Daniel Berner

Universität Basel,
Zoologisches Institut
Vesalgasse 1
CH-4051 Basel


+41 (0)61 207 03 28

+41 (0)61 207 03 01


Contrasting ecological
conditions between lake and
stream habitats drive strong
and predictable phenotypic
shifts in stickleback.
Here adult males from Robert’s
lake (bottom) and Robert’s
creek (top), Vancouver Island,

Daniel Berner

Research Associate, Zoological Institute, University of Basel.

Current research

I am fascinated by the processes that underlie biological diversification (adaptation, speciation), and their analysis using integrative research approaches. I use as main research system threespine stickleback fish inhabiting lake and stream habitats. My previous work, combining ecological, phenotypic, and population genetic information from multiple lake-stream systems in Canada and Europe, has investigated how divergent natural selection between these contrasting foraging environments drives adaptive diversification and reproductive isolation. My current work focuses on molecular aspects of stickleback diversification. Making use of high-throughput sequencing technology for genome scans and QTL mapping, the goal is to shed light on the genetic basis of adaptive diversification across habitat transitions. This work will advance our understanding of the mechanisms driving (convergent) evolution and speciation.

Curriculum vitae

Presently Group leader, 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 (grade: magna cum laude)
1995-2000 Studies in Geography, University of Zürich, Switzerland


  • Mateus CS, Stange M, Berner D, Roesti M, Quintella BR, Alves MJ, Almeida PR, Salzburger W (2013) Strong genome-wide divergence between sympatric European river and brook lampreys. Current Biology, 23: R649-R650.
  • Roesti M, Moser D, Berner D (2013) Recombination in the threespine stickleback genome - patterns and consequences. Molecular Ecology, 22: 3014-3027.
  • Moser D, Roesti M, Berner D (2012) Repeated lake-stream divergence in stickleback life history within a Central European lake basin. PLoS ONE, 7: e50620.
  • Berner D (2012) How much can the orientation of G's eigenvectors tell us about genetic constraints? Ecology and Evolution, 2: 1834-1842.
  • Roesti M, Salzburger W, Berner D (2012) Uninformative polymorphisms bias genome scans for signatures of selection. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 12: 94.
  • Roesti M, Hendry AP, Salzburger W, Berner D (2012) Genome divergence during evolutionary diversification as revealed in replicate lake-stream stickleback population pairs. Molecular Ecology, 21: 2852-2862.
  • Berner D, Kaeuffer R, Grandchamp A-C, Raeymaekers JAM, Räsänen K, Hendry AP (2011) Quantitative genetic inheritance of morphological divergence in a lake-stream stickleback ecotype pair: implications for reproductive isolation. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 24:1975-1983.
  • Berner D (2011) Size correction in biology: how reliable are approaches based on (common) principal component analysis? Oecologia 166:961-971.
  • Raeymaekers JAM, Boisjoly M, Delaire L, Berner D, Räsänen K, Hendry AP (2010) Testing for mating isolation between ecotypes: laboratory experiments with lake, stream, and hybrid stickleback. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 23: 2694-2708.
  • Berner D, Roesti M, Hendry AP, Salzburger W (2010) Constraints on speciation suggested by comparing lake-stream stickleback divergence across two continents. Molecular Ecology 19: 4963-4978.
  • Berner D, Stutz W, Bolnick DI. (2010) Foraging trait (co)variances in stickleback evolve deterministically and do not predict trajectories of adaptive diversification. Evolution 64: 2265-2277.
  • Crispo E, DiBattista JD, Correa C, Thibert-Plante X, McKellar AE, Schwartz AK, Berner D, De León LF, Hendry AP (2010) The evolution of phenotypic plasticity in response to anthropogenic disturbance. Evolutionary Ecology Research 12: 47-66.
  • Berner D (2009) Correction of a bootstrap approach to testing for evolution along lines of least resistance. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 22: 2563-2565.
  • Hendry AP, Bolnick DI, Berner D, Peichel CL (2009) Along the speciation continuum in sticklebacks. Journal of Fish Biology 75: 2000-2036.
  • Berner D, Grandchamp A-C, Hendry AP (2009) Variable progress toward ecological speciation in parapatry: stickleback across eight lake-stream transitions. Evolution, 63: 1740-1753.
  • Sharpe DMT, Räsänen K, Berner D, Hendry AP (2008) Genetic and environmental contributions to the morphology of lake and stream stickleback: implications for gene flow and reproductive isolation. Evolutionary Ecology Research 10: 849-866.
  • Berner D, Adams DC, Grandchamp A-C, Hendry AP (2008) Natural selection drives patterns of lake-stream divergence in stickleback foraging morphology. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 21:1653-1665.
  • Berner D & Blanckenhorn WU (2007) An ontogenetic perspective on the relationship between age and size at maturity. Functional Ecology 21: 505-512.
  • Berner D & Blanckenhorn WU (2006) Grasshopper ontogeny in relation to time constraints: adaptive divergence and stasis. Journal of Animal Ecology 75: 130-139.
  • Berner D, Blanckenhorn WU, Körner Ch (2005) Grasshoppers cope with low host plant quality by compensatory feeding and food selection: N limitation challenged. Oikos 111: 525-533.
  • Berner D, Körner Ch, Blanckenhorn WU (2004) Grasshopper populations across 2000 m of altitude: is there life history adaptation? Ecography 27: 733-740.

Research grants

2013-2016 Swiss National Science Foundation, Project funding (grant 31003A_146208)
2011 Freiwillige Akademische Gesellschaft Basel
2009-2012 Swiss National Science Foundation, Ambizione fellowship (grant PZ00P3_126391/1)
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 PBBSA-111216)
2006-2007 Janggen-Pöhn Foundation