Robert Hanner

Bob Hanner
Phone number: 
519-824-4120 x53479
SSC 2448

Robert (Bob) Hanner is a Professor in the Department of Integrative Biology and Biodiversity Institute of Ontario at the University of Guelph. He worked at the American Museum of Natural History as a Kalbfleisch Postdoctoral Fellow and Curatorial Associate of their Ambrose Monell Cryo Collection before joining the Coriell Institute of Medical Research as Scientific Director. He has also served as President of the International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories (ISBER). Since joining the University of Guelph in 2005, he has developed a broad ranging research program in molecular biodiversity. Focusing on food security issues in collaboration with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, his research involves DNA-based bio-surveillance of agricultural pests, plant viruses and vectors of disease. Notably, it has also engaged citizen scientists, journalists, and NGOs in revealing market substitution and food fraud, both in Canada and internationally. The environmental or “eDNA" research he currently spearheads aims to support conservation of aquatic species-at-risk and has received funding from Genome Canada, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada and the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE), together with support from varied industry partners including Limnotech, Precision Biomonitoring, SLR Consulting and Stantec. 

  • 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.

  • Madden, M., Young, R., Brown, J., Miller, S., *Frewin, S., Hanner, R. (accepted 2019). Efficacy of DNA barcoding to improve invasive pest identification at U.S. ports-of-entry. Plos One.
  • *Blair, J., *Gwiazdowski, R., *Borrelli, A., *Hotchkiss, M., *Park, C., *Perrett, G., Hanner, R. (in press 2019). Toward a catalogue of biodiversity databases: An ontological case study. Biodiversity Data Journal.
  • *Shehata, H., *Bourque, D., Steinke, D., Chen, S., & Hanner, R. (2019).  Survey of mislabelling across finfish supply chain reveals mislabelling both outside and within Canada. Food Research International, 121, 723-729.
  • Newmaster, S., Shanmughanandhan, D., Kesanakurti, P., *Shehata, H., *Faller, A., Della Noce, I., Lee, J. Y., Rudzinski, P., Lu, Z., Zhang, Y., Swanson, G., Hanner, R., Ragupathy, S. (2019).  Recommendations for       Validation of Real-Time PCR Methods for Molecular Diagnostic Identification of Botanicals.   Journal of AOAC International. doi: 10.5740/jaoacint.18-0321.
  • *Shehata, H., *Naaum, A., *Chen, S., *Murphy, T., *Li, J., Shannon, K., Awmack, A. Locas, Hanner, R. (2019). Revisiting the occurrence of undeclared species in sausage products sold in Canada.  Food Research International, doi:
  • Skinner, M., Murdoch, M., *Loeza-Quintana, T., *Crookes, S., & Hanner, R. (2019). A comparison of laboratory  land field-based eDNA solutions for detection and quantification of striped bass (Morone saxatilis) in marine ecosystems. Accepted: Environmental DNA.
  • Tarof, S., *Crookes, S., *Loeza-Quintana, T., & Hanner, R. (2019). Environmental DNA Bioassays Corroborate Field Data for Detection of Overwintering Species at Risk Blanding's Turtles (Emydoidea blandingii). Initial  submission to Environmental DNA.
  • *Morey, K. & Hanner, R. (2019). "Validating environmental DNA metabarcoding for marine fishes in diverse ecosystems using a public aquarium," Initial submission to Environmental DNA.
  • *Crookes, S. & Hanner, R. (2019). "Multiple repositories of environmental DNA: triple source detection of the Endangered Jefferson salamander Ambystoma jeffersonianum," Initial submission to Environmental DNA.
  • Gec, P., MacDonald, C., Mason, B., McIsaac, D., Nicholson, A., Rein, W., Wrobel, J., Hanner, R., (2019). Metadata for eDNA: what is being reported? Initial submission to Environmental DNA.
  • *Shehata, H., *Naaum, A., *Chen, S., *Murphy, T., *Li, J., Shannon, K., Awmack, A., Locas, A., Hanner, R. (2019). Re-visiting the occurrence of undeclared species in sausage products sold in Canada.  Food Research International, 121, 723-729.
  • *Crookes, S., Sollen, J., *Naaum, A., *Loeza-Quintana, T., Tosh, M., Hanner, R., (2018). A practical pipeline to conduct environmental DNA (eDNA) surveys in real-time to facilitate the rapid assessment of aquatic taxa.  Initial submission to Biology Letters.
  • Riley, J., Stewart, D., Murdoch, M., Hanner, R., *Crookes, S., Thomas, M., (2018). Environmental DNA – Real Time Results in the Field to Confirm the Presence of Target Species. Initial submission to Right of Way Conference.
  •  *Shehata, H., *Bourque, D., Steinke, D., Chen, S., & Hanner, R. (2018).  Survey of mislabelling in seafood supply chain reveals mislabelling both outside and within Canada.   Food Research International, 121, 723-729.
  • *Bourque, D., Bradley, D., Daley, J., Patrick, P., Hanner, R., *Naaum, A. (2018).  Real-time PCR Assays for Identification of Commonly Entrained Freshwater Species from the Great Lakes.   Conservation Genetics Resources, 1-6.
  • *Shehata, H., *Naaum, A., & Garduno, R., Hanner, R. (2018).  DNA Barcoding as a Regulatory Tool for Seafood in Canada.   Food Control, 92, 147-153.
  • Warner, K., Lowell, B., Timme, W., Shaftel, E., & Hanner, R. (2018). Seafood sleuthing: How citizen science contributed to the largest market study of seafood mislabeling in the U.S. and informed policy. Marine Policy, 304-311
  • *Naaum, A., *Shehata, H., Chen, S., Li, J., Tabujara, N., Awmack, D.; Lutze-Wallace, C. & Hanner, R. (2018)  Complementary molecular methods detect undeclared species in sausage products at retail markets in     Canada. Food Control, 84, 339-344.
  • Hu, Y., Huang, S., Hanner, R., Levin, J., & Lu, X. (2018).  Study of fish products in Metro Vancouver using DNA barcoding methods reveals fraudulent labeling.   Food Control, 94, 38-47.
  • *Phillips, J., Gillis, D., & Hanner, R. (2018).  Incomplete estimates of genetic diversity within species: Implications for DNA barcoding.   Ecology and Evolution, 9 (5), 2996-3010.
  • Steinke, D., Bernard, A., Horn, R., Hilton, P., Hanner, R., Shivji, M. (2017).  DNA analysis of traded shark fins and mobulid gill plates reveals a high proportion of species of conservation concern.   Scientific Reports, 7.
  • Hutama, A., Dahruddin, H., Busson, F., Sauri, S., Kent, P., Hadiaty, R.K., Hanner, R., Suryobroto, B., Hubert, N. (2017). Identifying spatially concordant evolutionary significant units across multiple species through DNA barcodes: Application to the conservation genetics of the freshwater fishes of Java and Bali.   Global Ecology and Conservation, 12, 170-187.
  • *Shehata, H., Li, J., Chen, S., Redda, H., Cheng, S., N. Tabujara, H. Li, K. Warriner, R. Hanner (2017).  Droplet digital polymerase chain reaction (ddPCR) assays integrated with an internal control for quantification of bovine, porcine, chicken and turkey species in food and feed.   PLoS ONE, 12 (1).
  • Cariani, A., Messinetti, S., Ferrari, A., Aralea, A., Hanner, R., J. Bonello, et al. (2017).  Improving the Conservation of Mediterranean Chondrichthyans: The ELASMOMED DNA Barcode Reference Library. PLoS ONE, 2(1),        e0170224
  • Mariani, S., Cawthorn, D. M., & Hanner, R. (2017).  Mislabelling seafood does not promote sustainability: a comment on Stawitz et al.   Conservation Letters, 10(6), 781-782.
  • *Overdyk, L., *Braid, H., *Naaum, A., & Hanner, R. (2016).  Real-time PCR identification of lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis) in the Great Lakes.   Journal of Fish Biology, 88 (4).
  • Bréchon, A., Hanner, R., & Mariani, S. (2016).  A systematic analysis across North Atlantic countries unveils subtleties in cod product labelling.   Marine Policy, 69, 124-133
  • Lewis, L., Richardson, D., Zakharov, E., & Hanner, R. (2016).  Integrating DNA barcoding of fish eggs into ichthyoplankton monitoring programs.   Fishery Bulletin, 114, 153-168.
  • *Ondrejicka, D., *Morey, K., & Hanner, R. (2016).  *DNA Barcodes Identify Medically Important Tick Species in Canada.   Genome.
  • Thomas, V., Hanner, R., & Borisenko, A. (2016).  DNA-based identification of invasive alien species in relation to Canadian federal policy and law, and the basis of rapid-response management. Genome, 59 (11),1023-1031
  • Dahruddin, H., Hutama, A., Busson, F., Sauri, S., Hanner, R., Keith, P., Hadiaty, R., & Hubert, identification accuracy, cryptic diversity and identification of exotic species.   Molecular Ecology Resources,     doi:10.1111/1755-0998.12528.
  • Hubert, N. & Hanner, R. (2015).  DNA Barcoding, species delineation and taxonomy: a historical perspective. DNA Barcodes, 3 (44-58).
  • *Phillips, J., *Gwiazdowski, R., Ashlock, D., & Hanner, R. (2015).  An exploration of sufficient sampling effort to describe intraspecific DNA barcode haplotype diversity: examples from the ray-finned fishes (Chordata: Actinopterygii). DNA Barcodes, 3, 66-73.
  • *Naaum, A. & Hanner, R. (2015).  Community engagement in seafood identification using DNA barcoding reveals market substitution in Canadian seafood.   DNA Barcodes, 3, 74-79.
  • *Overdyk, L., *Braid, H., Crawford, S., & Hanner, R. (2015).  Extending DNA Barcoding Coverage for Lake Whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis) Across the Three Major Basins of Lake Huron. DNA Barcodes, 3, 59-65.
  • *Naaum, A., St. Jaques, J., Warner, K., Santschi, L., Imondi, R., & Hanner, R. (2015).  Standards for Conducting a DNA Barcoding Market Survey: Minimum Information and Best Practices.   DNA Barcodes, 3, 80-84.
  • Henriques, J., da Costa Silva, G., Ashikaga, F., Hanner, R., Foresti, F., & Oliveira, C. (2015). Use of DNA barcode in the identification of fish species from Ribeira de Iguape Basin and coastal rivers from São Paulo State (Brazil).   DNA Barcodes, 3, 118-128.
  • *Strohm, J., *Gwiazdowski, R., & Hanner, R. (2015).  Mitogenome metadata: current trends and proposed standards.   Mitochondrial DNA. doi: 10.3109/19401736.2015.1015003.
  • *Overdyk, L., Holm, E., Hanner, R., & Crawford, S. (2015).  Increased taxonomic resolutions of Laurentian Great Lakes ichthyoplankton through DNAbarcoding: Case study comparison against visual identification Stokes Bay, Lake Huron. Journal of Great Lakes Research.
  • *Bartley, T., *Braid, H., McCann, K., Lester, N., Shuter, B., & Hanner, R. (2015).  DNA barcoding increases resolution and changes structure in Canadian boreal shield lake food webs.   DNA Barcodes, 3, 30-43.
  • Jabado, R., Ghais, S., Hamza, W., Henderson, A., Spaet, J., Shivji, M., & Hanner, R. (2015).  Characterizing the trade in sharks and their products in the United Arab Emirates through market surveys and DNA barcoding.    Biological Conservation, 181, 190-198.
  • *Strohm, J., *Gwiazdowski, R., & Hanner, R. (2015).  Fast fish face fewer mitochondrial mutations: patterns of dN/dS across fish mitogenomes. Gene, 572(1), 27-34.
  • Danielle Bourque, MSc (co-advised with John Fryxell, Dept. of Integrative Biology)
  • Anibal Castillo, PhD (co-advised with Kari Dunfield, School of Environmental Sciences)
  • Kamil Chatila, MSc (co-advised with Sarah Adamowiczs, Dept. of Integrative Biology)
  • Adam Faller, PhD (co-advised with Steve Newmaster, Dept. of Integrative Biology)
  • Jennifer Gleason, PhD (co-advised with Karl Cottenie, Dept. of Integrative Biology)
  • Phoenix Gu, MSc (co-advised with Jeff Farber, Dept. of Food Science)
  • Kim Lyle, MSc
  • Jarrett Phillips PhD (co-advised with Dan Gillis, School of Computer Science)
  • Yashu Song PhD (co-advised with Baozhong Meng, Dept. of Molecular and Cellular Biology)
  • IBIO*3100 Interpreting Biodiversity I
  • IBIO*4100 Interpreting Biodiversity II
  • BIOT*6550 Biodiversity and Biotechnology
  • UNIV*1200 Biodiversity in Crisis