Academic Staff


Dr Bernd Hänfling

Dr Bernd Hänfling

My main research interests concentrate on population genetics and genomics, and the development and application of eDNA and metabarcoding as a tool to study ecological questions. An overarching aim in my research is to understand the natural and anthropogenic processes which determine the geographic distribution of biodiversity. Most of my research focuses freshwater organisms and ecosystems. I’m also interested in evidence based conservation and in understanding the mechanisms which determine establishment success of invasive species and their impact on native communities.


AfricaGomezDr Africa Gómez

My research centres on the interface between population genetics, phylogeography and the evolution of reproductive modes. I am particularly interested in the effects of migration-drift disequilibrium, which is a common situation in many organisms, on evolutionary processes.

Most of my research focus on passively dispersed aquatic invertebrates (including rotifers, Notostracans, Bryozoans, Anostracans). As part of this interest, I investigate the colonization process and the evolutionary forces involved in it, such as local adaptation, inbreeding and migration. This is a research area in which aquatic invertebrates are particularly powerful study systems because of their diverse reproductive modes, short generation time, and ability both to culture large numbers in the laboratory and recreate suitable habitats. Importantly also since they have long-lived dormant resting eggs, experimental animals can be competed against their ancestors. I apply molecular techniques to address fundamental questions concerning the evolutionary dynamics of cyclically parthenogenetic organisms and other passively dispersed aquatic invertebrates. Part of this work developed the novel analysis of historical samples from resting egg banks. Due to the abundance of cryptic species in my research organisms, I have extensively used DNA barcoding either as a discovery tool or as a preliminary step before screening particular species.



Dr Domino Joyce

I am interested in the mechanisms which shape biodiversity, from the effects of selection at individual loci, to the behavioural aspects of mate preference which may cause populations to diverge, and also the larger scale genomic processes involved in adaptive radiations. My recent work has focussed on haplochromine cichlids, since they display an incredibly diverse array of morphological and behavioural phenotypes and they seem to undergo adaptive radiations readily.



Dr Lori Lawson Handley

Dr Lori Lawson Handley

Dispersal and colonisation of new habitats are among the most important events in an organism’s life. I am interested in the evolutionary causes and consequences of dispersal – for example – how does geography influence dispersal, what makes certain species so successful at colonising new areas, and why is dispersal sex-biased in the majority of animal species?

I am also interested in the sex chromosomes – what factors drive their evolution and can how useful are sex-specific markers for understanding dispersal and population structure? Recent focus has been on global colonisation and local dispersal in humans and the harlequin ladybird (Harmonia axyridis) – two species that share more in common than you might think!


DaveLuntDr Dave Lunt

I’m interested in comparative genomics, large scale phylogenetics and molecular evolution. I’m particularly interested in the way in which the evolutionary forces of recombination, selection, mutation and drift influence genomic content. We also work on projects using phylogenetics and DNA barcoding to better understand biodiversity and the speciation process. I’m committed to open and reproducible science, and work on several projects to facilitate this approach.


Postdocs and Research Fellows

Christoph HahnChristoph Hahn

I am the bioinformatics research fellow for Evolutionary and Environmental Genomics and involved in diverse projects across the academic staff. I was previously a NERC postdoc working with Domino Joyce on RADseq analysis of cichlid radiations. 




Amir Szitenberg

I am a NERC-funded postdoc working with Dave Lunt. My project looks at comparative genomics of nematodes with different modes of reproduction, and particularly variation in transposable elements.



 JamesKitsonJames Kitson

I’m a postdoc working with Darren Evans and Dave Lunt. I’m investigating forest insect interaction networks with a particular focus on Oak Processionary Moth and its parasitoids.