Björn C. Schäffner
Assistant Professor, Institute for Experimental Pathology at Keldur, University of Iceland, Iceland.
Extraordinary Lecturer, Unit for Environmental Sciences and Management, North-West University, South Africa.
E-mail: bjoern (at) hi.is
2006, BS, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Karlsruhe, Germany.
2009, MS, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Karlsruhe, Germany.
2014, PhD, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia.
2014, Postdoc, Biology Centre of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Czech Republic
2014-2017, Postdoc, Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil
2017-2018, Postdoc, Biology Centre of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Czech Republic
2018-2021, Postdoc, North-West University, South Africa
2021-present, Assistant Professor, University of Iceland
Björn Schäffner received his B.Sc. and M.Sc. at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (formerly University of Karlsruhe) in Biology. For his M.Sc. research, performed at the Institute of Parasitology, Biology Centre of the Czech Academy of Sciences (Czech Republic), he studied the diversity of caryophyllidean tapeworms of mochokid catfishes in African freshwater systems. He then joined the Faculty of Veterinary Science of the University of Melbourne in 2010, where he studied the biodiversity and biogeography of trypanorhynch cestodes of cartilaginous fishes (Elasmobranchii) off Borneo and Australia. After obtaining his Ph.D. in 2014, he undertook postdoctoral research fellowships at the Biology Centre of the Czech Academy of Sciences (Czech Republic), the Instituto de Biociências, Universidade de São Paulo (Brazil), and the Unit for Environmental Sciences and Management, North-West University (South Africa) studying diphyllobothriidean cestodes of Arctic seals (Phocidae), trypanorhynch cestodes of Neotropical freshwater stingrays (Potamotrygonidae) in South America, and elasmobranch parasites from Southern Africa. Recently, Björn Schäffner joined the Institute for Experimental Pathology at Keldur, University of Iceland, as a Research Specialist and Assistant Professor, providing diagnostic services and scientific research on parasites infecting companion animals, livestock and endemic wildlife. In addition, he aims to implement a new marine parasitological research stream continuing the work on cartilaginous fishes off Iceland and the implementation of novel host-parasite conservation agendas.
- Assessment of the evolutionary history, systematics and biodiversity of endoparasitic platyhelminths (specifically the class Cestoda) of bony and cartilaginous fishes using integrative taxonomy approaches.
- Multidisciplinary, collaborative research to assess the ecosystem health and anthropogenic impacts on the marine biota using an ancient host-parasite system - threatened species of cartilaginous fishes and their respective endoparasitic platyhelminths.
- Engagement in future conservation agendas on marine apex predators and their parasites and the implementation of dual host-parasite conservation efforts to preserve ancient host-parasite interrelationships, marine life and natural resources for the future.
Selected Publications (recent years):
Pretorius, C., Smit, N.J., Schaeffner, B.C.*, Cook, A.C.* (In Press, 2021). The neglected diversity: Description and molecular characterisation of Trypanosoma haploblephari Yeld and Smit, 2006 from endemic catsharks (Scyliorhinidae) in South Africa, the first trypanosome sequence data from sharks globally. International Journal for Parasitology: Parasites and Wildlife. * dual senior-authorship
Oosthuizen, G., Acosta, A.A., Smit, N.J., & Schaeffner, B.C. (2021). A new species of Grillotia Guiart, 1927 (Cestoda: Trypanorhyncha) from the spotted skate, Raja straeleni Poll, in South Africa. Parasitology International, 82: 102307.
Van Der Spuy, L., Smit, N.J., & Schaeffner, B.C. (2020). Four new species of Acanthobothrium van Beneden, 1849 (Cestoda: Onchoproteocephalidea) from the spotted skate, Raja straeleni Poll, off the Western Cape, South Africa. Folia Parasitologica, 67: 36.
Schaeffner, B.C., & Smit, N. (2019). Parasites of cartilaginous fishes (Chondrichthyes) in South Africa – a neglected field of marine science. Folia Parasitologica, 66: 002.
Schaeffner, B.C. (2018). Hispidorhynchus styracurae n. sp. (Trypanorhyncha: Eutetrarhynchidae) from the chupare stingray, Styracurae schmardae (Werner), from the Caribbean Sea, including new records of Oncomegas wageneri (Linton, 1890). Journal of Parasitology, 104: 685–696.
Schaeffner, B.C., Ditrich, O., & Kuchta, R. (2018). A century of taxonomic uncertainty: re‑description of two species of tapeworms (Diphyllobothriidea) from Arctic seals. Polar Biology, 41: 2543–2559.
Schaeffner, B.C., & Marques, F.P.L. (2018). Integrative taxonomy unravels the species diversity of Parachristianella Dollfus, 1946 (Cestoda: Trypanorhyncha) from both sides of the Panamanian isthmus. Invertebrate Systematics, 32: 278–318.
Beveridge, I., Haseli, M., Ivanov, V.A., Menoret, A., & Schaeffner, B.C. 2017. Trypanorhyncha. In: Caira, J.N. & Jensen, K. (Eds.). Planetary Biodiversity Inventory (2008-2015): Tapeworms from the vertebrate bowels of the earth. The University of Kansas Natural History Museum, Special Publication No. 25. Allen Press, Inc., Lawrence, Kansas, U.S.A., 464 pp.