Jess Morgan

Jess Morgan 3 webDr Morgan completed her Doctor of Philosophy with Distinction in 1998 from the Department of Zoology,  James Cook University, Townsville, Australia. Her thesis title was: Evaluation of DNA sequences for solving taxonomic problems in trematodes, specifically echinostomes. Dr Morgan worked for two years in the Department of Parasitology at The University of Queensland then completed two post-doctoral fellowships in the USA; one at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque studying human schistosomiasis, and the other at UC Berkeley, California studying frog chytridiomycosis. Dr Morgan then took up a position in the Animal Research Institute at the Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries before joining QAAFI at The University of Queensland in 2011. Dr Morgan’s field of expertise is molecular parasitology. She has extensive experience working with DNA sequences from nuclear and mitochondrial genes and has also worked with mircrosatellites, SNPs, real-time PCR and quantitative PCR. Recent projects include next-gen sequencing of Eimeria, population genetics and molecular diagnostics of poultry coccidiosis, acaricide resistance in cattle ticks and buffalo fly, screw worm fly molecular surveillance, hybrid research and shark fishery population genetics. Dr Morgan has worked one day per week with the MFL since 2007.

Projects:

Biological stock status of the Queensland shark fishery
The aim of this work is to infer the population structure of the Australian (Carcharhinus limbatus) and common (C. limbatus) blacktip shark using genetic and other biological data collected from a previous project. This is particularly challenging following the discovery of hybridisation between the the two species by an MFL team led by Dr Morgan.

The unusual mitochondrial genomes of three Australian fish (mackerel of the genus Scomberomorus)

Complete mitochondrial genome sequencing plus nuclear microsatellite genotyping of three fish from a previous project has been completed. Results suggest affinities to spotted mackerel (S. munroi), but two of the fish carried a complete, and one fish carried a partial, mitochondrial genome of grey mackerel (S. semifasciatus). The S. semifasciatus genomes had been linearized but otherwise were identical to extant S. semifasciatus mitochondrial DNA. Duality of genomes suggests recent hybridization between S. semifasciatus and S. munroi mackerel followed by paternal leakage of mitochondrial DNA.

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