Joanna Cielocha

Joanna Cielocha headshot
Associate Professor of Biology
College of Arts and Sciences
Science Center 220 D

Additional Positions 

Science Coordinator


Ph.D. Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Kansas
M.S. Biological Sciences, Sam Houston State University
B.S. Natural Science, Peru State College


Joanna Cielocha, Ph.D., has broad research interests focused on the discovery of diversity and evolutionary relationships of parasites. Specifically, her research program focuses on tapeworms (Phylum: Platyhelminthes), which parasitize elasmobranch hosts (e.g., sharks and rays). She has studied these parasites from hosts such as spotted eagle rays, sawfishes, and cownose rays in waters around the world including Australia, Vietnam, Solomon Islands, Belize and Costa Rica, as well as the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts of the U.S.

Her research expertise is in taxonomy of a group of adult tapeworms that are almost exclusively parasitic in rays. Taxonomy includes the naming and describing of new species, as well as updating older descriptions, usually with new collections and methods not available to the original authors. Laboratory techniques used in her research include various types of microscopy (dissecting, light and scanning electron microscopes), as well as histology, morphometrics and illustration.

While the majority of Cielocha's research interests are on marine parasites and their hosts, she has other research projects and experience that focus on the parasites of freshwater fish, as well as terrestrial and aquatic insects. All of these areas of study are available to students interested in pursuing undergraduate research with her.