Area: Natural History
B.S., Biological Sciences, University of Connecticut, 1996
M.S., Zoology, University of Connecticut, 2002
Ph.D., Zoology, University of Connecticut, 2006
Claire Healy is an Associate Curator of Invertebrate Zoology. She is also a cross-appointed Assistant Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Toronto.
Claire’s lifelong fascination with invertebrates was sparked when she first handled moon snails and explored tide pools as a child on vacation in Maine. Her interests in zoology and marine biology led her to attend the University of Connecticut, where she studied invertebrate zoology and was immediately captivated by the study of parasites, biodiversity, and systematics. In addition to being a zoologist and a systematist specializing in the study of parasites, Claire is a taxonomist trained as part of a U.S. initiative to produce a new generation of taxonomists and modernize the science of taxonomy.
Claire’s research focuses on the diversity, evolutionary history, and comparative morphology of tapeworms (parasitic flatworms, also known as cestodes). She is particularly interested in the diverse groups of tapeworms that exclusively parasitize chondrichthyan fishes (the cartilaginous fishes, including chimaeras, sharks, and rays).
Claire’s research entails extensive fieldwork, which has led her to discover and describe numerous species new to science from localities around the world, including Senegal, Borneo, northern Australia, and New Zealand. Her work involves the study of morphological character evolution, ontogeny and homology, ultrastructure, molecular and morphological systematics, biogeography, and host-parasite associations. Techniques employed in her research include light microscopy, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), histological sectioning, gene sequencing, and phylogenetic analysis of morphological and genetic data.