Neil Cumberlidge


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Researcher Bio

Neil Cumberlidge


2009 New Science Facility


Research Web Page

University of Durham, UK. Postgraduate Certificate in Education (Biology), 1980

The taxonomy and systematics of the African and Madagascan freshwater crabs. This involves the identification of specimens, the description of new taxa, the construction of taxonomic keys, and the derivation of classifications based on the results of cladistic analysis.

2. The role of freshwater crabs in the transmission of human lung fluke disease (African paragonimiasis) in West Africa, and in the transmission of river blindness (onchocerciasis) to humans in East Africa. This research is aimed at (a) the identification of those species of freshwater crabs that serve as hosts or vectors of the parasites that cause these diseases, and (b) the development of control programs that can best limit the disease.

3. Phylogenetic analyses of the freshwater crabs of the world. This research aims to resolve questions concerning (a) the marine sister groups of the freshwater crabs, and (b) the origin and age of the freshwater crabs. It also focuses on the proper interpretation of the morphological and biogeographical evidence that best explains the present day patterns of distribution of the freshwater crabs.

4. Studies in the ecological physiology of decapod crustaceans. Subject animals are selected according to geographical location (UK: marine crabs and crayfish; Africa and Thailand: freshwater crabs; USA: crayfish). The research questions involve comparative studies of aspects of the cardiac, respiratory, and osmoregulatory physiology, and of the mechanisms of nitrogenous excretion of decapod crustaceans.

5. Freshwater crab conservation. Led a group of specialists from Asia, Africa, and the Neotropics to compile data for the first-ever global conservation assessment of the freshwater crabs. Applied the IUCN Red-List criteria (2004) to assess the threat level of all known species of freshwater crabs. This research aims to identify which species of freshwater crab are threatened with extinction.


PRIME, interdisciplinary, research