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Dr Martin Genner

Dr Martin Genner

Dr Martin Genner
BSc(Liv), MSc(Aberd), PhD(Soton)

Reader in Evolutionary Ecology

Area of research

Fish Ecology and Evolution

Office Life Sciences: 2A05
Life Sciences Building,
24 Tyndall Avenue, Bristol BS8 1TQ
(See a map)

+44 (0) 117 39 41182


I am interested in the ecological and evolutionary processes have shaped spatial and temporal patterns of biological diversity, primarily in aquatic environments. I have mainly worked on two systems: European marine fishes, and African freshwater fishes .

Topics currently being pursued include:

  • Speciation and adaptive radiation of cichlid fishes
  • Historical phylogeography of African freshwater fishes
  • Influence of climate change and fishing on marine fish assemblages
  • Conservation genetics of European marine fishes


I tackle fundamental questions about the origins of diversity (speciation and adaptive radiation), how it is maintained (species coexistence) and how it is influenced by changing environments (climate and invasive species). I work mainly on fishes of African water bodies and European seas. I use a range of methods from field surveys of biodiversity, to analyses of long-term fisheries data, experimental field tests, quantitative observations of behaviour, analyses of stable isotope ratios, and application of molecular markers for phylogenetics and population genetics. Recent work includes the development of methods for measuring and predicting effects of climate change on European fish assemblages (Montera-Serra et al. 2014 Global Change Biology, Rutterford et al. 2015 Nature Climate Chnage), quantifying spatial structure of European marine fish diversity using molecular markers (Griffiths et al. 2010 Proc Roy Soc; Jolly et al. 2012 Mar Biol), and contributions to our knowledge of a major vertebrate adaptive radiation, African cichlid fishes (Genner & Turner 2012 Mol Biol Evol; Winkelmann et al.2014 Nature Comms). My research on African fish ecology and evolution develops with a Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship (2014-2015) and Royal Society-Leverhulme Trust Africa Award (2014-2017). A developing research focus is the use of genome-wide data for inferring phylogeny and identification of genes under selection during cichlid fish evolution.


Level 1: Vertebrate evolution

Level 2: Marine Ecology and Physiology

Level 2: Tropical Ecology Fieldcourse

Level 3: Evolutionary Ecology


  • Adaptive radiation
  • speciation
  • environmental change
  • fish biology

Recent publications

View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

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