Our research

Within the species  Saprolegnia parasitica there are several different strains.  A strain is a genetic variant of a microorganism.

Currently, no research has attempted to track these strains in the environment or explore the fundamental differences between these strains. 


As a result, this research project was born! 

Our scientific research is primarily based at Cardiff University, with a KESS II funded PhD student Emily Matthews (shown left). 

Main aim of this research is to;


 Develop a method to identify and distinguish between different strains of Saprolegnia parasitica.

This will allow us to monitor the movement S. parasitica strains in the environment and identify infection pathways between farmed and wild fish stocks and vice versa.

We will also;

(1) Record the environmental conditions (water quality, pH etc.)
where the strains are found.
(2) Compare the strains in terms of;

  • The fish species they prefer to infect
  • How infective they are, i.e. how quickly the infection spreads within a fish population
  • Where they are found in the environment
  • How commonly they occur in the environment

This will help us to identify potential risk factors associated with S. parasitica outbreaks.


We're now in the second year of this project. If you'd like to read an update compiled by our project partners, The Environment Agency, please click the following link;  

Sap project update 2016-17 draft final


 This is just one of many research projects undertaken by Cardiff University.

For more information on the research conducted by our research group; Cardiff Research into Infection and Parasites in Ecological Systems (CRIPES) or the Cardiff University Water Research Institute, please follow the links on the right.

Tracking Saprolegnia infections around the UK