Daniel Berner

Group Leader, Zoological Institute, University of Basel.

Current research

I am fascinated by the mechanisms underlying biological diversification (adaptation, speciation). To shed light on these mechanisms, my research combines information on how selectively different environments favor phenotypic divergence with knowledge about the genomic underpinnings of this divergence. I aim for an integration of diverse analytical approaches, including manipulative field and laboratory experiments, phenotypic investigations, marker-based mapping using high-throughput sequence data, and computer simulations. My classical empirical research system is threespine stickleback fish inhabiting ecologically contrasting habitats, but I have now initiated research on a butterfly species undergoing rapid range expansion.

For Master project opportunities see here


  • Olivia Bäbler, MSc: Genomic introgression across a steep ecological transition in stickleback fish
  • Junyi Yang, MSc: Evolutionary genomics of a range-expansive butterfly
  • Carlos Herrera, PhD: Developmental genetic basis of armor reduction in acidic-adapted threespine stickleback fish
  • Nathalie Matthey-de-l'Endroit, PhD: Evolutionary and conservation genomics in butterflies

Former members

  • Lucas Blattner, Postdoc: Genomic analysis of range expansion in the butterfly Pieris mannii
  • Simona Ruffener, MSc: The range-expanding butterfly Pieris mannii: habitat use and reference genome assembly
  • Quiterie Haenel, PhD: Adaptation genomics in stickleback
  • Telma Laurentino, PhD: Adaptation genomics in stickleback
  • Tanja Brechbühl, MSc: Genetic basis of stickleback adaptation to acidic environments
  • Alicia Welti, MSc: Genetic basis of morphological diversity in stickeback
  • Mirjam Bissegger, MSc: Sexually antagonistic selection across the stickleback genome
  • Matthias Ammann, MSc: Adaptation and selection coefficients; sexual reproductive isolation in stickleback
  • Dario Moser, MSc, PhD: Phenotypic plasticity and components of reproductive isolation in lake-stream stickleback
  • Anja Frey, MSc: Development of an amplicon sequencing approach enabling targeted genomic analysis
  • Marius Roesti, MSc, PhD: Population genomics of adaptive divergence in stickleback
  • Benjamin Kueng, MSc: The genomics of lake-stream stickleback divergence in the Lake Constance basin




Curriculum vitae


Permanent group leader, University of Basel, Switzerland

2013-2020Research assistant, University of Basel, Switzerland

2008 - 2012

Postdoctoral fellow with Walter Salzburger, University of Basel, Switzerland

2006 - 2008

Postdoctoral fellow with Andrew Hendry, McGill University, Montreal, Canada

2001 - 2005

PhD in Ecology with Christian Körner and Wolf Blanckenhorn, University of Basel, Switzerland

1995 - 2000

Studies in Geography, University of Zürich, Switzerland

Research grants

2021 - 2025
Swiss National Science Foundation, Project funding (grant 31003A_200374)
2016 - 2019
Swiss National Science Foundation, Project funding (grant 31003A_165826)

Freiwillige Akademische Gesellschaft Basel (project funding)


Swiss National Science Foundation, International Short Visit for a population genomics project with Katie Peichel (grant IZK0Z3_154188)

2013 - 2016

Swiss National Science Foundation, Project funding (grant 31003A_146208)


Freiwillige Akademische Gesellschaft Basel (project funding)

2009 - 2012

Swiss National Science Foundation, Ambizione fellowship (grant PZ00P3_126391)

2008 - 2009

Research Fund, University of Basel

2007 - 2008

Roche Research Foundation

2007 - 2008

Stiefel-Zangger Foundation, University of Zürich

2006 - 2007
Swiss National Science Foundation, prospective researcher fellowship (grant PBBS33-111216)
2006 - 2007
Janggen-Pöhn Foundation