Ewch i’r prif gynnwys
Dr Frank Hailer

Dr Frank Hailer


+44 (0)29 2087 4125
Cardiff School of Biosciences, The Sir Martin Evans Building, Museum Avenue, Cardiff CF10 3AX, Adeilad Syr Martin Evans, Rhodfa'r Amgueddfa, Caerdydd, CF10 3AX
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I am an evolutionary biologist working at the interface of genomics, molecular ecology and conservation biology.

I am part of the Cardiff University Otter Project, where we study otters in the UK and beyond. We are using a diversity of scientific approaches, for example studying their exposure to environmental contaminants, antimicrobial resistance and their population structuring.

Academic service

I serve as Reviews/Associate Editor for the journal Heredity (see here for submission guidelines: https://www.nature.com/hdy/authors-and-referees/gta) and asAssociate Editor for Animal Conservation. Please feel free to get in touch if you're interested in submitting to these journals.

During 2016-2020, I served on a time-limited post as Committee Member on the board of the Genetics Society UK, representing Population and Evolutionary Genetics.


  • 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 research group?

I enjoy including students in my research. My research group offers various opportunities for undergraduate, Master's and PhD 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 2015Lecturer, Cardiff University
2011-2014Postdoc, Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (BiK-F), Senckenberg Research Institute & Goethe University Frankfurt
2007-2010Postdoc, Smithsonian National Zoo, Center for Conservation and Evolutionary Genetics, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, USA
2006-2007Postdoc, Department of Evolutionary Biology (EBC), Uppsala University, Sweden
2006PhD, Evolutionary Genetics, Uppsala University, Sweden
2001MSc, Biology, Uppsala University, Sweden
1998Basic 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.

Aelodaethau proffesiynol

Pwyllgorau ac adolygu

Since 2018Reviews Editor for Heredity
Since 2012Associate Editor for Animal Conservation
2014 - 2017Junior researcher representative on Goethe University Frankfurt's Graduate Academy (GRADE)
 Peer reviewer for >40 journals [count updated in spring 2020] including PNAS, Molecular Biology and Evolution, Nature Ecology and Evolution, Molecular Ecology, Heredity, Nature Communications and Conservation Genetics





















Undergraduate level:

  • BI1003 Introduction to Conservation Biology
  • BI2131 Animal Diversity and Adaptation
  • BI2132 Genetics and its Applications
  • BI2134 Ecology and Conservation (part B: field course 'Marine Conservation' on Borneo)
  • BI3153 Evolution and Adaptation (module leader)
  • BI3154 Biodiversity and Conservation

Master's level:

  • BIT002 Research Techniques in Biosciences

Genetics and Genomics

My research interests are broad, focussing 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.

Ecology and Conservation

In my group we also use a variety of field-based or other (non-genetic) approaches to study biodiversity, for example:

  • Work on various aspects of seabird biology and our affiliation with the Cardiff University Storm Petrel team (see us on Twitter), as well as
  • A variety of mammal studies and links to the Cardiff University Otter Group (Twitter)


Goruchwyliaeth gyfredol

Annalea Beard

Research student


Sarah Du Plessis

Research student

Nia Thomas

Miss Nia Thomas

Research student


Ali Basuony

Research student


Hannah Hereward

Research student


Katherine Mullin

Research student


Emily O'Rourke

Research student

Miss Lucy Rowley

Research student

Miss Holly Hulme

Research student