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Mark A.   Freeman BSc, PhD

Associate Professor of Aquaculture

Originally from England, Mark studied Marine Biology in Wales, specializing in zooplankton communities in Mauritius. After which, he was awarded a British Council scholarship to study larval shrimp in Mexico. He completed his PhD in Scotland, looking for natural pathogens of parasitic copepods (sea lice) causing epizootics on commercial salmon farms. A Royal Society of London Postdoctoral Fellowship, based at the University of Tokyo allowed a further four years study on parasites of farmed fish. He has been an Associate Professor at the University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, working with marine parasites and in marine biotechnology. He returned to Europe in 2014 to continue to work with colleagues at the University of Iceland in Reykjavík, before joining RUSVM in October 2015.


Courses Taught/Teaching:

BSc Marine Biology, University of Wales Bangor, UK AVM - 1: Aquatic Veterinary Medicine - 1 Elective
PhD Aquatic Veterinary Parasitology, Institute of Aquaculture, University of Stirling, UK AVM - 2: Aquatic Veterinary Medicine - 2 Elective
VPRP 906: Introduction to Microbiology


My main area of interest is aquatic parasitology, especially parasites infecting commercially important cultured and wild marine fish and shellfish that are considered to be important from a sustainable aquatic food security aspect and those with zoonotic / food safety concerns. Studies include the identification and characterization of novel / emerging and existing parasites in aquaculture facilities and the natural environment, using molecular, histological and EM techniques. This allows a better evaluation of pathogenicity to the host and enables the development of more sensitive diagnostic tools that can be used to implement improved management and control strategies therefore mitigating potential losses to farmed and wild stocks.


Royal Society of London Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Tokyo (2003-05)

Invited Associate Professorship at the University of Tokyo (2010)

Publication Highlights

M.A. Freeman, J. Fuss, Á. Kristmundsson, M.F.M. Bjorbækmo, J. Mangot, J. del Campo, P.J. Keeling, K. Shalchian-Tabrizi, D. Bass 2017. X-Cells Are Globally Distributed, Genetically Divergent Fish Parasites Related to Perkinsids and Dinoflagellates. Current Biology 27: 1645-1651.

E. Karlsbakk, Á. Kristmundsson, M. Albano, P. Brown, M.A Freeman 2017. Redescription and phylogenetic position of Myxobolus aeglefini and Myxobolus platessae n. comb. (Myxosporea), parasites in the cartilage of some North Atlantic marine fishes, with notes on the phylogeny and classification of the Platysporina. Parasitology International 66: 952-959.

G.D. Stentiford, J.J. Becnel, L.M. Weiss, P.J. Keeling, E.S. Didier, B.A.P. Williams, S. Bjornson, M.L. Kent, M.A. Freeman, M.J.F. Brown, E.R. Troemel, K. Roesel, Y. Sokolova, K.F. Snowden, L.F. Solter 2016. Microsporidia: Emergent Pathogens in the Global Food Chain. Trends in Parasitology 32: 336–348.

T.A. Williams, S. Nakjang, S.E. Campbell, M.A. Freeman, M. Eydal, K. Moore, R.P. Hirt, T.M. Embley, and B.A.P. Williams 2016. A recent whole-genome duplication divides populations of a globally-distributed microsporidians. Molecular Biology and Evolution 33(8): 2002-2015.

S. Gunnarsdóttir · Á. Kristmundsson · M.A. Freeman · G. Már Zoëga 2016. Demodex folliculorum, hársekkjamítill, dulin orsök hvarmabólgu [Demodex folliculorum a hidden cause of blepharitis]. Laeknabladid 102(5): 231-235.

Á. Kristmundsson, Á. Erlingsdóttir and M.A. Freeman 2015. Is an apicomplexan parasite responsible for the collapse of the Iceland scallop (Chlamys islandica) stock. (PLoS One 10[12])

M.A. Freeman and Á. Kristmundsson 2015. Histozoic myxosporeans infecting the stomach wall of elopiform fishes represent a novel lineage, the Gastromyxidae. Parasites & Vectors 7:234.

I. Fiala, M. Hlavnicková, A. Kodádková, M.A. Freeman, P. Bartošová-Sojková, S.D. Atkinson: 2015. Evolutionary origin of Ceratonova shasta and phylogeny of the marine myxosporean lineage. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 86: 75-89.

A.P. Shinn, A.P. Mühlhölzl, C.J. Coates, C. Metochis, M.A. Freeman: 2015. Zoothamnium duplicatum Kahl (Ciliophora; Vorticellidae) associated mortality of cultured Limulus polyphemus L. (Arthropoda; Limulidae). Journal of Invertebrate Pathology 125: 81-86.

Á. Kristmundsson and M.A. Freeman: 2014. Negative effects of Kudoa islandica n. sp. (Myxosporea: Kudoidae) on aquaculture and wild fisheries in Iceland. International Journal for Parasitology: Parasites and Wildlife 3: 135-146.

M.A. Freeman, H. Anshary, K. Ogawa 2013. Multiple gene analyses of the Caligidae indicate that the evolutionary reduction of an appendage in Pseudocaligus represents convergent evolution. Parasites & Vectors 6:336.

Á. Kristmundsson and M.A. Freeman: 2013. Sphaeromyxids form part of a diverse group of myxosporeans infecting the hepatic biliary systems of a wide range of host organisms. Parasites & Vectors 6:51.

M.A. Freeman, J. Kasper, Á. Kristmundsson 2013. Nucleospora cyclopteri n. sp., an intranuclear microsporidian infecting wild lumpfish, Cyclopterus lumpus L., in Icelandic waters.Parasites & Vectors 6:49.

M.A. Freeman
and C. Sommerville 2011. Original observations of Desmozoon lepeophtherii, a microsporidian hyperparasite infecting the salmon louse Lepeophtheirus salmonis, and its subsequent detection by other researchers. Parasites & Vectors 4:231.

M.A. Freeman, A. P. Shinn 2011. Myxosporean hyperparasites of gill monogeneans are basal to the Multivalvulida. Parasites & Vectors 4:220


Current Projects

Myxosporean parasites of invasive lionfish: potential for use as biological tags for population studies.

Phylogeny of fish-infecting apicomplexans.

Apicomplexan parasites associated with coral reefs in Malaysia and the Caribbean.

Parasites in aquaculture and wild fisheries in Northern Europe & Asia

Emerging microparasitic diseases of lumpfish

PKD and climate change

The collapse of the Icelandic scallop industry

Identification of fish X-cells as basal dinoflagellates

Myxosporeans in ornamental fish