Dr. William Font
Professor emeritus and Scholar in Residence
Ph.D., Louisiana State University, 1975
Office: 160 Biology Building
Phone: (985) 549-2476
Office Hours: posted outside office and by appointment
Teaching Expertise: Medical Parasitology, Ecological Parasitology, Evolutionary Biology, Invertebrate Zoology, Invertebrate Ecology
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.