Copepod diversity

We are describing and documenting patterns of copepod species to determine how their diversity evolves.

Copepods are one of the most abundant forms of life on Earth. They are dominant in the community of floating microscopic animals in the oceans, and also inhabit the microscopic spaces between sediment grains. Parasitic species of copepod are found on almost every group of animals, from sponges to whales.

Our research is focused on:
  • large scale colonisation events, including the colonisation of pools of seawater in coastal caves┬áby primitive copepods and the repeated colonisation of freshwater habitats from marine origins
  • how copepod parasitism originated, how parasitic groups have diversified, and how different species use their hosts
  • creating and disseminating online resources to improve access to marine species data and to allow identification of parasitic copepods

Projects include:

  • Bomburiella
    Copepod colonisations

    Find out how researchers are determining copepod colonisation histories of ocean and freshwater systems.

  • Herpyllobius on a polychaete worm
    Copepods as parasites

    Discover how these marine parasites colonise and exploit their hosts.

  • The sea louse Avitocaligus assurgericola
    Sea lice in aquaculture

    Learn about our important work on the life cycle of sea lice, a prevalent and devastating threat to commercial aquaculture worldwide.

  • Lernaeolophus sultanus, a parasitic copepod
    World Register of Marine Species

    We are contributing to the largest record of marine species in the world, informing everything from industry to Wikipedia listings.

Geoff Boxshall
Prof Geoff Boxshall

Merit Researcher in the Crustacea Research Group, focusing on patterns of diversity in copepods and the biology of parasitic copepods from fish and marine invertebrate hosts.


Copepods are small crustaceans, relatives of the crabs and shrimps. They are found in oceans and nearly every freshwater habitat, from bogs and springs to wet forest leaf-litter and the water-filled recesses in plants.

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