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Dr. Robert Hanner
Associate Professor

Robert Hanner


Office: Centre for Biodiversity Genomics (CBG) Rm. 222
Ext: 53479
Lab: (Chemistry) CBG 229
Lab: (Cryptic Diversity) CBG 231

Hanner Lab Website


Robert Hanner is the Associate Director for the Canadian Barcode of Life Network, headquartered at the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario, University of Guelph. He currently Chairs the Database Working Group of the Consortium for the Barcode of Life (CBOL) and also serves as Campaign Coordinator for the Fish Barcode of Life (FISH-BOL) initiative, a project of global scale that aims to assemble a standard reference sequence library for the molecular identification of all fishes. Dr. Hanner is a Past President of the International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories (ISBER). Prior to his arrival in Guelph (August of 2005), he served as the Scientific Program Director for the Coriell Cell Repositories (at the Coriell Institute for Medical Research) and prior to that, he was a Curatorial Associate at the American Museum of Natural History where he spearheaded the establishment of the Ambrose Monell Collection for Molecular and Microbial Research.


B.Sc. - Eastern Michigan University
Ph.D. - University of Oregon


My research focus involves the assembly and curation of genetic resource collections, involving everything from fieldwork methodologies to bioinformatics approaches. With the window of sampling opportunity closing for much of the World's biodiversity, the global DNA Barcoding initiative offers an outstanding opportunity to compile a well-characterized genetic resource collection of immense scope. My work involves raising the standards of, and disseminating relevant information on, how we sample biodiversity with an eye toward future genetic and genomic research. It is imperative that we maintain as much evidentiary value in our collections as possible and frozen tissue collections are a critical component of this mandate. High-quality specimen collections are essential for not only DNA barcoding and taxonomy, but also for more applied disciplines such as epidemiology and environmental toxicology. This makes my research focus multidisciplinary and collaborations with interested researchers and students are always sought. I am particularly interested in the development of molecular diagnostic tools for species identification and applications of those tools to questions involving biodiversity conservation and forensics. On a more philosophical level, I am interested in solving taxonomic problems, such as delimiting species boundaries, with phylogenetic solutions derived from the integration of multiple independent data sets (i.e. a total evidence approach). A thorough integration of behavioral, physiological, anatomical and genetic information provides an holistic approach toward the study of organismal evolution.

Selected Publications

Braid HE, Osborne J, Deeds JR, DeGrasse SL, Wilson JJ, Hanner RH (2012). Preying on commercial fisheries and accumulating paralytic shellfish toxins: a dietary analysis of invasive Dosidicus gigas (Cephalopoda Ommastrephidae) stranded in Pacific Canada. Marine Biology 159: 25-31.

Naaum AM, Foottit RG, Maw HEL, Hanner R (2012). Differentiation between Aphis pomi and Aphis spiraecola using multiplex real-time PCR based on DNA barcode sequences. Journal of Applied Entomology (accepted Nov 2011, doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0418.2012.01706.x).

Zhang J, Hanner R (2012). Molecular Approach to the Identification of Fish in the South China Sea. PLoS ONE 7(2): e30621. doi:10.1371/ journal.pone.0030621.

April J, Mayden RL, Hanner RH, Bernatchez L (2011). Genetic calibration of species diversity among North America's freshwater fishes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 108: 10602-10607.

Becker S, Hanner R, Steinke D (2011). Five years FISH-BOL - brief status report. Mitochondrial DNA 22(S1): 3-9.

de Carvalho DC, Oliveira DAA, Pompeu PS, Gontijo Leal C, Oliveira C, Hanner R (2011). Deep barcode divergence in Brazilian freshwater fishes: the case of the São Francisco River basin. Mitochondrial DNA 22 (S1): 80-86.

Doukakis P, Hanner R, Shivji M, Bartholomew C, Chapman D, Wong E, Amato G (2011). Applying genetic techniques to study remote shark fisheries in northeastern Madagascar. Mitochondrial DNA 22 (S1): 15-20.

Handy SM, Deeds JR, Ivanova NV, Hebert PDN, Hanner R, Ormos A, Weigt LA, Moore MM, Yancy HF (2011). A Single-Laboratory Validated Method for the Generation of DNA Barcodes for the Identification of Fish for Regulatory Compliance. Journal of AOAC International 94: 201-210.

Hanner R, Becker S, Ivanova NV, Steinke D (2011). FISH-BOL and seafood identification: Geographically dispersed case studies reveal systemic market substitution across Canada. Mitochondrial DNA 22 (S1): 106-122.

Hanner R, Floyd R, Bernard A, Collette BB, Shivji M (2011). DNA barcoding of billfishes. Mitochondrial DNA 22 (S1): 27-36.

Jackson MD, Marshall SA, Hanner R, Norrbom AL (2011). The fruit flies (Tephritidae) of Ontario. Canadian Journal of Arthropod Identification 15.

Lee LEJ, Bufalino MR, Christie AE, Frischer ME, Soinn T, Tsuin C, Hanner R, Smagghe G (2011). Misidentification of OLGA-PH-J/92, believed to be the only crustacean cell line. In Vitro Cell.Dev.Biol. - Animal 47: 665-674.

Lowenstein JH, Osmundson TW, Becker S, Hanner R, Stiassny MLJ (2011). Incorporating DNA barcodes into a multi-year inventory of the fishes of the hyperdiverse Lower Congo River, with a multi-gene performance assessment of the genus Labeo as a case study. Mitochondrial DNA 22 (S1): 52-70.

Mabragana E, Diaz de Astarloa JM, Hanner R, Zhang J, Gonzalez Castro M (2011). DNA barcoding identifies argentine fishes from marine and brackish waters. PLoS ONE 6: e28655.

Nwani CD, Becker S, Braid HE, Ude EF, Okogwo OI, Hanner R (2011). DNA barcoding discriminates freshwater fishes from southeastern Nigeria and provides river system-level phylogeographic resolution within some species. Mitochondrial DNA 22 (S1): 43-51.

Ogedengbe JD, Hanner RH, Barta JR (2011). DNA barcoding identifies Eimeria species and contributes to the phylogenetics of coccidian parasites (Eimeriorina, Apicomplexa, Alveolata). International Journal for Parasitology 41: 843-850.

Pereira LHG, Maia GM, Hanner R, Foresti F, Oliveira C (2011). DNA barcodes discriminate freshwater fishes from the Paraiba do Sul River Basin, Sao Paulo, Brazil. Mitochondrial DNA 22 (S1): 71-79.

Pereira LHG, Pazian MF, Hanner R, Foresti F, Oliveira C (2011). DNA barcoding reveals hidden diversity in the Neotropical freshwater fish Piabina argentea (Characiformes: Characidae) from the Upper Paraná Basin of Brazil. Mitochondrial DNA 22 (S1): 87-96.

Rasmussen-Hellberg RS, Morrissey MT, Hanner RH (2011). A multiplex PCR method for the identification of commercially important salmon and trout species (Oncorhynchus and Salmo) in North America. Journal of Food Science 75: C595-606.

Rasmussen-Hellberg RS, Naaum AM, Handy SM, Hanner RH, Deeds JR, Yancy HF, Morrissey MT (2011). Interlaboratory evaluation of a real-time multiplex polymerase chain reaction method for identification of salmon and trout species in commercial products. Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry 59: 876-884.

Steinke D, Hanner R (2011). The FISH-BOL Collaborators Protocol. Mitochondrial DNA 22 (S1): 10-14.

Zhang JB, Hanner R (2011). DNA barcoding is a useful tool for the identification of marine fishes from Japan. Biochemical Systematics and Ecology 39: 31-42.

deWaard JR, Mitchell A, Keena MA, Gopurenko D, Boykin LM, Armstrong KF, Pogue MG, Lima J, Floyd R, Hanner RH, Humble LM. (2010) Towards a Global Barcode Library for Lymantria (Lepidoptera: Lymantriinae) Tussock Moths of Biosecurity Concern. PLoS ONE 5(12): e14280. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0014280.

Floyd R, Lima J, deWaard J, Humble L, Hanner R (2010). Common goals: policy implications of DNA barcoding as a protocol for identification of arthropod pests. Biological Invasions, 12(9), 2947-2954.

Kawano A, Haiduk C, Schirmer K, Hanner R, Lee LEJ, Dixon B, Bols N (2010). Development of a rainbow trout intestinal epithelial cell line and its response to lipopolysaccharide. Aquaculture Nutrition (Published online: January 2010; DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2095.2010.00757.x).

Sriwattanarothai N, Steinke D, Ruenwongsa P, Hanner R, Panijpan B (2010). Molecular and morphological evidence supports the species status of the Mahachai fighter (Betta sp. Mahachai) and reveals new species of Betta from Thailand. Journal of Fish Biology 77: 414-424.

Birstein VJ, DeSalle R, Doukakis P, Hanner R, Ruban GI, Wong E (2009). Testing taxonomic boundaries and the limit of DNA barcoding in the Siberian sturgeon, Acipenser baerii. Mitochondrial DNA 20: 110-118.

Cohen NJ, Deeds JR, Wong E, Hanner RH, Yancy HF, White KD, Thompson TM, Wahl M, Pham TD, Guichard FM, Huh I, Austin C, Dizikes G, Gerber, SI (2009). Public health response to puffer fish (tetrodotoxin) poisoning from mislabelled product. Journal of Food Protection 72: 810-817.

Du Preez LH, Kunene N, Hanner R, Geisy JP, Solomon KR, Hosmer A, Van Der Kraak GJ (2009). Population-specific incidence of testicular ovarian follicles in Xenopus laevis from South Africa: A potential issue in endocrine testing. Aquatic Toxicology 95:10-16.

Genome 10K Community of Scientists (Haussler, D., sixteen co-authors, including R. Hanner, and fifty additional authors) (2009). Genome 10K - A Proposal to Obtain Whole Genome Sequence for 10,000 Vertebrate Species. Journal of Heredity 100(6):659-674.

Hanner RH, Lima J, Floyd R (2009). DNA barcoding and its relevance to pests, plants and biological control. Acta Horticulturae 823: 41-47.

Packer L, Gibbs J, Sheffield C, Hanner R (2009). DNA barcoding and the mediocrity of morphology. Molecular Ecology Resources 9 (Suppl. 1), 42-50.

Packer L, Grixti JC, Roughley RE, Hanner R (2009). The Status of Taxonomy in Canada and the Impact of DNA Barcoding. Canadian Journal of Zoology 87(12): 1097-1110.

Steinke D, Hanner R, Hebert PDN (2009). Rapid high-quality imaging of fishes using a flat-bed scanner. Ichthyological Research 56: 210-211.

Victor BC, Hanner R, Shivji M, Hyde J, Caldow C (2009). Identification of the larval and juvenile stages of the cubera snapper, Lutjanus cyanopterus, using mtDNA barcoding. Zootaxa 2215: 24-36.

Ward RD, Hanner R, Hebert PDN (2009). The campaign to DNA barcode all fishes, FISH-BOL. Journal of Fish Biology 74: 329-356.

Wong EHK, Shivji MS, Hanner RH (2009). Identifying sharks with DNA barcodes: assessing the utility of a nucleotide diagnostic approach. Molecular Ecology Resources 9 (Suppl. 1), 243-256.

Wong E, Hanner R (2008). DNA barcoding detects market substitution in North American seafood. Food Research International 41: 828-837.

Swartz E, Mwale M, Hanner R (2008). A role for barcoding in the study of African fish diversity and conservation. South African Journal of Science 104: 293-298.

Hubert N, Hanner R, Holm E, Mandrak N E, Taylor E, Burridge M, Watkinson D, Dumont P, Curry A, Bentzen, P, Zhang J, April J, Bernatchez L (2008). Identifying Canadian Freshwater fishes through DNA barcodes. PLoS One 3(6): e2490. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0002490.

Field D, Morrison N, Glockner F O, Kottmann R, Cochrane G, Vaughan R, Garrity G, Cole J, Hirschman L, Schriml L, Schindel D, Miller S, Hebert P, Ratnasingham S, Hanner R, Amaral-Zettler L, Sogin M, Ashburner M, Lewis S, Smith B (2008). Working together to put molecules on the map. Nature 453: 978. doi:10.1038/453978b.

Evans BJ, Carter TF, Tobias ML, Kelley DB, Hanner R, Tinsley R C (2008). A new species of clawed frog (genus Xenopus) from the Itombwe Massif, Democratic Republic of the Congo: implications for DNA barcodes and biodiversity conservation. Zootaxa 1780: 55-68.

Diaz de Astarloa J M, Mabragana E, Hanner R, Figueroa D (2008). Morphological and molecular evidence for a new species of longnose skate (Rajiformes: Rajidae: Dipturus) from Argentinean waters. Zootaxa 1921: 35-46.

Borisenko AV, Lim BK, Ivanova NV, Hanner RH, Hebert PDN (2008). DNA barcoding in surveys of small mammal communities: a field study in Suriname. Molecular Ecology Notes 8: 471-479.

Cooper JK, Sykes G, King S, Cottrill K, Ivanova NV, Hanner R, Ikonomi P (2007). Species identification in cell culture: a two-pronged molecular approach. In Vitro Cellular and Developmental Biology - Animal 43: 344-351.

Hanner RH, Gregory TR (2007). Genomic diversity research and the role of biorepositories. Cell Preservation Technology 5: 93-103.

Ivanova NV, Zemlak TS, Hanner RH, Hebert PDN (2007). Universal primer cocktails for fish DNA barcoding. Molecular Ecology Notes 7: 544-548.

Grad Students

Timothy Bartley (PhD) (co-advised by Dr. McCann)

(Currently Recruiting - email Dr. Hanner for more info)

Hanner Lab Website