Stefanie Grosser


I have a strong interest in evolutionary biology, specifically in IMG_7438the processes underlying
the differentiation of natural populations that ultimately lead to speciation. I am exploring these phenomena using genetics and genomics tools in different pinniped species.

The Galápagos sea lion is an evolutionary young species that shows genetic as well as morphological and ecological differentiation (ecotypes) along an environmental gradient across the Galápagos archipelago despite the absence of obvious dispersal barriers. As such, this species presents a particularly interesting system for studying adaptation and speciation in the presence of gene flow, and the mechanisms driving genome differentiation.

Previous Research and Other Interests

For my PhD project I used population genetics and ancient DNA techniques to investigate the impacts of human arrival on little penguins (Eudyptula spp.) in New Zealand. I also have experience in using transcriptomics for gene discovery in a variety of species. When I am not working I like to go hiking and bird watching.

Supervisors and Collaborators

Joe Hoffman, Dept. of Animal Behaviour, University of Bielefeld, Germany
Jochen Wolf, Dept. of Ecology and Genetics, Uppsala University, Sweden

Jon Waters, Dept. of Zoology, University of Otago, New Zealand
Neil Gemmell, Dept. of Anatomy, University of Otago, New Zealand
Michael Knapp, Dept. of Anatomy, University of Otago, New Zealand

  • 2012-2015: PhD Zoology. Dept. of Zoology, University of Otago, New Zealand
  • 2008-2010: MSc Cell and Molecular Biology. Inst. of Biochemistry and Biology, University of Potsdam, Germany
  • 2005-2008: BSc Biosciences (focus: molecular biology and physiology). Inst. of Biochemistry and Biology, University of Potsdam, Germany
Research and Work Experience
  • 2015-present: Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Animal Behaviour, Bielefeld University, Germany & Division of Evolutionary Biology, Ludwig-Maximilian University Munich
  • 2015: Assistant Research Fellow. Dept. of Anatomy, University of Otago, New Zealand
  • 2011-2012: Laboratory Technician. Landcare Research, Auckland, New Zealand
  • 2010-2011: Academic visitor. Dept. of Zoology, Oxford University, Oxford, UK

  • Stovall W, Taylor H, Black M, Grosser S, Rutherford K, Gemmell N (2018) Genetic sex assignment in wild populations using GBS data: a statistical threshold approach. Mol Ecol Resour doi: 10.1111/1755-0998.12767.
  • Wu C, Jordan MD, Gemmell NJ, Bank S, Meusemann K, Dearden PK, Duncan EJ, Grosser S, Rutherford K, Gardner PP, Crowhurst RN, Steinwender B, Tooman LK, Stevens MI, Buckley TR (2017) Analysis of the genome of the New Zealand giant collembolan (Holacanthella duospinosa) sheds light on hexapod evolution. BMC Genomics 18:795 doi: 10.1186/s12864-017-4197-1.

  • Grosser S, Scofield RP, Waters JM (2017) Multivariate skeletal analyses support a taxonomic distinction between New Zealand and Australian Eudyptula penguins (Sphenisciformes: Spheniscidae). Emu doi:10.1080/01584197.2017.1315310.

  • Grosser S, Abdelkrim J, Wing J, Robertson BC, Gemmell NJ (2016) Strong isolation by distance argues for separate population management of endangered blue duck (Hymenolaimus malacorhynchos). Cons Genet 18(2): 327-341.

  • Waters JM, Grosser S (2016) Managing shifting species: Ancient DNA reveals conservation conundrums in a dynamic world. BioEssays doi:10.1002/bies.201600044.
  • Grosser S, Rawlence NJ, Anderson CNK, Smith IWG, Scofield RP, Waters JM (2016) Invader or resident? Ancient-DNA reveals rapid species turnover in New Zealand little penguins. Proc R Soc B 283: 20152879.
  • Grosser S, Burridge CP, Peucker AJ, Waters JM (2015) Coalescent modelling suggests recent secondary-contact of cryptic penguin species. PLoS ONE 10(12): e0144966.
  • Holtmann B, Grosser S, Lagisz M, Johnson S, Santos E Lara C Robertson B, Nakagawa S (2015) Population differentiation and behavioural association of the two ‘personality’ genes DRD4 and SERT in dunnocks (Prunella modularis). Mol Ecol doi: 10.1111/mec.13514.
  • Drummond AJ, Newcomb RD, Buckley TR et al. (2015) Evaluating a multigene environmental DNA approach for biodiversity assessment. GigaScience 4:46.
  • Grosser S, Ratz H, Waters JM (2015) DNA samples from wild animal populations as a byproduct of PIT tagging. Conserv Genet Resour 7(3): 631-633.
  • Grosser S, Waters JM (2015) Development and characterisation of 20 novel microsatellite markers for the little blue penguin (Eudyptula minor) using next-generation sequencing. Conserv Genet Resour 7(1): 143-145.
  • Grueber CE, Knafler GJ, King TM, Senior AM, Grosser S, Robertson B, Weston KA, Brekke P, Harris CLW, Jamieson IG (2015) Toll-like receptor diversity in 10 threatened bird species: relationship with microsatellite heterozygosity. Conserv Genet 16: 595–611.
  • Werner GDA, Gemmell P, Grosser S, Hamer R, Shimeld SM (2012) Analysis of a deep transcriptome from the mantle tissue of Patella vulgata Linnaeus (Mollusca: Gastropoda: Patellidae) reveals candidate biomineralising genes. Mar Biotechnol 15(2): 230-243.

Contact Details

Department of Animal Behaviour
Bielefeld University
Postfach 100131
33501 Bielefeld

LMU Biozentrum
Department Biologie II
Großhaderner Str. 2
82152 Planegg-Martinsried

email: grosser.stefanie[at]

I am funded by: