systematics would be a useful contribution to rejuvenate the mainstream Science of Taxonomy," he added.

"An effort is, therefore, being made to provide exposure to young researchers of to the most modern aspects of diagnostic aspects of Taxonomy and Systematics in microbial as well as parasitic complexes and to equip young talents to take up challenges with strengthening of basic tools in Taxonomy and Morphometry," he said.

Prof Malhotra said that the field visits to scampi-fish culture ponds and probiotics experimentation to provide exposure to real time situations in the infectious disease cycles as well as biocontrol of microbial diseases would be the focus of the workshop.

"A maximum of 20 young participants will be selected by the organising committee after screening of all applications received. The last date for submission of forms is September 15. The participants will be required to make an oral presentation on the topic of their research," he said.

A workshop medal - Prof Vireshwar Nath Capoor Gold Medal for the best participant and Lt Prof Sohan Lal Mishra Memorial Gold Medal for the best poster presentation - will also be awarded. Prof Malhotra said that a national symposium on bio-safety perspectives would also be held on September 25-26.

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