A major goal in the biodiversity sciences is to understand spatial and temporal patterns and processes of biotic diversity across hierarchical levels, from genetic diversity to ecosystems. This has become particularly critical in the face of rapid environmental and climate change, the threat posed by biological invasions as well as biodiversity loss.

Traditional views that species’ ranges are static have repeatedly been challenged and are now obsolete. Rather, ranges are dynamic and shifts are well documented. This acceptance holds important implications for understanding evolutionary processes such as adaptation, dispersal and speciation.


Principal Investigator – Bettine Van Vuuren:

The aim of my work is to understand spatial biodiversity patterns using molecular ecology tools, and to link these patterns to processes and possible drivers. Most of my work falls within two geographic regions: (a) The arid zone of southern Africa and, (b) Antarctica and the Southern Oceanic Islands with an emphasis on the Prince Edward Islands group.

Prof. Bettine van Vuuren


Principal Investigator – Peter Teske:

My research focuses on genetic structure in aquatic animals, and how it was shaped both by contemporary and historical environmental conditions. The main focus area is coastal southern Africa, a very exciting region in which to conduct this kind of research because this is where the biodiversity of the Atlantic Ocean mixes with that of the Indian Ocean.

Prof. Peter Teske