Dr. William Font
Professor of Biological Sciences
Biology Building Room 160
(985) 549-3851 fax
B.S. (Biological Sciences) Tulane University, 1966
M.S. (Zoology) Louisiana State University, 1972
Ph.D. (Zoology) Louisiana State University, 1975
Dissertation: An Ecological Approach to the Taxonomy of Alloglossidium
As part of a comprehensive research program on the biology of native Hawaiian stream fishes funded by the Hawai'i Division of Aquatic Resources, I am studying fish parasite communities in order to develop a plan for the conservation and management of these threatened fishes. My research represents the first studies of parasites of Hawaiian freshwater fishes and has documented the presence of eleven species of helminth parasites in these hosts. I have determined that the three most important, disease producing parasites in Hawaiian streams are alien species, introduced into the archipelago with the importation of exotic fishes, mainly livebearers such as guppies, mollies, and swordtails, for mosquito control and as aquarium releases.
In Louisiana, my students and I study the parasites of estuarine fishes and invertebrates. Hurricane Katrina has provided a new focus for these studies and we now conduct research related to changes in parasite and host communities associated with wetland restoration. Currently, with funding from the United States Environmental Protection Agency, we are assessing the threat of exotic zebra mussels which may spread into Louisiana wetlands via Mississippi River diversions that provide freshwater and sediments to rebuild wetlands near New Orleans. We are studying biological factors such as parasites, predators, and native molluscan competitors that may mitigate the spread of the non-native zebra mussel.
Associate Editor Journal of Parasitology
Editorial Board Comparative Parasitology
Review Editor Diseases of Aquatic Organisms
American Society of Parasitologists
Southeastern Society of Parasitologists (Past President)
Helminthological Society of Washington
American Midland Naturalist Associate (Editor for Parasitology 1990-1996)
American Microscopical Society
American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists
Louisiana Academy of Sciences
President's Award for Excellence in Research Southeastern Louisiana University
Font, W.F. and D.C. Tate. 1994. Helminth parasites of native Hawaiian freshwater fishes: an example of extreme ecological isolation. Journal of Parasitology 80: 682-688.
Font, W.F. 1997. Improbable colonists: helminth parasites of freshwater fishes on an oceanic island. Micronesica 30 (1): 105-115.
Font, W.F. 1998. Parasites in paradise: patterns of helminth distribution among streams and fish hosts in Hawai’i. Journal of Helminthology 72: 307-311.
Fiorillo, R.A. and W.F. Font. 1999. Seasonal dynamics and community structure of the helminths of Spotted sunfish, Lepomis miniatus (Osteichthyes: Centrarchidae) from an oligohaline estuary in Southeastern Louisiana, U.S.A. Journal of the Helminthological Society of Washington 66: 101-110.
Smythe, A.B. and W.F. Font. 2001. Phylogenetic analysis of Alloglossidium (Digenea: Macroderoididae) and related genera: life-cycle evolution and taxonomic revision. Journal of Parasitology 87: 386-391.
Criscione, C.D. and W.F. Font. 2001. The guest playing host: colonization of the introduced Mediterranean gecko, Hemidactylus turcicus, by helmith parasites in southeastern Louisiana. Journal of Parasitology 87: 1273-1278.
Curran, S.S., R.M. Overstreet, and W.F. Font. 2002. Thometrema lotzi sp nov. (Digenea, Derogenidae) from freshwater and brackish water fishes of Louisiana and Mississippi (USA). Acta Parasitologica 47: 14-19.
Steinauer, M.L. and W.F. Font. 2003. Seasonal dynamics of the helminths of bluegill ( Lepomis macrochirus) in the subtropics. Journal of Parasitology 89: 324-328.
Vincent, A.G. and W.F. Font. 2003. Host specificity and population structure of two exotic helminths, Camallanus cotti (Nematoda) and Bothriocephalus acheilognathi (Cestoda), parasitizing exotic fishes in Waianu Stream, O’ahu, Hawai’i. Journal of Parasitology 89: 540-544.
Font, W.F. 2003. Global spread of parasites: what do Hawaiian streams tell us? BioScience 53: 1061-1067.
Poort, M. J., C. M. Whipps, V. G. Watral, W. F. Font, and M. L. Kent. 2006. Molecular characterization of a Mycobacterium species in non-native poeciliids in Hawaii using DNA sequences. Journal of Fish Diseases 29: 181-185.
Font, W. F. Parasites of Hawaiian stream fishes: sources and impacts. Special Publication, Bishop Museum, Honolulu, Hawai’i (in press)
Selected Research Grants: