Emily Humble

My personal blog can be found here.


I use genetic tools to address questions in evolutionary and conservation biology, particularly in charismatic marine species. Due to an intensive and ongoing long term study, the fur seals of South Georgia provide an outstanding opportunity to understand how natural selection operates in a wild marine mammal. As part of my PhD, I am using a large panel of genomic markers to investigate how individual fitness is influenced by genetic factors in Antarctic fur seals.

Previous Research and Other Interests

During my masters degree at Imperial College London, I used comparative transcriptomics to investigate adaptive divergence in lamnid sharks. I am also passionate about manta and mobula ray conservation and initiated the global manta ray genetics project to develop genetic tools to aid in fisheries monitoring and law enforcement. This project is a collaboration between the Manta Trust, TRACE and the University of Bangor.

I am also keen to address the gender disparity that exists in my field by reading and writing about amazing and inspiring women in science.


Dr Joe Hoffman, University of Bielefeld
Dr Jaume Forcada, British Antarctic Survey

  • 2014–Present: PhD Student – University of Bielefeld & British Antarctic Survey
  • 2012–2013: MRes (Distinction) in Biodiversity Informatics & Genomics, Imperial College London
  • 2008–2011: BSc (First Class Honours) in Biology, University of Sussex
Professional Experience
  • 2013–2014: Marine & Freshwater Intern – Conservation Programmes, Zoological Society of London
  • 2011–Present: Manta Ray Genetics Project Leader – Manta Trust & the Save our Seas Foundation
  • Summer 2011: Field Assistant – Maldivian Manta Ray Project, Manta Trust


7) Ciezarek, A., Dunning, L.T., Jones, C.S., Noble, L.R., Humble, E., Steffani, S. & Savolainen, V. (2016) Substitutions in the glycogen-1 gene are associated with the evolution of endothermy in sharks and tunas. Genome Biology and Evolution. Doi: 10.1093/gbe/evw211
6) Humble, E., Thorne, M.A.S., Forcada, J. & Hoffman, J.ITranscriptomic SNP discovery for custom genotyping arrays: impacts of sequence data, SNP calling method and genotyping technology on the probability of validation success. BMC Research Notes (accepted).
5) Cammen, K., Andrews, K., Carroll, E., Foote , A., Humble, E. et al. Genomic methods take the plunge: recent advances in high-throughput sequencing of marine mammals. Journal of Heredity (accepted).
4) Peters, L., Humble, E., Kröcker, N., Fuchs, B., Forcada, J. & Hoffman, J.I. (2016) Born blonde: a recessive loss of function mutation in the melanocortin 1 receptor is associated with cream coat colouration in Antarctic fur seals.  Ecology and Evolution, 6: 5705-5717. Doi: 10.1002/ece3.2290 pdf
3) Swift, D.G., Dunning, L.T., Igea, J., Brooks, E.J., Jones, C.S., Noble, L.R., Ciezarek, A., Humble, E. & Savolainen, V. (2016) Evidence of positive selection associated with placental loss in tiger sharks. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 16:126, DOI: 10.1186/s12862-016-0696-y. pdf
2) Stoffel, M.A., Esser, M., Kardos, M., Humble, E., Nichols, H.J., David, P. & Hoffman, J.I. (2016) inbreedR: An R package for the analysis of inbreeding based on genetic markers.  Methods in Ecology and Evolution. DOI: 10.1111/2041-210X.12588pdf Supplementary information pdf Here is the link to the package.
1) Humble, E., Martinez-Barrio, A., Forcada, J., Trathan, P.N., Thorne, M.A.S., Wolf, J.B.W.* & Hoffman, J.I.* (2016) A draft fur seal genome provides insights into factors affecting SNP validation and how to mitigate them.  Molecular Ecology Resources, 16: 909:921. DOI:10.1111/1755-0998.12502. pdf * Joint senior authors

Contact Details

FurSealProjectDepartment of Animal Behaviour
Bielefeld University
Postfach 100131
33501 Bielefeld

email: emily.humble[at]uni-bielefeld.de
twitter: @emilyhumble
GitHub: elhumble

I am funded by: