Dr. David Spratt – Parasitologist

Dave Spratt. B.Sc. M.Sc. PhD.

Dr. Dave Spratt is an Honorary Fellow in the Australian National Wildlife Collection, National Research Collections Australia, CSIRO, based in Canberra and has substantial experience in many aspects of wildlife parasitology and in zoonotic diseases.

Dave became interested in working with wildlife while assisting in timber wolf ecology studies at the Wildlife Research Centre in Algonquin Park, Ontario Canada during university summer breaks. It was here that he was exposed to studies of the debilitating effect that the nematode lungworm of deer, Parelaphostrongylus tenuis, had on moose, an aberrant host.

Following graduation from the University of Toronto he commenced Masters studies to determine the migratory pathway of that parasite from the stomach of the host to the central nervous system using guinea pigs as an experimental model.

In1967 he took up a World Health Organisation scholarship in the Department of Parasitology at the  veterinary school at the University of Queensland. His PhD studies centered on the life cycle and pathogenesis of the filarioid nematode occurring in the subcutaneous connective tissue around the stifle joint of kangaroos and wallabies, Pelecitus roemeri (formerly Dirofilaria roemeri). This was followed by a two year postdoctoral stint working on a taxonomic revision of the filarioid nematodes of Australasian marsupials.

In 1973 he joined the CSIRO Division of Wildlife Research in Canberra as a Research Scientist to initiate a program of research on the introduction of additional helminth parasites to augment rabbit control but to develop also studies of the parasite fauna of native Australian animals. The latter was intended to include systematic and life history studies together with assessment of their potential role in host ecology. This broad sphere of work, parasite taxonomy, life cycles, pathogenesis, succession and zoonoses has occupied Dave for almost 40 years and through five Divisional name changes. His provision of diagnostic assistance to medical and veterinary clinicians, biologists and students has proved a rich source of new taxonomic and zoonotic knowledge.

Dave is a Distinguished Service Award winner and  Emeritus Member of the Wildlife Disease Association, a Life member of the Australasian Section of that organisation and a Fellow of the Australian Society for Parasitology.