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Department of Zoology



2020 - 2025: Branco Weiss Fellow

2018 - 2022: Bateson Research Fellow (JRF) at St John's College, Cambridge, associated with the group of Chris Jiggins

2016 - 2018: Postdoc in the group of Aquatic Ecology and Evolution with Ole Seehausen, University of Bern and EAWAG, Switzerland

2012 - 2016: PhD in Ecology and Evolution with Ole Seehausen and Laurent Excoffier, University of Bern and EAWAG, Switzerland

2010 - 2012: Master of Science in Ecology and Evolution in the population genetics group with Gerald Heckel, University of Bern


My main research focus is on speciation and evolutionary genomics. Why do some taxa rapidly generate new species, whereas others remain species-poor? I am particularly interested in the role of hybridisation (interbreeding) in rapid speciation and adaptation. My study systems include Neotropical butterflies and African cichlid fishes.


Key publications: 

Jamie G., Meier J. I. (2020) The persistence of polymorphisms across species radiations. Trends Ecol Evol. doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2020.04.007

Meier J. I., Stelkens R. B., Joyce D. A., Mwaiko S., Phiri N., Schliewen U., Selz O. M., Wagner C. E., Katongo C., Seehausen O. (2019) The coincidence of ecological opportunity with hybridisation explains rapid adaptive radiation in Lake Mweru cichlids. Nature Commun. 20, 5391

Marques D. A.*, Meier J. I.*, Seehausen O. A combinatorial view on speciation and adaptive radiation (*shared first authors listed alphabetically). Trends Ecol Evol, 34:531-544

Meier J. I., Marques D. A., Wagner C. E., Excoffier L., Seehausen O. 2018. Genomics of parallel ecological speciation in Lake Victoria cichlids. Mol Biol Evol, 35: 1489-1506

Meier J. I., Marques D. A., Mwaiko S., Wagner C. E., Excoffier L., Seehausen O. 2017. Ancient hybridization fuels rapid cichlid fish adaptive radiations. Nature Comm, 8: doi:10.1038/ncomms14363

Meier J. I., Sousa V. S., Marques D. A., Selz O. M., Wagner C. E., Excoffier L., Seehausen O. 2017. Demographic modelling of whole genome data reveals parallel origin of similar Pundamilia cichlid species after hybridization. Mol Ecol, 26: 123-141.

Other publications: 

McGee M., Borstein S., Meier J. I., Marques D. A., Mwaiko S., Taabu A., Kishe M. A., O’Meara B., Bruggmann R., Excoffier R., Seehausen O. (2020) The ecological and genomic basis of explosive speciation. Nature. doi:

Valencia-Montoya W. A., Elfekih S., North H., Meier J. I., (…) Jiggins C. D. (2020) Adaptive introgression across semipermeable species boundaries between local Helicoverpa zea and invasive Helicoverpa armigera moths. Mol Biol Evol. doi: 10.1093/molbev/msaa108 (12 authors in total)

Montejo-Kovacevich G., Martin S. H., Meier J. I., Bacquet C. N., Monllor M., Jiggins C. D., Nadeau N. J. (2020) Microclimate buffering and thermal tolerance across elevations in a tropical butterfly. J Exp Biol. 223: doi:10.1242/jeb.220426

Runemark A., Vallejo-Marin M., Meier J. I. (2019) Eukaryote Hybrid Genomes. PloS Genetics. 15: e1008404 (invited review)

Montejo-Kovacevich G., Smith J. E., Meier J. I., Bacquet C. N., Whiltshire-Romero E., Nadeau N. J., Jiggins C. (2019) Altitude and life-history shape the evolution of Heliconius wings. Evolution, doi: 10.1111/evo.13865

Lipshutz S. E., Meier J. I., Derryberry G. E., Miller M.J., Seehausen O., Derryberry E. P. 2018. Differential introgression of a female competitive trait in a hybrid zone between sex-role reversed species. Evolution, doi: 10.1111/evo.13675

Runemark A., Eroukhmanoff F., Bolanos A. N., Hermansen J. S., Meier J. I. 2018. Hybridization, sex specific genomic architecture and local adaptation. Phil Trans R Soc B, 373: 20170419

Moser F., van Rijssel J., Mwaiko S., Meier J. I., Ngatunga B., Seehausen O. 2018. The onset of ecological diversification 50 years after colonisation of a crater lake by haplochromine cichlid fish. Proc R Soc B, 285: 20180171

Feulner P. G. D., Schwarzer J., Häsler M. P., Meier J. I., Seehausen O. 2018, A dense linkage map of Lake Victoria cichlids improved the Pundamilia genome assembly and revealed a major QTL for sex determination. G3, 200207.2018

Marques D. A., Lucek K, Haesler M. P., Feller A. F., Meier J. I., Wagner C. E., Excoffier L., Seehausen O. 2017. Genomic landscape of early ecological speciation initiated by selection on nuptial colour. Mol Ecol, 26: 7-14.

Marques D. A., Lucek K., Meier J. I., Mwaiko S., Wagner C. E., Excoffier L. and Seehausen O. 2016. Genomics of rapid incipient speciation in sympatric threespine stickleback. PLoS Genetics, 12: e1005887.

Seehausen, O., (…) Meier, J. I., et al. (33 authors total) 2014. Genomics and the origin of species. Nature Rev Genet, 15: 176-192.

Branco Weiss Fellow
Bateson Research Fellow, St John's College