Dr Peter Teske

Genetic approaches are a powerful tool to detect previously overlooked biodiversity. My research focuses on genetic structure in marine animals and how it was shaped both by contemporary and historical environmental conditions. I have mostly worked on marine invertebrates and on fishes in southern Africa, a very exciting region in which to conduct phylogeographic research because this is where the biodiversity of the Atlantic Ocean mixes with that of the Indian Ocean (please see publication #3 below). Most of the “species” I have studied turned out to be species complexes, and the ranges of these are typically limited by environmental discontinuities. While based at Flinders, I will develop new tools to study how such “cryptic” species are adapted to their environment and to develop microsatellite libraries to uncover genetic patterns that have evolved very recently. The temperate marine fauna of southern and eastern Australian is very similar to that of southern Africa, but the oceanography and coastal topography of the two regions differs considerably. My long-term goal is to contrast what factors led to the evolution of new species in temperate Australia and southern Africa.

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Current research projects

– Comparative phylogeography of temperate Australian coastal invertebrates

–  Evolutionary history of the crab genera Hymenosoma (southern Africa) and Amarinus (Australia)

–  Sex-specific genetic structure in marine mussels

–  Population genetics of Antarctic terns

–  Stock structure in commercially exploited southern African seabreams

For further information:


 Teske PR, Papadopoulos I, Mmonwa L, Matumba TG, Barker NP, McQuaid CD, Beheregaray LB (2011) Climate-driven divergence of limpets with different life histories across a southeast African marine biogeographic disjunction: different processes, same outcome. Molecular Ecology 20, 5025-5041.

– Teske PR, Rius M, Styan C, Piggott M, Walls K, Page M, Grünewald CF, Benhissoune S, Cooke G, McClusky C, Banks S, Attard K, Barker NP, McQuaid CD, Beheregaray LB (2011) “Nested” cryptic diversity in a widespread marine ecosystem engineer: a challenge for detecting biological invasions. BMC Evolutionary Biology11, 176– highly accessed! –

– Teske PR, von der Heyden S, McQuaid CD, Barker NP (2011) A review of marine phylogeography in southern Africa. South African Journal of Science 107, 43-53

– Rius MTeske PR (2011) A revision of the Pyura stolonifera species complex (Ascidiacea: Pyuridae), with a description of a new species from Australia. Zootaxa2754, 27-40 – highly accessed! –

– Teske PR, FRG Forget, Cowley PD, von der Heyden S, Beheregaray LB (2010) Connectivity between marine reserves and exploited areas in the philopatric reef fish Chrysoblephus laticeps (Teleostei: Sparidae). Marine Biology157, 2029-2042

– Rourke ML, Beheregaray LB, Teske PR, Gilligan D (2010) Isolation and characterization of microsatellite loci in the Australian freshwater catfish (Tandanus tandanus). Conservation Genetics Resources2, 245-248

– Teske PR, Beheregaray LB (2009) The rise of seahorses. Australasian Science, Nov/Dec issue.

– Teske PR, Beheregaray LB (2009)Evolution of seahorses’ upright posture was linked to Oligocene expansion of seagrass habitats.Biology Letters5, 521-523

– Teske PR, McLay C, Sandoval-Castillo J, Papadopoulos I, Newman BK, Carvalho D, Griffiths CL, McQuaid CD, Barker NP, Borgonie G, Beheregaray LB (2009) Tri-locus sequence data reject a “Gondwanan origin hypothesis” for the African/South Pacific crab genus HymenosomaMolecular Phylogenetics and Evolution53, 23-33

– Teske PR, Winker H, McQuaid CD, Barker NP (2009) A tropical/subtropical marine biogeographic disjunction in southeastern Africa separates two Evolutionarily Significant Units of an estuarine prawn. Marine Biology 165, 1265-1275

– Cardoso de Carvalho D, Andrade de Oliveira DA, Enemir dos Santos J, Teske PR, Beheregaray LB, Schneider H, Sampaio I (2009) Genetic characterization of native and introduced populations of the neotropical cichlid genus Cichla in Brazil. Genetics and Molecular Biology32, 601-607

– Teske PR, Cowley PD, Forget FRG Beheregaray LB (2009) Microsatellite markers for the roman, Chrysoblephus laticeps (Teleostei: Sparidae), an overexploited seabream from South Africa. Molecular Ecology Resources9, 1162-1164

– Teske PR, Beheregaray LB (2009) Intron-spanning primers for the amplification of the nuclear ANT gene in decapod crustaceans. Molecular Ecology Resources9, 774-776

– Teske PR, Papadopoulos I, Newman BK, Dworschak PC, McQuaid CD, Barker NP (2008) Oceanic dispersal barriers, adaptation and larval retention: an interdisciplinary assessment of potential factors maintaining a phylogeographic break between sister lineages of an African prawn. BMC Evolutionary Biology 8, 341

– Nicastro KR, Zardi GI, McQuaid CD, Teske PR, Barker NP (2008) Coastal topography drives genetic structure in marine mussels. Marine Ecology Progress Series368, 189-195

– D’Amato ME, Harkins GW, de Oliveira T, Teske PR, Gibbons MJ (2008) Molecular dating and biogeography of the neritic krill NyctiphanesMarine Biology155, 243–247

– Teske PR, Hamilton H, Matthee CA, Barker NP (2007) Signatures of seaway closures and founder dispersal in the phylogeny of a circumglobally distributed seahorse lineage. BMC Evolutionary Biology 7, 138

– Teske PR, Papadopoulos I, Newman BK, McQuaid CD, Barker NP (2007) Climate change, genetics or human choice: why were the shells of mankind’s earliest ornament larger in the Pleistocene than in the Holocene? PLoS ONE 2, e614

– Teske PR, Papadopoulos I, Zardi GI, McQuaid CD, Griffiths CL, Edkins MT, Barker NP (2007) Implications of life history for genetic structure and migration rates of five southern African coastal invertebrates: planktonic, abbreviated and direct development. Marine Biology 152, 697-711

– Teske PR, Lourie SA, Matthee CA, Green D (2007) Hippocampus queenslandicus Horne, 2001 – a new seahorse species or yet another synonym? Australian Journal of Zoology 55, 139-145

– Teske PR, McQuaid CD, Barker NP (2007) Lack of genetic differentiation among four southeast African intertidal limpets (Siphonariidae): phenotypic plasticity in a single species? Journal of Molluscan Studies 73, 223-228

– Zardi GI, McQuaid CD, Teske PR, Barker NP (2007). Unexpected genetic structure of mussel populations in South Africa: indigenous Perna perna and invasive Mytilus galloprovincialisMarine Ecology Progress Series 337, 135-144

– Teske PR, Froneman PW, McQuaid CD, Barker NP (2007) Phylogeographic structure of the caridean shrimp Palaemon peringueyi in South Africa: further evidence for intraspecific genetic units associated with marine biogeographic provinces. African Journal of Marine Science 29, 253-258

– Edkins MT, Teske PR, Griffiths CL, Papadopulos I (2007) Genetic and morphological analyses suggest that southern African crown crabs, Hymenosoma orbiculare, represent five distinct species. Crustaceana 80, 667-683

– Teske PR, Oosthuizen A, Papadopoulos I, Barker NP (2007) Phylogeographic structure of South African Octopus vulgaris revisited: identification of a second lineage near Durban harbour. Marine Biology 151, 2119-2122

– Galbusera PHA, Gillemot S, Jouk P, Teske PR, Hellemans B, Volckaert FAMJ (2007) Microsatellite markers developed for the endangered Knysna seahorse, Hippocampus capensis, and their use in the detection of a genetic bottleneck. Molecular Ecology Notes 7, 638-640

– Teske PR, Lockyear JF, Hecht, T, Kaiser H (2007) Does the endangered Knysna seahorse, Hippocampus capensis, have a preference for aquatic vegetation type, cover or height? African Zoology 42, 23-30

– Teske PR, McQuaid CD, Froneman PW, Barker NP (2006) Impacts of marine biogeographic boundaries on phylogeographic patterns of three South African estuarine crustaceans. Marine Ecology Progress Series 314, 283-293

– Lockyear JF, Hecht T, Kaiser H, Teske PR (2006) The distribution and abundance of the endangered Knysna seahorse, Hippocampus capensis, in South African estuaries. African Journal of Aquatic Science 31, 275-283

– Teske PR, Hamilton H, Palsbøll PJ, Choo CK, Gabr H, Lourie SA, Santos M, Sreepada A, Cherry MI, Matthee CA (2005) Molecular evidence for long-distance colonization in an Indo-Pacific seahorse lineage. Marine Ecology Progress Series 286, 249-260

– Teske PR, Cherry MI, Matthee CA (2004) The evolutionary history of seahorses (Syngnathidae: Hippocampus): molecular data suggest an Indo-Pacific origin and two invasions of the Atlantic Ocean. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 30, 273-286

– Teske PR, Wooldridge TH (2004) Affinities of some common macroinvertebrates to salinity and sediment type: empirical data from Eastern Cape estuaries, South Africa. African Zoology 39, 183-192

– Teske PR, Cherry MI, Matthee CA (2003) Population genetics of the endangered Knysna seahorse, Hippocampus capensisMolecular Ecology 12, 1703-1715

– Teske PR, Wooldridge TH (2003) What limits the distribution of subtidal macrobenthos in permanently open and temporarily open/closed South African estuaries? Salinity vs. sediment particle size. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 57, 225-238

– Teske PR, Wooldridge TH (2001) A comparison of the macrobenthic faunas of permanently open and temporarily open/closed South African estuaries. Hydrobiologia 464, 227-243