Senior Aquatic Biologist
Tel : +27 46 603 5842
Fax : +27 86 554 9390
Systematics and evolution of marine fishes
My research is on the systematics and evolution of estuarine and marine fishes. This work is done using DNA sequence and morphological data to elucidate phylogenetic relationships of marine fishes of the western Indian Ocean and to understand the patterns and interactions of processes of evolutionary change.
I obtained a BSc from the University of Zambia in Agricultural science, in Lusaka Zambia which had a module on fisheries science and aquaculture. I completed both my MSc and PHD studies through Rhodes University’s ichthyology and fisheries science department in Grahamstown, South Africa.
It was during my postgraduate studies that I got involved in the systematics of fishes. My PhD research topic was on the biology and systematics of pipefishes (Syngnathus) in South African estuaries and coastal areas. Most of my current projects are on marine fish systematics in the Western Indian Ocean where I have participated in various fish collection expeditions for DNA and voucher collections. Most of the specific projects that I’m currently running focus on the population genetics of endemic and range restricted southern African species from the families Gobiidae and Sparidae.
I have also currently running a barcoding project on fishes of the Western Indian Ocean, and serve as vice-chair for the African regional working group. I
have been involved as a steering committee member with the South African Biosystematics initiative (SABI) that was set up to promote systematic and biodiversity research on collection based work in museums and research institutions.
Mwale, M., Kaiser, H., Barker, N.P., Wilson, A.B., Teske, P.R., 2013. Identification of a uniquely southern African clade of coastal pipefishes, Syngnathus spp. Journal of Fish Biology 82(6), 2045-2062.
Muths, D., Gouws, G., Mwale, M., Tessier, E. & Bourjea, J. (2012). Genetic connectivity of the reef fish Lutjanus kasmira at the scale of the western Indian Ocean. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 69, 842-853.