A group of researchers from the Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT) recently discovered a new parasite species: parasitic fish species that they named after their teacher, Dr. Mohamed Hatha, in tribute to his contribution to science.
The new species, Norileca Hathai, was discovered in the Indian Ocean by the students and researchers of Dr. Hatha, Nashad M, Dr. Aneesh PP, Prof. Bijukumar A and Dr. K. Bineesh. dr. Hatha currently heads the Department of Marine Biology, CUSAT, and has been involved in the study of microbial pathogens for more than 25 years.
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The findings of the new species discovery have been published in the recent edition of the leading international journal Marine Biodiversity Records, a leading daily newspaper reported. Nashad describes the characteristics of the organism and said that Norileca Hathai has a light brown body with large dark stripes on the back and can grow up to 12 to 15 mm in size. It attaches to the host using its pointed appendages called pereopods and feeds on fish blood, but without killing the host.
Nashad claimed that more than 50 species of parasitic isopods exist in Indian waters and infect various groups of fish such as mackerel, sardines, barracuda and silver-bellied fish.
Speaking of Dr. Hatha’s contribution, researcher Aneesh said the professor has been studying microbial pathogens, especially antibiotic-resistant organisms, their mode of survival and their distribution in different locations for more than two and a half decades. He had also visited the Arctic as part of his research on microbial communities in these remote polar regions. dr. Hatha’s first visit to the poles was in 2009 as leader of the Indian Arctic Expedition Team.
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dr. Hatha is also a recipient of the US Government’s coveted Fulbright Scholarship and has been appointed as a Country Ambassador of the American Society of Microbiology (ASM). The same group of researchers had previously named another discovered species after their research guide Dr. Bijukumar as a sign of respect.
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