Axel Meyer

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Axel Meyer (born August 4, 1960) is an evolutionary biologist and a professor of zoology and evolutionary biology at the Universität Konstanz, Germany.

Meyer is best known for his work on the evolution and adaptive radiation of African cichlid fishes,[1][2] fish-specific genome duplications,[3][4] molecular phylogenetics of vertebrates,[5][6] and the role of ecological and sexual selection in speciation.[7][8]

Education and previous employment[edit]

Meyer (left) and Ernst Mayr in Konstanz in 1998

Meyer attended the gymnasium (high school) Katharineum in Lübeck. He was an undergraduate at the Universität Marburg (1979–1982), and completed his undergraduate thesis at the Universität Kiel and the University of Miami, Florida (1982). He received both his master's and PhD from the Department of Zoology at the University of California Berkeley in 1984 and 1988 respectively. He spent one year as a visiting student in Harvard University's Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology (1986–1987).

Meyer was an Alfred P. Sloan Postdoctoral Fellow in Molecular Evolution at University of California Berkeley with Allan C. Wilson, before joining the faculty in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Stony Brook as an assistant professor. In 1993 he received tenure and was promoted to associate professor. Meyer joined the Universität Konstanz Department of Biology as a full professor in 1997.[9]

Communication of science[edit]

Meyer is active in the communication of science to the public. He has written more than 45 articles for major German newspapers including Die Zeit and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.[10] In addition, he contributed a weekly column, Quantensprung, on matters related to science and evolution to the Handelsblatt from 2005-2010.[11] The first 100 articles of Quantensprung were published in 2008 in the book Evolution ist überall.

Awards and recognition[edit]

Meyer is an elected member of the Academy of Europe, the Academia Europaea [8], German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina,[12] the Academy of Sciences and Arts,[13] the European Molecular Biology Organization,[14] and the Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften.[15]

He has received numerous awards including the Carus Medal from the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina (2009),[16] the EMBO Award for Communication in Life Science (2008),[17] the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship (1996),[18][19] the Young Investigator Prize from the American Society of Naturalists(1990).,[20] and Hector Science Award 2012.[21] Most recently (2017) he was awarded a Radcliffe Fellowship at Harvard University's Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. His scientific work is widely cited by his peers[22][23][24] and has been covered by national and international press and media.[25]


  1. ^ Meyer, A., Kocher, T.D., Basasibwaki, P., Wilson, A.C. 1990. Monophyletic origin of Lake Victoria cichlid fishes suggested by mitochondrial DNA sequences. Nature 347 (6293): 550-553. [1] doi:10.1038/347550a0
  2. ^ Verheyen, E., Salzburger, W., Snocks, J. and A. Meyer. 2003. The origin of the superflock of cichlid fishes from Lake Victoria, East Africa. Science 300: 325-329. [2] doi:10.1126/science.1080699
  3. ^ Meyer, A. & M. Schartl. 1999. Gene and genome duplications in vertebrates: the one-to-four (to eight in fish) rule and the evolution of novel gene functions. Curr. Op. Cell Biol. 11: 699-704. [3] doi:10.1016/S0955-0674(99)00039-3
  4. ^ Taylor, J.S., Braasch, I., Frickey, T., A. Meyer and Y. Van de Peer. 2003. Genome duplication, a trait shared by 22,000 species of ray-finned fish. Genome Research 13: 382-390. [4] doi:10.1101/gr.640303
  5. ^ Meyer, A., Wilson, A.C. 1990. Origin of tetrapods inferred from their mitochondrial DNA affiliation to lungfish. J. Mol. Evol. 31: 359-364. [5] doi:10.1007/BF02106050
  6. ^ Zardoya, Rafael; Meyer, Axel (24 November 1998). "Complete mitochondrial genome suggests diapsid affinities of turtles". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 95 (24): 14226–14231. doi:10.1073/pnas.95.24.14226. PMID 9826682 – via 
  7. ^ Meyer, A., Morrissey, J.M., Schartl, M. 1994. Recurrent origin of a sexually selected trait in Xiphophorus fishes inferred from a molecular phylogeny. Nature 368: 539-542. [6] doi:10.1038/368539a0
  8. ^ Barluenga, M. Stolting, K.N., Salzburger, W., Muschick, M., Meyer, A. 2006. Sympatric speciation in Nicaraguan crater lake cichlid fish. Nature 439: 719-723. [7] doi:10.1038/nature04325
  9. ^ "Prof. Dr. Axel Meyer". Evolutionsbiologie Uni Konstanz. 
  10. ^ "Popular Press". Evolutionsbiologie Uni Konstanz. 
  11. ^ "Quantensprung Column". Evolutionsbiologie Uni Konstanz. 
  12. ^ German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina. Newly elected members 2009 Archived July 23, 2011, at the Wayback Machine..
  14. ^ Katja. "Members". 
  15. ^ jofi. "Aktuelle Mitglieder — Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften". 
  16. ^ Germany Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, list of Carus Medal recipients Archived July 23, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  17. ^ "Prominent German biologist wins EMBO communication award. Archived July 22, 2011, at the Wayback Machine." European Molecular Biology Organization, press release.
  18. ^ List of Guggenheim Fellowships awarded in 1996
  19. ^ John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, recipient Axel Meyer Archived June 28, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  20. ^ American Society of Naturalists, Young Investigator Prize, list of recipients Archived July 17, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  21. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-02-14. Retrieved 2015-01-14. 
  22. ^ Winkler, L. 2010. Laborjournal. List of most highly cited German Evolutionary Biologist 2004-2007.
  23. ^ Publication Analysis 1996-2006: Evolutionary Biology. Labtimes Online.
  24. ^ "Prof. Dr. Axel Meyer". Evolutionsbiologie Uni Konstanz. 
  25. ^ "Press coverage". Evolutionsbiologie Uni Konstanz. 

External links[edit]