Welcome to the Website of the 
Aquatic Division of the molzoolab@UJ


The Molecular Zoology Lab is a molecular research laboratory based at the Department of Zoology, University of Johannesburg, South Africa. 

The Aquatic Division uses genetic and genomic tools to study marine and freshwater animals in southern Africa and elsewhere. Our main focus areas are biogeography, phylogeography, phylogenetics, population genetics, genomics/transcriptomics, conservation biology and invasion biology.

Contact: 
Prof. Peter Teske, University of Johannesburg, Auckland Park 2006, Johannesburg, South Africa; Email: pteske101@gmail.com



                                                                                             Photo: Robert Harcourt


Student Projects/Positions:

We invite applications for the following research projects/positions. Interested South African or international students should please contact the laboratory at pteske101@gmail.com. 



SANCOR/GES Postdoctoral Fellowships in Marine Genomics (Deadline May 30, 2016)

The Molecular Zoology Laboratory at the University of Johannesburg (Auckland Park, South Africa; https://sites.google.com/site/drpeterteske/invites applications for postdoctoral positions to investigate population structure, demographic changes, systematics and environmental adaptation in various marine organisms. The positions are funded for at least 2 years, and will commence no later than September 30, 2016.

These positions are specifically earmarked for female South African researchers from the African, Coloured and Indian population groups. However, white South African females, as well as international applicants (irrespective or race and gender, preferably from elsewhere in Africa), are encouraged to apply, and will be considered if they have scarce skills that are deemed crucial for a particular project. The exact type of work to be done is flexible, and applicants may be involved in multiple projects and collaborate with postgraduate students. Target taxa include sharks, teleosts, crustaceans, mollusks and plants.

All projects will use genomic tools to study marine populations. Such methods are expected to replace traditional genetic approaches (e.g. mitochondrial DNA sequencing and microsatellite analyses) in the near future. Applicants should have at least 3 of the following skills:

1. Development of next-generation sequencing libraries (ddRAD, ezRAD etc.) or comparable laboratory skills (e.g. microsat library preparation) 
2. Analysis of genomic/transcriptomic data by means of unix-based software, or experience with comparable software
3. RNA expression analysis
4. Good scientific writing skills and an adequate track record in publishing scientific papers
5. Good inter-personal skills and the ability to work well in a team

Suitable candidates will initially apply for financial support through the National Research Foundation's SANCOR Postdoctoral Fellowship Call (application deadline: May 30, 2016; commencement of research: between July
1 and September 30, 2016; remuneration: R 120 000 p.a. + R30 000 for running expenses; http://www.nrf.ac.za/content/sancor-postdoctoral-fellowships-call-2016). The option exists to upgrade at a later stage to a University of Johannesburg Global Excellence and Stature fellowship (R 220 000, details to follow).

Interested candidates should please contact Prof. Peter Teske: pteske101@gmail.com. In your expression of interest, please include

a) a full CV, including publications;
b) contact information of 3 academic referees, and
c) a personal statement describing research experience, interests and
career goals (500 words maximum).



MSc and PhD positions in shark genomics (January 2017)

Depending on the outcome of a funding proposal, up to 3 postgraduate positions in shark genomics may be available from January 2017. These positions are specifically earmarked for female South African researchers from the African, Coloured and Indian population groups. However, white South African females, as well as international applicants (irrespective or race and gender, preferably from elsewhere in Africa), are encouraged to apply, and will be considered if they have scarce skills that are deemed crucial for a particular project. The research will focus on the effects of commercial exploitation and the KZN bather protection nets on shark numbers, with a focus on discovering regional populations that may be more heavily impacted than others. Potential applicants should have at least 2 of the following skills. 

1. Genetic laboratory skills such as DNA extraction, PCR, agarose gel preparation, cloning etc. 
2. Data analysis using 'user unfriendly software': command-line driven programs (e.g. unix-based), R etc.
3. Good scientific writing skills and at least one (MSc) or two (PhD) scientific papers in preparation or published
4. Good inter-personal skills and the ability to work well in a team

A background in marine biology/zoology is not required, and we strongly encourage students with a background in biotechnology, botany, biochemistry, microbiology and bioinformatics to apply.

Projects will be jointly supervised by researchers based at the University of Johannesburg, KZN Sharks Board and the University of Bruxelles (Belgium).

Interested candidates should please send an expression of interest to Prof. Peter Teske: pteske101@gmail.com. Please include
a) a full CV, including any publications
b) contact information of 3 academic referees, and
c) a personal statement describing research experience, interests and career goals (500 words maximum).


Free-Standing Postdoctoral Positions/Career Advancement Fellowships

Emerging researchers wishing to get experience and improve their publication profile are invited to join the lab and suggest a research project of their choice, or contribute to ongoing projects. We are particularly interested in researchers who have experience with next-generation sequencing data analyses (or at least with unix-based bioinformatics). For details on deadlines and eligibility, please see https://nrfsubmission.nrf.ac.za.

Postdocs:

South African or foreign researchers holding a PhD can apply for NRF Free-Standing Postdoctoral Fellowships (R150 000 + R10 000 for travel).

Career Advancement Fellowhips:

South Africans with a minimum of two years of postdoctoral experience can apply for funding via the NRF's Career Advancement Fellowship Programme (R350 000 per year + 100 000 for research). 



Internships
Got a gap year and want to get involved in some interesting research? In most cases, our interns get their own projects and are expected to publish at least one paper. 
                             





Latest Publications:

Teske PR, Bader S, Golla TR (in press)
Passive dispersal against an ocean current. Marine Ecology Progress Series.
Teske2014_PyuraInvasion.pdf

Genetic methods have revealed that in marine region dominated by boundary currents, passive dispersal may often take place in the direction opposite to the boundary current. This suggests that wind-driven inshore currents play an important role in dispersing such species. We studied gene flow in a coastal limpet with direct development along the south-east coast of South Africa. Two major regional lineages were identified, and even though dispersal was primarily southward (from the northern lineage into the southern lineage), suggesting that the southward-flowing Agulhas Current is important in facilitating connectivity, there was also evidence for some northward dispersal. A detailed analysis of the single haplotype responsible for this finding suggested that its genetic assignment to the northern lineage was questionable, and a likely artefact of incomplete lineage sorting. A survey of the literature indicates that shared ancestral polymorphisms may have influenced inferences of dispersal against the Agulhas Current, and we suggest that not even significant genetic structure may be sufficient to obtain reliable gene flow estimates in such cases.


Teske PR, Sandoval-Castillo J, van Sebille E, Waters J, Beheregaray LB (2015)
On-shelf larval retention limits population connectivity in a coastal broadcast spawner. Marine Ecology Progress Series 531:1-12 Selected as "Feature Article" for the July 2015 edition
Teske2015_On-shelfLarvalRetention

Boundary currents (such as the East Australian Current, the California Current and the Agulhas Current) are often considered to be the primary drivers of connectivity among populations of coastal species. Using a combination of microsatellite data and oceanographic modelling, we show that boundary currents in temperate southern Australia are not particularly important in maintaining connectivity in the coastal snail Nerita atramentosa, a species whose larvae remain in the plankton for several months. Few of the species' larvae ever reach the region's boundary currents, and those that do will not return to the coast in time to complete development. As a result, the species' genetic structure follows a pattern of "isolation by geographic distance", suggesting that most planktonic larvae settle close to their parent habitat.