About Our Research

We ❤️ parasites

Since 2012 we’ve been working to advance our understanding of swimmer’s itch. We’re interested in learning more about the biology and ecology of the parasites that cause swimmer’s itch and about the environmental factors that influence where and when these parasites emerge from their snail hosts. We also aim to apply our knowledge of swimmer’s itch causing parasites and their hosts to advancing novel control strategies that can exist in harmony with the environment and those who use water for recreation.

Our swimmer’s itch research team

The core of our swimmer’s itch research team is formed by the laboratory of Dr. Patrick Hanington in the School of Public Health at University of Alberta (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada), and Ron Reimink and his team of researchers at Freshwater Solutions LLC (Michigan, USA). This international collaboration has been partnered since 2016 and has made a number of important contributions to our understanding of swimmer’s itch in North America.

Our research contributions

Our primary goal is to advance our knowledge of swimmer’s itch. We undertake long-term, planned research projects that aim to answer specific questions related to the parasites that cause swimmer’s itch and how their impact on water recreation can be minimized. All of our research is undertaken with a vision for eventual publication in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, and when possible, we make that research open access to ensure that those affected by swimmer’s itch can access our work. Below are links to all of our research publications.

Non-resident definitive host presence is sufficient to sustain avian schistosome populations

Evidence of a Putative Novel Species of Avian Schistosome Infecting Planorbella trivolvis

Environmental and ecological factors driving trematode parasite community assembly in central Alberta lakes

Democratizing water monitoring: Implementation of a community-based qPCR monitoring program for recreational water hazards – 2020

Species-specific qPCR assays allow for high-resolution population assessment of four species avian schistosome that cause swimmer’s itch in recreational lakes – 2019

Evaluation of targeted copper sulfate (CuSO4) application for controlling swimmer’s itch at a freshwater recreation site in Michigan – 2019

A fine‐scale phylogenetic assessment of digenean trematodes in central Alberta reveals we have yet to uncover their total diversity – 2019

Use of qPCR-Based Cercariometry to Assess Swimmer’s Itch in Recreational Lakes – 2018

Swimmer’s itch in Canada: a look at the past and a survey of the present to plan for the future – 2018

A comprehensive survey of larval digenean trematodes and their snail hosts in central Alberta, Canada – 2016