Bernd Hänfling


  • IV1 1SA

    United Kingdom

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Personal profile

Research expertise

Bernd Hänfling joins UHI Inverness from the University of Hull, where he was Reader in the Department of Biological and Marine Sciences and Director of Postgraduate Studies.

With interests in ecology and evolution, Dr Hänfling pioneered the development of environmental DNA (eDNA) approaches to monitoring fish communities. He has more than 20 years’ experience in the development and application of molecular tools for biodiversity and ecological research.

His appointment coincides with a programme of major investment in the laboratory facilities at UHI Inverness, which will double existing capacity to carry out molecular biodiversity monitoring. This will include increased use of eDNA and metabarcoding to identify and measure the abundance of a species in an ecosystem and the ecological impact of environmental changes.

Dr Hänfling will oversee the research in Biodiversity and Freshwater Conservation at UHI Inverness, which will extend the current work on rivers and lochs to the application of molecular approaches across all water and land habitats.

Molecular biodiversity monitoring plays an increasingly important role in many water or land-based conservation projects and environmental impact assessments, supporting land managers with the tools to understand the impact of any changes they make. This data helps them make decisions in the best interests of biodiversity, including the conservation of vulnerable species.

This type of research is critical to the success of rewilding projects, including the restoration of woodlands and wetlands, and the management and reintroduction of species.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land