I am a specialist in aquatic ecology with an interdisciplinary background and several years of experience working with a variety of marine organisms. I am curious about how ecosystems, organisms, and human society are being impacted by climate change. My main study area are crustaceans and larval biology, and I am particularly interested in how parasitic crustaceans affect marine ecosystems and aquaculture. I aspire to find innovative ideas and solutions that can make a positive environmental impact in research and aquaculture industry and contribute to better and more sustainable management of marine ecosystems.
- (2022) Šargač Z, Giménez L, González-Ortegón E, Harzsch S, Tremblay N, Torres G: Quantifying the portfolio of larval responses to salinity and temperature in a coastal-marine invertebrate: a cross population study along the European coast. Mar Biol 169:81.
- (2021) Šargač Z, Giménez L, Harzsch S, Krieger J, Fjordside K, Torres G: Contrasting offspring responses to variation in salinity and temperature among coastal populations: a maladaptive ecological surprise? MEPS 677: 51-65.
- (2021) Torres G, Melzer R, Spitzner F, Šargač Z, Harzsch S, Giménez L: Methods to study organogenesis in decapod crustacean larvae I: larval rearing, preparation and fixation. Helgol Mar Res 75:3.
- (2021) Melzer R R, Spitzner F, Šargač Z, Hörnig M, Krieger J, Haug C, Haug JT, Kirchhoff T, Meth R, Torres G, Harzsch S: Methods to study organogenesis in decapod crustacean larvae II: analysing cells and tissues. Helgol Mar Res 75:2.
Larval development and settlement patterns in parasitic barnacles: effects of environmental drivers, inter- and intra-population difference, and host specificity
Project is running from 2023-2026 and is part of the SEAS programme (Shaping European Research Leader for Marine Sustainability), funded by Horizon 2020 and Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant.
For sustainable use of marine resources, we need to expand the knowledge about processes and organisms in marine ecosystems. In Europe, decapod crabs are economically and ecologically important animals at coastal habitats, while fjords and their deep-sea benthic communities are peculiar ecosystems that are still largely unexplored. Understanding the impact of parasites on these ecosystems and how climate change may affect them is crucial for the management of marine areas in the future. Parasites have significant impact in marine habitats and can cause major issues in fisheries and aquaculture. Their larval stages are crucial for settlement and dispersal while adult forms are known to sterilize its host and can significantly affect populations of many commercially important species. This multidisciplinary study investigates larval development and settlement of two parasitic barnacles, Sacculina carcini and Anelasma squalicola. S. carcini is a well-known parasitic barnacle that infects and castrates numerous decapod European crab species, while A. squalicola is a unique parasitic barnacle that has recently made its transition into parasite mode of feeding and is the only known barnacle that parasite vertebrate species, deep-sea sharks. This interdisciplinary research will combine field and laboratory experiments, together with various classical, molecular, and genetic analyses. By using multiple population common garden setup and settlement assays to test the host specificity, we will investigate larval performance of these parasites in different environmental treatments and investigate their host choices for settlement. The goal of this project is to determine specificity of parasites on several known European coastal crab species and potential to infect different new fish species. Understanding ecology of the species, environmental processes, host-parasite interactions, and spatio-temporal patterns in infection prevalence is essential for future management of marine ecosystems and aquaculture. Findings from this project will help in future assessments of marine habitats and resources and provide input for safer manipulation of invasive marine species by parasite-based biological control.