פרופ' נועה שנקר

סגל אקדמי בכיר בביה"ס לזואולוגיה
ביה"ס לזואולוגיה סגל אקדמי בכיר
ניווט מהיר:
פרופ' נועה שנקר
טלפון פנימי: 03-6408655
פקס: 03-6407682


1. Education


Period of study

Name of University



Date of Award


Tel-Aviv University





Tel-Aviv University

Zoology- Program in Ecology & Environmental Quality


*Summa cum laude



Tel-Aviv University







2. Academic and professional experience

December 2017 Associate Professor, School of Zoology, Faculty of Life Sciences, Tel-Aviv University, Israel

October 2012-Current Senior Lecturer, Zoology Department, Tel-Aviv University


2011-2012 “VATAT” supported Research Fellow, National Collections of Natural History, Tel-Aviv University, Israel


2009-2011 Post-doctoral F ellow , Biology Department, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA. Topic: “ Molecular and Morphological Approaches to Ascidian Phylogeny and Systematics”. Advisor: Prof. Billie J Swalla


2008-2009 Post-doctoral fellow supported by “ VATAT ” , National Collections of Natural History, Tel-Aviv University, Israel



3. Research Grants


2012 :  The European Commission Marie Curie Career Integration Grants (CIG)
2013 : The German-Israeli Foundation for Scientific Research and Development Young Scientists’ Program
2014 : Yad-Hanadiv Ecosystem Services in Marine Environments: International Workshop Series.
2015 : ISF Equipment for young faculty
2015 : ISF Regular Research Program
2015 : BSF Young
2016 : Schulich Ocean Studies Centre Initiative


2020-2023 Israel Science Foundation-NSFC (co PI: Prof. Aibin Zhan, Chinese Academy of Sciences) "Mechanisms of rapid local adaptation in marine invaders: ascidians as a case study" 360,000 NIS per year

4. Prizes and awards

2018 Tel-Aviv University, Office of the Rector, Rector Excellence in teaching

2016 Ministry of Science Technology and Space Exhibition “Israeli discoveries and developments that influenced the world”

2014,2015 Amongst 100 excellent lecturers at Tel-Aviv University

2013 Caroline von Humboldt Prize for young female researchers €15,000

2008 Dan David Prize $10,000


Research Interests

The main research in our 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.   

Recent Publications

  1. Gordon T, Upadhyay AK, Manni L, Huchon D, Shenkar N (2021) And then there were three…: Extreme regeneration ability of the solitary chordate Polycarpa mytiligera Front Cell Dev Biol 9: 793
  2. Ben-Tal A, Shenkar N, Paz A, Conley K, Sutherland K, Yahel G (2021) High mucous-mesh production by the ascidian Herdmania momus. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 663:223-228
  3. Jacobi Y, Shenkar N, Ward EJ, Rosa M, Ramon GZ, Shavit U, Yahel G (2021) Evasive plankton: Size‐independent particle capture by ascidians. Limnol and Oceanogr https://doi.org/10.1002/lno.11658
  4. Anderson G, Shenkar N (2021) Potential effects of biodegradable single-use items in the sea: polylactic acid (PLA) and solitary ascidians. Environ Pollut 268: 115364
  5. Navon G, Kaplan A, Avisar D, Shenkar N (2020) Assessing pharmaceutical contamination along the Mediterranean and Red Sea coasts of Israel: Ascidians (Chordata, Ascidiacea) as bioindicators Mar Pollut Bull Article 111510 In Press
  6. Bereza D, Rosen D, Shenkar N (2020) Current trends in ship movement via the Suez Canal in relation to future legislation and mitigation of marine species introductions. Manag Biol Inv 11" 476-492
  7. Novak LShenkar N (2020) Occurrence of Didemnum perlucidum Monniot F., 1983 on artificial substrates along the Mediterranean coast of Israel. Med Mar Sci http://dx.doi.org/10.12681/mms.22223
  8. Gordon T, Roth L, Caicci F, Manny L, Shenkar N  (2020) Spawning induction, development and culturing of the solitary ascidian Polycarpa mytiligera, an emerging model for regeneration studies. Front Zool 17 1-14
  9. Tsiamis et al. (2020) Prioritizing marine invasive alien species in the European Union through horizon scanning. Aquat Conserv DOI: 10.1002/aqc.3267
  10. Tzafriri-Milo R, Benaltabet T, Torfstein A,  Shenkar N (2019) The potential use of invasive ascidians for biomonitoring heavy-metal pollution. Front Mar Sci doi: 10.3389/fmars.2019.00611
  11. Avisar D, Kaplan A,Ronen-Eliraz G, Vered G, Shenkar N, Gozlan I (2019) Validated method for the detection of three phthalates derived from marine invertebrates. Am J Anal Chem 10:445-458
  12. Levitt-Barmats Y, Yanai Z, Magory-Cohen T, Shenkar N (2019) Life-history traits and ecological characteristics of the ornamental shrimp Neocaridina denticulata (De Haan, 1844), recently introduced into the freshwater systems of Israel. Aquat Inv 14: 684-702
  13. Gilbert P, Porter SM, Sun CY, Xiao S, Gibson BM, Shenkar N, Knoll AH (2019) Biomineralization by particle attachment in early animals. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1902273116  
  14. Gordon T, Manny L, Shenkar N (2019) Regeneration ability in four stolidobranch ascidians: Ecological and evolutionary implications. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 519 151184 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jembe.2019.151184 
  15. Kuplik Z, Novak LShenkar N (2019) Proteomic profiling of ascidians as a tool for biomonitoring marine environments. PLoS One 14(4): e0215005.
  16. Vered G, Kaplan A, Avisar D, Shenkar N (2019) Using solitary ascidians to assess microplastic and phthalate plasticizers pollution among marine biota: A case study of the Eastern Mediterranean and Red Sea. Mar Pollut Bull 138: 618-625  
  17. Chen Y, Shenkar N, Ni P, Lin Y, Li S, Zhan A (2018) Rapid microevolution during recent range expansion to harsh environments. BMC Evol Biol 18: 187
  18. Dror H, Novak L, Evans JS, López-Legentil S, Shenkar N (2018) Core and dynamic microbial communities of two invasive ascidians on a wide geographic scale. Microbial Ecology https://doi.org/10.1007/s00248-018-1276-z

  19. Gewing M, Goldstein E, Buba Y, Shenkar N (2018) Temperature resilience facilitates invasion success of the solitary ascidian Herdmania momus. Biol Inv https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-018-1827-8
  20. Shenkar N, Rosen D (2018) How the invention of the shipping container influenced marine bioinvasion. Manag Biol Invasion 9:187-194 https://doi.org/10.3391/mbi.2018.9.3.02
  21. Evans JS, Erwin PM, Shenkar N, Lopez-Legentil S (2018) A comparison of symbiotic microbial communities in nonnative and native ascidians from reef and harbor habitats. FEMS Microbiol Ecol doi: 10.1093/femsec/fiy139
  22. *Levitt-Barmats YShenkar N* (2018) Investigating the symbiotic relationship between the caridean shrimp Odontonia sibogae (Bruce, 1972) and its ascidian host Herdmania momus (Savigny, 1816). PLoS One 13(2): e0192045
  23. Karachle PK, Corsini Foka M, Crocetta F, Dulčić J, Dzhembekova N, Galanidi M, Ivanova P, Shenkar N, Skolka M, Stefanova E, Stefanova K, Surgiu V, Uysal I, Verlaque M, Zenetos A (2017) Setting-up a billboard of marine invasive species in the ESENIAS area: current situation and future expectancies. Acta Adriat 58(3): 429 – 458
  24. *Jacobi Y, Yahel G, Shenkar N (2017) Efficient filtration of micron and submicron particles by ascidians from oligotrophic waters. Limnol and Oceanogr doi:10.1002/lno.10736
  25. Gewing M, López-Legentil S, Shenkar N* (2017) Anthropogenic factors influencing invasive ascidian establishment in natural environments.  Mar Environ Res 131: 236-242
  26. Evans JS, Erwin PM, Shenkar N, López-Legentil S (2017) Introduced ascidians harbor highly diverse and host-specific symbiotic microbial assemblages.  Sci Rep. 7(1):11033
  27. Granot I, Shenkar N, Belmaker J (2017) Habitat niche breadth predicts invasiveness in ascidians. Ecol Evol 7:78387847
  28. Villalobos SM, Lambert G, Shenkar N, López-Legentil S (2017) Distribution and population dynamics of key ascidians in North Carolina harbors and marinas Aquat Inv 12 (4):447-458
  29. Shlesinger T, Shenkar N, Loya Y* (2017) Gamete spawning of the ascidian Phallusia nigra in the Red Sea. Bull Mar Sci. Available on line
  30. Gewing M, Shenkar N* (2017) Monitoring the magnitude of marine vessel infestation by non-indigenous ascidians in the Mediterranean. Mar Pollut Bull 121:52-59
  31. Shmuel Y, Shenkar N* (2017) Reproductive cycle and ecology of the tropical ascidian Halocynthia spinosa in the Red Sea. Mar Biol 164:147
  32. Novak L, López-Legentil S, Shenkar N* (2017) Rapid establishment of the non-indigenous ascidian Styela plicata and its associated bacteria in marinas and fishing harbors along the Mediterranean coast of Israel. Mediterr Mar Sci 18: 324-331
  33. Zenetos A, Çinar ME, Crocetta F, Golani D, Rosso A, Servello G, Shenkar N, Turon X, Verlaque M (2017) Uncertainties and validation of alien species catalogues: the Mediterranean as an example. Estuarine Coastal and Shelf 191:171-187 
  34.  Shenkar N*Shmuel Y, Huchon D (2017) The invasive ascidian Ciona robusta recorded from a Red Sea marina. Mar Biodivers doi:10.1007/s12526-017-0699-y
  35. Tassia MG, Cannon JT, Konikoff CE, Shenkar N, Halanych KM, Swalla BJ* (2016) The Global Diversity of Hemichordata. PLoS ONE 11(10): e0162564. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0162564
  36. Tsiamis* et al. (2016) The EASIN Editorial Board: quality assurance, exchange and sharing of alien species information in Europe. Management of Biological Invasions 7:321-328  
  37. Shenkar N*Koplovitz G, Dray L, Gissi C, Huchon D (2016) Back to solitude- Solving the phylogenetic position of Diazonidae a molecular and developmental approach. Mol Phylo Evol 100: 51-56 
  38. Raijman-Nagar LShenkar N* (2016) Temperature and salinity sensitivity of the invasive ascidian Microcosmus exasperatus. Aquat Invasions 11(1): 33–43  
  39. Raijman-Nagar LShenkar N* (2016) From tropical to sub-tropical: prolonged reproductive activiy of the invasive ascidian Microcosmus exasperatus in the eastern Mediterranean.  Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fevo.2016.00102
  40. Gewing M, Bronstein O, Raijman Nagar L, Granot I, Frid O, Shenkar N* (2016) First record of the non-indigenous ascidian Microcosmus exasperatus, Heller 1878, in Cyprus. Mar Biodivers 46: 937-941
  41. Koplovitz G, Shmuel Y, Shenkar N* (2016) Floating docks in tropical environments- a reservoir for the opportunistic ascidian Herdmania momus Manag Biol Invasion 7(1): 43-50
  42. Shenkar N*Gordon T (2015) Gut-spilling in chordates: Evisceration in the tropical ascidian Polycarpa mytiligera. Sci Rep doi:10.1038/srep09614 
  43. Koplovitz G, Hirose E, Hirose M, Shenkar N* (2015) Being Green in the Red Sea - Ecology of the Photosymbiotic Ascidian Diplosoma simile (Ascidiacea: Didemnidae) in the Gulf of Aqaba. Syst Biodivers 13(2): 131-139
  44. Levitt Y*, De Grave S, Shenkar N (2014) First record of an invasive shrimp from the family Processidae (Crustacea, Decapoda) in the Mediterranean Sea. Medit Mar Sci 15: 650-653 
  45. Gewing M, Rhotman SBS, Raijman Nagar LShenkar N* (2014) Early stages of establishment of the non-indigenous ascidian Herdmania momus (Savigny, 1816) in shallow and deep water environments on natural substrates in the Mediterranean Sea. BioInv Rec 3: 77-81 
  46. Rubinstein N, Feldstein T, Shenkar N, Botero Castro F, Griggio F, Mastrototaro F, Delsuc F, Douzery EJP, Gissi C, Huchon D (2013) Deep sequencing of mixed total DNA without barcodes allows efficient assembly of highly plastic ascidian mitochondrial genomes. Genome Biol Evol 5:1185-1199 
  47. Shenkar N *(2013) A new species of the genus Rhopalaea (Ascidiacea) from the Red Sea. Zootaxa, 3599 (1): 051–058 
  48. Appeltans et al. (+115 co-authors) (2012) Magnitude of global marine biodiversity: one third of sea creatures discovered. Curr Biol 22:1-14 Highlighted in “Nature Research Highlights” Nature 491: 498 
  49. Rius M, Shenkar N (2012) Ascidians introduction through the Suez Canal: The case study of an Indo-Pacific species. Mar Pollut Bull 64: 2060-2068
  50. Shenkar N* (2012) Ascidian (ChordataAscidiacea) diversity in the Red Sea. Mar Biodiv doi 10.1007/s12526-012-0124-5 
  51. Shenkar N*, Swalla BJS (2011) Global diversity of Ascidiacea. PLoS One, 6(6): e20657 
  52. Lambert G, Shenkar N, Swalla BJS (2010) First Pacific record of the north Atlantic ascidian Molgula citrina- bioinvasion or circumpolar distribution? Aquatic Inv 5:369-378 
  53. Shenkar N, Lambert G (2010) A new species of the genus Boltenia (Ascidiacea) from the Red Sea. Zootaxa 2391: 61–68 
  54.  Shenkar N, Swalla BJS (2010) Molecular data confirms synonym in Roscovite molgulid ascidians. Cah Biol Mar 51:85-87 
  55. Tsagkogeorga G, Turon X, Hopcroft RR, Tilak M, Feldstein T, Shenkar N, Loya Y, Huchon D, Douzery EJP, Delsuc F (2009) An updated 18S rRNA phylogeny of tunicates based on mixture and secondary structure models. BMC Evol Biol 9:187 
  56. Singh TR, Tsagkogeorga G, Delsuc F, Blanquart S, Shenkar  N, Loya Y, Douzery EJP, Huchon D (2009) Tunicate mitogenomics and phylogenetics: peculiarities of the Herdmania momus mitochondrial genome and support for the new chordate phylogeny. BMC Genomics 10:534
  57. Shenkar N*, Loya Y (2009) Non-indigenous ascidians along the Mediterranean coast of Israel. Mar Biodiver Rec 2:1-7 
  58. Shenkar N*, Loya Y (2008) The solitary ascidian Herdmania momus: native (Red Sea) vs. non-indigenous (Mediterranean) populations. Biol Inv 10:1431-1439 
  59. Shenkar N*, Bronstein O, Loya Y (2008) Population dynamics of a coral reef ascidian in a deteriorating environment. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 367:163-171 
  60. Shenkar N*, Zeldman Y, Loya Y (2008) Ascidian recruitment patterns on an artificial reef in Eilat (Red Sea). Biofouling 24:119-128 
  61. Shenkar N*, Monniot F (2006) A new species of the genus Botryllus (Ascidiacea) from the Red Sea. Zootaxa 1256:11-19 
  62. Shenkar N*, Fine M, Kramarsky-Winter E, Loya Y (2005) Population dynamics of zooxanthellae during a bacterial bleaching event. Coral Reefs 25:223-227 
  63. Shenkar N*, Fine M, Loya Y (2005) Size matters: bleaching dynamics of the coral Oculina patagonica. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 294:181-188 



1. Shenkar N, Loya Y (2008) Ecology and systematics of the ascidian fauna in the Gulf of Eilat (Aqaba). In “Aqaba-Eilat, the Improbable Gulf. Environment, Biodiversity and Preservation” Editor FD Por, Magnes, Jerusalem. pp 197-208

2. *Gordon TShenkar N (2018) Ascidians as model organisms for regenerative studies. In “Marine Organisms as Model Systems in Biology and Medicine” Editors M Kloc, JZ Kubiak, Springer, Cham. p. 321-336

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