Scholars 2008

2008 Future - Geosciences

Shenkar Noa

Tel Aviv University, Department of Zoology

"Molecular Versus Morphological Approaches to Systematics of the Class Ascidiacea (Phylum: Chordata)"

Summary of Research, July 2008

The main research in the Shenkar laboratory is focused in two main topics: on the taxonomic level:
1) biodiversity of the class Ascidiacea, and on the ecological level

2) marine bioinvasion and the use of ascidians as biological indicators of marine environments. 

​Ascidians are a key ecological group because of their invasive potential and ability to thrive in eutrophic (nutrient-rich) environments. Introductions of non-indigenous ascidians into harbors in both tropical and temperate waters are now commonplace, with the rate of introductions increasing and creating severe damage to natural fauna by overgrowth and alternation of the benthic community. The proximity of the Red Sea coral reef environment and the Israeli Mediterranean rocky shore, together with the opening of the Suez Canal, presents unique opportunities for studying marine bioinvasion along the coasts of Israel, and to explore the great potential of ascidians as bio-indicators of marine environments.