Dr Bernd Hänfling

Senior Lecturer/ Chair of the Evolutionary Biology Group (EvoHull)

Faculty of Science and Engineering

01482 465804

Dr Bernd Hänfling is a senior lecturer and molecular ecologist with more than 20 years' experience in studying the ecology and evolution of freshwater organisms.

He has been applying his scientific expertise to teach undergraduate students in ecology, evolutionary biology and conservation since 2007.

Current research projects focus on the application of eDNA and 'next generation sequencing' approaches.

They include eDNA analysis of freshwater fish communities, assessing the impact of invasive species and population genomics of pond fish.

School of Environmental Sciences


Research Interests

  • Population genetics and genomics

  • eDNA and metabarcoding

  • The geographic distribution of biodiversity

  • Freshwater organisms and ecosystems

  • Evidence-based conservation

  • Invasive species and their impact on native communities

Research groups

Environmental DNA, metabarcoding

  • Centre for Ecology and Hydrology at Lancaster (Dr Ian Winfield) and Wallingford (Dr Dan Read)

  • UK Environment Agencies (EA, SEPA, NRW)

  • UK DNA Network

  • EU COST-action DNAqua-net

  • University College London (Dr Carl Sayer)

  • Research Institute for Nature and Forest, Belgium (INBO), Dr David Halfmaerten, Dr Rein Brys

  • AquaBiota, Consultancy Sweden (Dr Micaela Hellstroem)

  • NatureMetrics, Consultancy UK (Dr Kat Bruce)

  • University of Graz, Austria (Dr Christoph Hahn)

Fish genomics
  • University of East Anglia (Dr Cock van Oosterhout, Dr Jackie Lighten)

  • UCL - Department of Geography (Dr Carl Sayer)

  • University of Lausanne, Switzerland (Dr Dan Jeffries)

  • University of Leuven, Belgium (Dr Greg Maes, Dr Filip Volckaert)

  • University of Salford (Dr Stefano Mariani)

  • University Collage Dublin (Dr Jens Carlsson)

Evolution of groundwater fauna
  • British Geological Survey (Dr Lou Maurice)

  • Roehampton University (Dr Anne Robertson)

  • University of Manchester (Graham Proudlove)

  • Leigh Kneight (private consultant)

  • National Museum of Natural History Luxembourg (Alexander Weigand)


Jeffries DL, Copp GH, Lawson Handley L, Olsén KH, Sayer CD, Hänfling B (2016) Comparing RADseq and microsatellites to infer complex phylogeographic patterns, an empirical perspective in the Crucian carp, Carassius carassius, L. Molecular Ecology 25, 2997-3018.

Hänfling B, Lawson Handley L, Read DS, Hahn C, Li J, Nichols P, Blackman RC, Oliver A, Winfield IJ (2016) Environmental DNA metabarcoding of lake fish communities reflects long-term data from established survey methods. Molecular Ecology 25, 3101-3119.

McInerney CE, Maurice L, Robertson AL, Knight LRFD, Arnscheidt J, Venditti C, Dooley JSG, Mathers T, Matthijs S, Eriksson K, Proudlove GS, Hänfling B (2014) The ancient Britons: groundwater fauna survived extreme climate change over tens of millions of years across NW Europe. Molecular Ecology 23, 1153-1166.

Herborg LM, Weetman D, Van Oosterhout C, Hänfling B (2007) Genetic population structure and contemporary dispersal patterns of a recent European invader, the Chinese mitten crab,Eriocheir sinensis. Molecular Ecology 16, 231-242.

Hänfling B, Weetman D (2006) Concordant genetic estimators of migration reveal anthropogenically enhanced source-sink population structure in the River Sculpin, Cottus gobio. Genetics 173, 1487-1501


Full list


Programmes taught on (2019)

Modules list

  • Skills in Biology

  • Ecology and Evolution

  • Conservation Biology

  • Topics in Biodiversity

  • Reviews in Biology

  • Environmental Monitoring and Analysis

Research PhDs

Dr Hänfling welcomes applications in the fields of environmental DNA, population genomics and phylogeography.

Completed PhDs


  • Dr Hastings Zidana (2006-2008)

  • Thomas Mathers (2009-2013)

  • Dr Andrea Simon (2008-2012)

  • Cathleen Thomas (2008-2012)

  • Dr Daniel Jeffries (2011-2015)


  • Dr David Weetman (2003-2006)

  • Dr Helen Wilcock (2004)

  • Dr Thorid Zierold (2006-2007)

  • Dr Isabela Douterelo-Soler (2008)

  • Dr Mark Cullings (2010-2013)

  • Dr Caitriona McInnerney (2013-2014)

  • Dr Helen Kimbell (2015-2016)

  • Dr Harriet Johnson (2016-2017)

  • Dr Peter Shum (2016-2017)

  • Dr Hayley Watson (2016-2017)

Current PhD supervisions 

  • Jianlong Lee (from 2014)

  • Rosetta Blackman (from 2014)

  • Lynsey Harper (from 2015)

  • Marco Benucci (from 2015)

  • Graham Sellers (from 2015)

  • Cristina Di Muri (from 2016)

Professional highlights

Academic qualifications

  • PhD at the Department of Animal Ecology at the University of Bayreuth (1996)

  • Biology-Diplom: University of Bayreuth (1993)