Four decades of multidisciplinary studies on isopods: a tribute to Pavel Ličar

Bogataj U, Drobne D, Jemec A, Kostanjšek R, Mrak P, Novak S, Prevorčnik S, Sket B, Trontelj P, Tušek Žnidarič M, Vittori M, Zidar P, Žnidaršič N, Štrus J
[ pdf ] [ site ] Acta Biologica Slovenica, 2016

In this paper we review the research on aquatic and terrestrial isopods during the last four decades at the Chair of Zoology, Department of Biology, Biotechnical Faculty, University of Ljubljana. Isopods have attracted substantial attention from our research team in the following areas: functional morphology and developmental biology, host-microbiota specifc interactions, ecotoxicology, and systematics and evolution. We present the rationale for using two isopod species as our central model organisms: the waterlouse (Asellus aquaticus) and the woodlouse (Porcellio scaber). We summarize the most important and interesting fndings about the structure and function of the integument and digestive systems of several amphibious and terrestrial woodlice species during molting and developmental stages, the importance of P. scaber as a model organism in the study of arthropod-microbe interactions, and its central role as a test model in terrestrial ecotoxicity studies. We highlight the role that A. aquaticus has played in studying the evolution of subterranean biodiversity and in the evolution of troglomorphies. In addition to the retrospective view on our research with isopods we also present the scope of our future research, and the importance for zoology (biology). We wish to dedicate this work to our late co-worker, Prof. Dr. Pavel Ličar, who devoted much of his research into studying the digestive system of freshwater asellids (Isopoda: Asellota).