The workshop will take place in the heart of the Black Forest (Germany) from 29th of September until 1st of October. It is hosted by the Department of Aquatic Ecology (University of Duisburg-Essen, UDE), the Department of Zoology (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, KIT) and the Center for Water and Environmental research (ZWU) at UDE.
Prof. Dr. Bend Sures (UDE) and Prof. Dr. Horst Taraschewski (KIT) took the initiative to meet with experts not only from the existing acanthocephalan network, but also many other scientists, whose research interests recently focus on acanthocephalans.
Acanthocephalans are a small group of parasites that is often neglected, probably because they are less relevant from the human health point of view. However, this taxon represents an old and very unique monophyletic group consisting exclusively of heteroxenous endoparasites, sharing the same anatomical features and life strategy. We are just now starting to understand which roles acanthocephalans may play in natural ecosystems, for example by manipulating the behavior of their hosts, thereby modifying food webs or by significantly altering the flow of pollutants in biotopes. Modern molecular techniques allow a novel view on this taxon and unravel some hidden features which may help to establish acanthocephalans as a model group for selected traits.
The aim of the workshop is to present current knowledge about acanthocephalans, to point out directions for future research and to discuss scientific perspectives in detail among renowned acanthocephalan researchers. The meeting will cover all aspects related to acanthocephalans including ecology and environment, evolution, behavior, physiology, pathology, host-parasite interaction, taxonomy and phylogeny.