Michael Matschiner

Evolutionary biologist / Software developer / Outdoor enthusiast

Michael Matschiner

Present address

Palaeontological Institute and Museum
Department of Palaeontology and Museum
University of Zurich

Research interests

Diversification / Adaptive radiation / Phylogenomics / Introgression
My research investigates both micro- and macroevolutionary processes that drive species diversification, mostly using the adaptive radiations of Antarctic ice fishes or African cichlid fishes as model systems. To infer time-lines of diversification, I use genomic data sets, and I have developed the CladeAge add-on for the software BEAST2 to estimate divergence dates based on information from the fossil record. Through comparison of the inferred time-lines, present-day species numbers, and geological events, I aim to identify why some groups of animals are extremely species-rich, while others fail to diversify. Part of this work relies on computer simulations to compare observed and expected patterns of species richness, genetic diversity, and morphological variation. In addition, I use genome sequences from different populations of the same species, or from closely related species, to investigate hybridization and its effect on the speciation progress.


University of Zurich, Switzerland | 2018 ongoing
Postdoctoral fellow at the Palaeontological Institute and Museum.

University of Basel, Switzerland | 2017-2018
Postdoctoral fellow at the Zoological Institute, Department of Environmental Sciences.

University of Oslo, Norway | 2013-2017
Researcher at the Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis, Department of Biosciences.

Allan Wilson Centre, New Zealand | 2012-2013
Swiss National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellow.


University of Basel, Switzerland | 2008-2011
PhD thesis with Prof. Walter Salzburger, Zoological Institute, Department of Environmental Sciences. Title: 'Population genetic and phylogenetic insights into the adaptive radiation of Antarctic notothenioid fishes'.

University of Konstanz, Germany | 2002-2008
Diploma studies of Biological Sciences. Thesis title: 'Adaptive radiation in an extreme environment: Population genetics of Antarctic notothenioids'.


Evolution and Genomics Workshops, Český Krumlov, Czech Republic | 2015 ongoing
Co-director of the Workshop on Molecular Evolution and the Workshop on Population and Speciation Genomics.

Physalia Workshops, Berlin, Germany | 2018 ongoing
Director of the Workshop on Phylogenomics.

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