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Dr. Frank Hailer


Research Focus
My professional interests focus on evolutionary and conservation biology in a broad sense. My research covers population genetics, phylogeography, systematics, evolutionary genomics, studies of hybridization, disease, mating systems and the loss/maintenance of genetic variation. In my previous work I have been involved in studies of multiple taxa including various species of tropical seabirds, eagles, wolves, coyotes and dogs, Tasmanian devils, turtles, fruit flies, lynxes, elephants etc.

since 2011: Postdoc, BiK-F
2007-2010: Postdoc, Smithsonian National Zoo, Center for Conservation and Evolutionary Genetics, Washington, DC, USA
2006-2007: Postdoc, Department of Evolutionary Biology, Uppsala University, Sweden
2006: Ph.D., Evolutionary Genetics, Uppsala University, Sweden
2001: M.Sc., 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. At the Smithsonian I also worked closely with Betty Anne Schreiber, Jesus Maldonado, Terry Chesser, Kris Helgen, Helen James and collaborated with many others, being involved in a wide range of projects.
At BiK-F, I am now working with Axel Janke, studying adaptation and population genetics of arctic vertebrates, using genomic methods.

Link to Google Scholar profile

Full list of Publications

Selected publications 
1. Hailer F, Kutschera VE, Hallström BM, Klassert D, Fain SR, Leonard JA, Arnason U, Janke A (2012) Nuclear genomic sequences reveal that polar bears are an old and distinct bear lineage. Science 336, 344-347. (doi: 10.1126/science.1216424)
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Cover image by Florian Schulz –

2. Hailer F, Schreiber EA, Miller JM, Levin II, Parker PG, Chesser RT, Fleischer RC (2011) Long-term isolation of a highly mobile seabird on the Galapagos. Proceedings of the Royal Society Series B. 278(1707): 817-825. (doi: 10.1098/rspb.2010.1342) (featured in Science - Editor’s choice on 22 Oct 2010)

3. Hailer F, Leonard JA (2008) Hybridization among Three Native North American Canis Species in a Region of Natural Sympatry. PLoS One 3(10): e3333. (doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0003333)

4. Björnerfeldt S, Hailer F, Nord M, Vila C (2008) Assortative mating and fragmentation within dog breeds. BMC Evolutionary Biology 8:28. (doi: 10.1186/1471-2148-8-28)

5. Hailer F, Helander B, Folkestad AO, Ganusevich SA, Garstad S, Hauff P, Koren C, Masterov VB, Nygård T, Rudnick JA, Saiko S, Skarphedinsson K, Volke V, Wille F, Vilà C (2007): Phylogeography of the white-tailed eagle, a generalist with large dispersal capacity. Journal of Biogeography 34, 1193-1206. (doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2699.2007.01697.x)

6. Dowling DK, Friberg U, Hailer F, Arnqvist G (2007) Intergenomic epistasis for fitness: within-population interactions between cytoplasmic and nuclear genes in Drosophila melanogaster. Genetics 175: 235-244. (doi: 10.1534/genetics.105.052050)

7. Hailer F, Helander B, Folkestad AO, Ganusevich SA, Garstad S, Hauff P, Koren C, Nygård T, Volke V, Vilà C, Ellegren H (2006) Bottlenecked but long-lived: high genetic diversity retained in white-tailed eagles upon recovery from population decline. Biology Letters 2: 316-319. (doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2006.0453)

8. Sundqvist A-K, Björnerfeldt S, Leonard J, Hailer F, Hedhammar Å, Ellegren H and Vilà C (2006) Unequal contribution of sexes in the origin of dog breeds. Genetics 172: 1121-1128. (doi: 10.1534/genetics.105.042358)


Phone: +49 (0)69 7542 1828

Visiting address
LOEWE - Biodiversity and Climate Research Center
BiK-F, Project area D
Georg-Voigt-Str. 14-16
60325 Frankfurt am Main, Germany