Dr Jacqueline Bishop

Evolutionary genetics and conservation biology
Phone: +27 (0)21 650 3631
Email: jacqueline [dot] bishop [at] uct [dot] ac [dot] za

Research Interests

Evolutionary Genetics; Adaptive vs Neutral Genetic variation; Conservation Genetics; Molecular Evolution; Determinants of Effective Population Size 

My research interests centre on the use of molecular, behavioural and ecological data to understand the relative contributions of genetic drift and selection in shaping variation in natural populations of vertebrates. This involves a range of molecular and analytical approaches to elucidate evolutionary genetic history from the level of individuals and parentage assignment to the analysis of genes, populations and species. I have an ongoing interest in the evolutionary drivers of mate choice behaviour, together with understanding the relative importance of adaptive genetic variation in free-living populations, and working within this framework I use a number of taxa as models to test current theories. These have included crocodiles, rhinoceros, baboons and mole-rats, and more recently seabirds, bats and marine fish. 


Collaborative Research Projects:

The roles of selection and drift in the evolution of variation in bat echolocation. A/Prof David Jacobs, SARCHi University of Cape Town. 

Seabird conservation genetics. A/Prof Peter Ryan, Fitzpatrick Institute of African Ornithology, UCT 

Climate change, habitat connectivity and pathogens in Fynbos birds. Dr Phoebe Barnard SANBI, Dale Wright Birdlife SA, A/Prof Peter Ryan Fitzpatrick Institute of African Ornithology, UCT 

Hybrid zones in chacma baboon. A/Prof Rebecca Ackermann, UCT 

Conservation genetic approaches in the management of Cape Peninsula chacma baboons. Prof Justin O’Riain, UCT  

The role of landscape evolution in the evolutionary history of Nile crocodiles. Dr Woody Cotterill Africa Earth Observatory Network (AEON), Dr Alison Leslie University of Stellenosch & Dr Evon Hekkala Fordham University New York 


Courses Lectured:

BIO1000 Cell Biology; BIO2010 Principles of Ecology & Evolution; BIO3010 Systematics and Macro Evolution; BIO3014 Conservation: Genes, Populations & Biodiversity (course convener); MCB3023 Molecular Evolutionary Genetics & Development; ZOO5003 MSc in Conservation Biology 


Recent publications

S Stathopoulos, JM Bishop C O'Ryan (in press) Genetic signatures for enhanced olfaction in the African mole-rats. PLoS ONE.

LJ Odendaal, DS Jacobs, JM Bishop (in press) Sensory trait variation in an echolocating bat suggests roles for both selection and plasticity. BMC Evolutionary Biology.   

FPD Cotterill, PJ Taylor, S Gippoliti, JM Bishop, CP Groves (in press) Why one century of phenetics is enough. Systematic Biology. 

EM Katz, KS Tolley, JM Bishop (2014) Temporal changes in allelic variation among Cape Dwarf Chameleons inhabiting a transformed, semi-urban wetland. African Journal of Herpetology. 63 (1):1-12.

DS Jacobs, H Babiker, A Bastian, T Kearney, R van Eeden, JM Bishop (2013) Phenotypic convergence in genetically distinct lineages in a species complex of Rhinolophus bats. PLoS ONE 8 (12): e82614. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0082614

A Guerier, JM Bishop, SM Crawford, A Schmidt-Kuntzel, KJ Stratford (2012) Parentage analysis in a free ranging population of southern white rhinoceros: genetic diversity, pedigrees and management. Conservation Genetics. 13, 811-822.

RR Ackermann, JM Bishop (2010) Morphological and molecular evidence reveals recent hybridization between gorilla taxa. Evolution. 64, 271-290. 

R Sithaldeen, JM Bishop, RR Ackermann (2009) Mitochondrial DNA analysis reveals Plio-Pleistocene diversification within the chacma baboon. Molecular Phylogenetics & Evolution. 53, 1042–1048.

JM Bishop, AJ Leslie, A Bourquin, C O'Ryan (2009) Reduced effective population size in an overexploited population of the Nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus). Biological Conservation. 142, 2335-2341.

JM Bishop, C O’Ryan, JUM Jarvis (2007) Social common mole-rats enhance outbreeding by extra-pair mating. Royal Society Biology Letters. 3, 176–179.

JM Bishop, C O’Ryan, AC Spinks, NC Bennett, JUM Jarvis (2004) Molecular insight into patterns of colony composition and paternity in the common mole-rat Cryptomys hottentotus. Molecular Ecology. 13, 1217-1229. 


Current Postgraduate Students

Lisa Nupen (PhD) - The evolutionary genetic history of top avian predators in the Benguela Ecosystem. http://www.fitzpatrick.uct.ac.za/docs/lisa.html 

Lizelle Odendaal (PhD) - Comparative phylogeography and the evolution of acoustic divergence in African horsehoe bats. http://www.biologicalsciences.uct.ac.za/staff_page.php?staff_id=162

Gareth Tate (MSc) - Investigating plumage polymorphism in the Black Sparrowhawk Accipiter melanoleucus. http://www.fitzpatrick.uct.ac.za/docs/gareth.html

Graduated Students


Sofia Stathopoulos, PhD 2012. The role of selection in the evolution of olfactory receptors in the African mole-rats (Family Bathyergidae).

Eric Katz, MSc 2012. Population demographics and population genetics of the Cape dwarf chameleon, Bradypodion pumilim.

Stephen Doucette-Riise, MSc 2012. Landscape genetics and habitat use of the highly endangered Western Leopard Toad, Amietophrynus pantherinus, in a rural setting.

Jenneca McCarter, MSc 2012. MHC variation and pathogen history in Cape Peninsula chacma baboons.

Daniel Wright, MSc 2012. Genetic variation, genetic connectivity and the distribution of Marine Protected Areas in South Africa.

Riashna Sithaldeen, PhD 2011. The phylogenetic and phylogeographic history of the chacma baboon Papio ursinus in southern Africa: the role of landscape in shaping contemporary genetic structure.

Natalie Coutts, PhD 2009. Investigating genetic diversity at neutral and adaptive DNA markers in the severely bottlenecked southern white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum simum

Alexander Menayas, MSc 2009. Do requiem and hammerhead sharks off the coast of South Africa exhibit multiple paternity? A study using cross-species microsatellites. 

Lourie Badenhorst, MSc 2008. The characterisation of MHC class II genes of the Nile crocodile Crocodylus niloticus: investigating mechanisms that shape genetic diversity in natural populations.