Assoc Prof Ian Whittington


Ian joined the Museum in late 2001 from the University of Queensland in Brisbane after nearly 16 years as a post-doctoral fellow, lecturer and senior lecturer in parasitology. He also spent three years as Director of the Heron Island Research Station at the southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef. In 2003, Ian was co-appointed as a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Adelaide.

Ian is currently the Head of Biological Sciences at the Museum and is the senior science representative on the Museum's Executive Team.


Position at Other Organisation

  • Senior Research Fellow, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Adelaide


Research Interests

Marine parasites, especially of fishes, with specific expertise on biology, ecology, systematics and phylogeny of the flatworm parasites, the Monogenea. Particular interests include adaptations to parasitism by monogeneans such as lifecycle strategies, host finding, attachment and parasite biology to develop treatment and control measures for infected fishes in aquaculture and aquaria.

Current Research Projects 

Innovative solutions for aquaculture: Assessment of in situ monitoring techniques and life history parameters for monogenean skin and gill parasites. I. D. Whittington, A. P. Shinn, J. E. Bron (University of Stirling, Scotland) and M. R. Deveney (SARDI).  2010–, Fisheries Research & Development Corporation, $25,200.
A survey of the elasmobranchs and their metazoan parasites of Malaysian and Indonesian Borneo. J. N. Caira (University of Connecticut, USA), K. Jensen (University of Kansas, USA), P. Last (CSIRO) and G. J. P. Naylor (University of Florida, USA) with L. A. Chisholm and I. D. Whittington among several international collaborators. 2008–, United States National Science Foundation’s Biotic Surveys and Inventories Program.

Awards & Achievements 

  • University of Queensland Postdoctoral Fellow (1987–88)
  • Queen Elizabeth II Fellow, University of Queensland (1990–92)
  • Visiting Professor, Centro de Investigaciones Biologicas del Noroeste (CIBNOR), La Paz, Mexico (2006)

Professional Associations

  • Editorial Board Member, Acta Parasitologica, published by Springer (2008–current)
  • Editorial Board Member, Folia Parasitologica, published by the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic (2000–current)
  • Editorial Board Member, Journal of Natural History, published by Taylor and Francis, (2001–current)
  • Editorial Board Member, Systematic Parasitology, published by Springer (1999–current)
  • Member, American Society of Parasitologists
  • Member, Asian Fisheries Society
  • Member, Australian Coral Reef Society
  • Member, Australian Marine Sciences Association
  • Member, Australian Microscopy and Microanalysis Society
  • Member, Australian Society for Parasitology Inc
  • Member, Helminthological Society of Washington
  • Member, Oceania Chondrichthyan Society



  • BSc (Hons), University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK (1982)
  • PhD, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK (1986)

Current Teaching Responsibilities

Undergraduate courses at the University of Adelaide:

  • Zoology II
  • Frontiers in Marine Biology
  • Research Methods in Marine Biology


Supervision of PhD students from the University of Adelaide: 

  • Ms Sarah Catalano. Project: Using dicyemid mesozoan parasites to infer the population structure of giant Australian cuttlefish, Sepia apama in southern Australian waters.

Media Expertise 

Marine parasites; marine parasitology; parasitic worms; parasitism; fish parasites; flatworms; worms and aquaculture; fish farms; fish farming; ectoparasites; parasites of sharks, rays and fishes; transmission and infection of fish by parasites; endoparasites; control of marine parasites; public display aquaria; bioadhesives. 



Journal titles are linked to online abstracts and to full articles, if available.

  1. Catalano S. R., Whittington I. D., Donnellan S. C., and Gillanders B. M. (2014).  Dicyemid fauna composition and infection patterns in relation to cephalopod host biology and ecology.  Folia Parasitologica (ahead of print online version).
  2. Catalano S. R., Whittington I. D., Donnellan S. C., and Gillanders B. M. (2013).  Using the giant Australian cuttlefish (Sepia apama) mass breeding aggregation to explore the life cycle of dicyemid parasites.  Acta Parasitologica 58: 599–602.
  3. Catalano, S., Donnellan, S., Whittington, I., and Gillanders, B. (2013).  Cephalopod secrets: marine parasites reveal all about their hosts.  e-Science (The University of Adelaide Science Magazine) issue 6 (July 2013): 18–23.
  4. Justine, J.-L., Beveridge, I., Boxshall, G. A., Bray, R. A., Miller, T. L., Moravec, F., Trilles, J.-P., and Whittington, I. D. (2012). An annotated list of fish parasites (Isopoda, Copepoda, Monogenea, Digenea, Cestoda, Nematoda) collected from Snappers and Bream (Lutjanidae, Nemipteridae, Caesionidae) in New Caledonia confirms high parasite biodiversity on coral reef fish. Aquatic Biosystems 8: 22.
  5. Kearn, G. C., Whittington, I. D., and Thomas, P. (2012). A new species of Asthenocotyle Robinson, 1961 (Monogenea: Microbothriidae), a skin parasite of the great lanternshark, Etmopterus princeps Collett from the Azores, with a redescription of A. kaikourensis Robinson, 1961 and observations on A. taranakiensis Beverley-Burton, Klassen & Lester, 1987. Systematic Parasitology 83: 145–158.
  6. Chisholm, L. A. and Whittington, I. D. (2012).  Three new species of Merizocotyle Cerfontaine, 1894 (Monogenea: Monocotylidae) from the nasal tissues of dasyatid rays collected off Malaysian and Indonesian Borneo. Systematic Parasitology 82: 167–176.
  7. Whittington, I. D. (2012). ‘Benedenia seriolae and Neobenedenia species’ in Woo, P. T. K. and Buchmann, K. (eds.) Fish Parasites: Pathobiology and Protection,  pp. 225–244. Wallingford, Oxfordshire, UK: CABI.
  8. Whittington, I. D. and Deveney, M. R. (2011). New Benedenia species (Monogenea: Capsalidae) from Diagramma labiosum (Perciformes: Haemulidae) from the Great Barrier Reef, Australia, oncomiracidial descriptions and a report of egg attachment to the host. Journal of Parasitology 97: 1026–1034.
  9. Kearn, G. C., Whittington, I. D., and Evans-Gowing, R. (2011).  Spermatophores in Dermopristis cairae Whittington et Kearn, 2011 (Monogenea, Microbothriidae). Acta Parasitologica 56: 371–376.
  10. Deveney, M. R. and Whittington, I. D. (2011).  Revision of Dioncopseudobenedenia Yamaguti, 1965 including the description of D. ancoralis sp. n. (Monogenea: Capsalidae) from Pacific acanthuroid teleosts. Folia Parasitologica 58: 257–272.