2010 - Visiting Professor, Hanyang University, Seoul
1994 - present Crustacea Researcher (Band 3), Department of Zoology, NHM
1992 - 1994 Senior Scientific Officer, Department of Zoology, NHM
1988 - 1992 EU Research Associate, Delta Institute for Hydrobiological Research (NL)
1987 - 1988 Research Assistant, University of Gent (Belgium)
1984 - 1986 Research Assistant, University of Gent (Belgium)
1988 - 2002 Visiting Research Fellow, State University of Gent (Belgium)
1992 - 1996 Visiting Scientist, Netherlands Institute of Ecological Research
1995 PhD cum laude, University of Gent (Belgium)
1984 MSc, Zoology, University of Gent (Belgium)
2011 - present World Association of Copepodologists – President
2011 Eleventh International Conference on Copepoda 2011, Mexico – Member of International Organizing Committee
2008 - 2011 World Association of Copepodologists – Vice-President
2002 Eighth International Conference on Copepoda 2002, Taiwan – Member of International Organizing Committee
1999 - 2002 World Association of Copepodologists – Member of Executive Council
2000 Associate Professorship/Curator of Crustacea at Zoological Museum - University of Copenhagen – External member of Assessment Committee
World Association of Copepodologists
Prof. Wonchoel Lee - Hanyang University, Seoul, Korea
Prof. John B. J. Wells, University of Wellington, New Zealand
Prof. Susumu Ohtsuka - Hiroshima University, Japan
Dr John D. D. Bishop - Marine Biological Association, U.K.
Dr Diana M. P. Galassi - University of L'Aquila, Italy
Dr Süphan Karaytuğ - University of Mersin, Turkey
Dr Serdar Sak - University of Balikesir, Turkey
Dr Terue Kihara - DZMB, Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg, Wilhelmshaven, Germany
Eleventh International Conference on Copepoda, 10-15 July, Mérida, Mexico: Organiser of Symposium on Molecules versus Morphology - Why can't they be friends?
Eleventh International Conference on Copepoda, 10-15 July, Mérida, Mexico: Organiser of Symposium Symbiotic Copepods - a Celebration of the Life and Career of Ju-shey Ho
Sixth International Crustacea Congress, 18-22 July, Glasgow, U.K.: Organiser of Symposium on Phylogeny of Crustacea.
Twelfth International Meiofauna Conference, 11-16 July, Ravenna, Italy: Chairman of Systematics and Evolution Theme.
Eighth International Copepod Conference, 21-26 July, Keelung, Taiwan: Organiser of Symposium on Molecules vs Morphology: sorting the factual and the artefactual.
Tenth International Meiofauna Conference, 27-31 July, Plymouth, U.K.: Chairman of Systematics and Phylogenetics Theme.
Ninth International Meiofauna Conference, 3-7 July, Perpignan, France: Organiser of Symposium on Heterochrony and the Evolution of Meiofauna.
Copepods are the dominant metazoan group in the marine plankton, are extremely abundant in marine and freshwater sediments and are parasites on virtually every phylum of animals from sponges to chordates. The main theme of my research is the systematics and comparative anatomy of free-living and parasitic copepods, and the application of phylogenetic reconstruction to examine their evolution and ecological radiation, using morphology and molecular markers. Copepods are one of the best models to study fundamental phenomena like the evolution of parasitism and the marine-freshwater transition, and to test fundamental hypotheses such as the claim of oligomerization being the predominant mode of character transformation in Crustacea, and the enemy release hypothesis in invasion ecology.
Schematic representation of the primary habitat of each copepod order © Huys & Boxshall (1991)
Despite its hyperabundance and vast diversity, the phylogenetic position of the Copepoda within the Crustacea is still unresolved. Copepoda has traditionally been placed in the Maxillopoda which is widely regarded as the most controversial class of the Crustacea. Molecular analyses in particular have thus far failed to provide strong support for a monophyletic Maxillopoda or identified it as a paraphyletic taxon. Other workers have argued that there is merit to recognition of the Maxillopoda as a natural assemblage, despite the fact that there seem to be exceptions to every synapomorphy proposed. I have developed an interest in examining the relationships of the lesser known and molecularly undersampled maxillopodan lineages such as the Mystacocarida, Pentastomida, Branchiura and Tantulocarida. It is expected that the new (morphological and molecular) insights gained from these studies will contribute to a better understanding of the relationships of the Copepoda.
My research programme consists of four interrelated projects:
(1) Phylogenetic Relationships of Maxillopoda
Aim. To analyze the phylogenetic relationships between the various groups of the Maxillopoda, one of the six classes currently recognized within the Crustacea, by employing morphological and molecular data across all lineages.
(2) Systematics and evolutionary biology of harpacticoid copepods
Aim. To carry out revisionary work on various families of benthic copepods which will be used as the basis for a synthetic account of the systematics and phylogeny of the Harpacticoida.
SEM micrograph of cephalic region of Arenotopa sp. (Leptastacidae). Photo by R. Huys
(3) Evolution of parasitism in Copepoda
Aims. To carry out morphological and molecular studies on symbiotic copepods in order to determine the cladogenetic events that gave rise to the main lineages and to identify the key innovations associated with them such as the origin of mesoparasitism and dwarf males; to place incertae sedis known thus far from juvenile stages; to generate a new ordinal phylogeny of the Copepoda.
Terebellides stroemi (Polychaeta) infested by three ovigerous females of highly modified copepod Melinnacheres © M.O. MacNaughton
(4) Copepods and the transition from marine to freshwater habitats: a model for studying oligomerization
Aims. To use molecular data to analyze relationships within various freshwater lineages showing distinct progressive reduction in body morphology; to use the molecular trees to test the importance of oligomerization in copepod evolution and the widely accepted irreversibility of character transformations in this group.
Phylogenetic relationship of semiterrestrial Cancrincolidae - symbionts of landcrabs © Huys et al. (2009) Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 51: 143–156.
HUYS, R. & G.A. Boxshall (1991). Copepod Evolution. The Ray Society, London. pp. 468.
HUYS, R., J.M. Gee, C.G. Moore & R. Hamond (1996). Marine and Brackish Water Harpacticoid Copepods: Part I. Keys and notes for the identification of genera. Synopses of the British Fauna (New Series). Published for the Linnean Society of London and the Estuarine and Coastal Sciences Association. i-vii, 1-352.
Field Studies Council