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Dr. Paul Hebert
Canada Research Chair, Tier 1

Director, Biodiversity Institute of Ontario

Dr. Paul Hebert


Office: Centre for Biodiversity Genomics (CBG) Rm. 107
Ext: 56250


My interest in the natural world started with a keen interest in collecting insects as a child. This eventually led to my completing my B.Sc. at Queens. After receiving my Ph.D. in genetics at Cambridge University, I took up a Rutherford Fellowship at the University of Sydney. I returned to Canada in 1976, accepting a position at the University of Windsor where I was a professor in Biological Sciences and Director of the Great Lakes Institute. I moved to the University of Guelph in 1990 as Chair of the Department of Zoology. I have served as a member and chair of the NSERC Ecology and Evolution Grant selection Committee. I am a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and hold a Canada Research Chair in Molecular Biodiversity.


B.Sc. - Queens 1969
Ph.D. - Cambridge 1972


The Barcode of Life

We are working towards the development of a DNA barcoding system which uses a small DNA fragment to discriminate species. This work not only promises a simple solution to taxonomic identity, but will generate important new insights into the age of species and their phylogenetic affinities.

Phylogeographic Patterns in Arctic Marine Life

We are carrying out the first studies which are examining the extent and patterning of genetic diversity among key species of zooplankton and benthos from arctic marine waters. This work seeks to ascertain the extent of past population fragmentation in arctic life.

The Evolution of Breeding Systems

We are carrying out work on breeding system evolution with a special emphasis on transitions to parthenogenesis in freshwater crustaceans. Our work is examining both the forces promoting transitions to asexuality and the fate of asexuals.

The Modulation of Genome Sizes

The genome sizes of organisms show extraordinary diversity both among species and within the bodies of single individuals. Our work is examining the origins and implications of this diversity.

The Pattern and Pace of Evolution

The diversification of life is the heart of the evolutionary process. Our work is examining a number of systems to gain a better sense of the rates and nature of character state evolution.

Crustacean Biodiversity

We are employing a variety of genetic approaches to clarify the taxonomic diversity and phylogenetic affinities of freshwater crustaceans. We are also active in creating CD-ROMs to disseminate this information.

Phylogeography of Freshwater Invertebrates

We are carrying out work which is examining the phylogeography of freshwater invertebrates. This work examines both recent invaders and species whose distributions were established in deep time.

Selected Publications

Zahari R, D Lafontaine, BC Schmidt, JR deWaard, EV Zakharov and PDN Hebert. 2014. A transcontinental challenge - A test of DNA barcode performance for 1,541 species on Canadian Noctuoidea (Lepidoptera). PLOS ONE 9: e92797.

Wirta HK, PDN Hebert, R Kaartinen, SW Prosser, G. Varkonyi and T Roslin. 2014. Complementary molecular information changes our perception of food web structure. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 111: 1885-1890.

Ratnasingham S and PDN Hebert. 2013. A DNA-based registry for all animal species: The Barcode Index Number (BIN) System. PLOS ONE 8: e66213.

Hebert PDN, JR deWaard, EV Zakahov, SWJ Prosser, JE Sones, JTA McKeown, DB Mantle and J La Salle. 2013. A DNA 'Barcode Blitz': Rapid digitization and sequencing of a natural history collection. PLOS ONE 8: e68535.

Rougerie R, Smith MA, Fernandez-Triana J, Lopez-Vaamonde C, Ratnasingham S and PDN Hebert. 2011. Molecular analysis of parasitoid linkages (MAPL): gut contents of adult parasitoids reveal larval hosts. Mol. Ecol. 20: 179-186.

Dinca V, Zakharov EV, Hebert PDN and R Vila. 2010. Complete DNA barcode reference library for a country's butterfly fauna reveals high performance for temperate Europe. Proc. Royal Soc B 278: 347-355.

Hebert PDN, JR DeWaard and JF Landry. 2010. DNA barcodes for 1/1000 of the animal kingdom. Biology Letters 6: 359-362.

Weider LJ, D Frisch and PDN Hebert. 2009. Long-term changes in metapopulation genetic structure: A quarter-century retrospective study on low-arctic rock pool Daphnia. Proc. Royal Soc. B 277: 139-146.

Stoeckle M and PDN Hebert 2008. Barcode of Life. Scientific American 299: 65-71.

Smith, A., D.H. Janzen and P.D.N. Hebert. 2006. DNA barcodes reveal cryptic host-spceificity within the presumed polyphagous members of a genus of parasitoid flies (Diptera: Tachinidae). Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 103: 3657-3662.

Hajibabaei, M., D.H. Janzen, J.M. Burns, W. Hallwachs and P.D.N. Hebert. 2006. DNA barcodes distinguish species of tropical Lepidoptera. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA: 103: 968-971.

Ward, R.D., T.S. Zemlak, B.H. Innes, P.R. Last and P.D.N. Hebert. 2005. DNA barcoding Australia's fish species. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. 360: 1847-1857.

Hebert, P.D.N. and T.R. Gregory. 2005. The promise of DNA barcoding for taxonomy. System. Biol. 54: 852-859.

Barrett, R.D.H. and P.D.N. Hebert. 2005. Identifying spiders through DNA barcodes. Can. J. Zool. 83: 481-491.

Lambert, D.M., A. Baker, L. Huynen, O. Haddrath, P.D.N. Hebert and C.D. Millar. 2005. Is a large-scale DNA-based inventory of ancient life possible? J. Heredity: 96: 1-6.


ZOO*4600 Tropical Ecology
ZOO*4610 Arctic Ecology
IBIO*6020 Advances in Evolution

Grad Students

D'Souza, Michelle (MSc)
Hotke, Kathryn (MSc)


International Barcode of Life Project
Biodiversity Institute of Ontario
Canadian Centre for DNA Barcoding
Barcode of Life Data Systems
Hebert Lab
Canada's Aquatic Environments
Canada's Polar Life