Dr Frank Hailer

Dr Frank Hailer


School of Biosciences

+44 (0)29 2087 4125
Sir Martin Evans Building, Museum Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3AX
Available for postgraduate supervision

I am an evolutionary biologist working at the interface of genomics, molecular ecology and conservation biology. My research interests focus on surveying genetic variation within and among species to infer key processes in ecology and evolution, such as speciation, adaptation, introgression and population structuring. I am also interested in the causes and consequences of dispersal, mechanisms of loss or maintenance of genetic diversity, and disease ecology.

Understanding these processes often requires knowledge about population structure and phylogeographic history. Hence, my research traces the origin and fate of genetic variation within individuals to their populations and species, and continues deeper into phylogenetic time scales. In this context I find it particularly fascinating to see how independently inherited parts of the genome reflect different aspects of present and past processes.

In my research I have studied a wide range of taxa, including bears, eagles, various species of tropical seabirds, wolves, coyotes and dogs, turtles, fruit flies, lynxes, elephants etc., spanning arctic to tropical habitats.


  • Module Leader BI3153 Evolution and Species Adaptation
  • Organiser of Organisms and Environment departmental seminar series
  • Safety co-ordinator for the Molecular Ecology labs

Interested in joining my lab?

I enjoy including students in my research. My lab offers various opportunities for undergraduate and (post-) graduate students, typically involving lab work and/or bioinformatics/statistical analysis.

I am also happy to discuss with interested postdoc candidates about the potential to apply for funding from sources such as NERC, BBSRC, Marie-Sklodowska-Curie fellowships, etc.

If you are interested, please contact me by email.

Since 2015 Lecturer, Cardiff University
2011-2014 Postdoc, Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (BiK-F), Senckenberg Research Institute & Goethe University Frankfurt
2007-2010 Postdoc, Smithsonian National Zoo, Center for Conservation and Evolutionary Genetics, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, USA
2006-2007 Postdoc, Department of Evolutionary Biology (EBC), Uppsala University, Sweden
2006 PhD, Evolutionary Genetics, Uppsala University, Sweden
2001 MSc, Biology, Uppsala University, Sweden
1998 Basic exam in Biology ('Vordiplom'), Marburg University, Germany

After studies in biology at Marburg University (Germany), I completed my Master’s degree at Uppsala University (Sweden), where I continued to pursue PhD studies in the lab of Hans Ellegren and Carles Vilà (now at CSIC, Spain). My PhD work focused on conservation genetics of white-tailed eagles, but I also worked on other projects on dog domestication and canid population genetics. I then worked with Jennifer Leonard on hybridization of coyotes and wolves in North America. In 2007 I started a new postdoc with Rob Fleischer at the Smithsonian National Zoo. In 2010-2014 I worked at BiK-F in Axel Janke’s group, studying population genetics and adaptation of arctic vertebrates and their boreotemperate counterparts.

Academic service

Since 2012 Associate Editor for Animal Conservation
Since 2014 Junior researcher representative on Goethe University Frankfurt's Graduate Academy (GRADE)
  Peer reviewer for 29 journals, plus for Axios

Committee membership

Elected committee member of the GeneticsSociety UK (representing Area E: Evolutionary, ecological and population genetics)