Skip to main content

Dr Andreanna Welch

Associate Professor

Associate Professor in the Department of Biosciences


Research Interests

My research interests center broadly on gaining a better understanding of the amazing biodiversity that we see around us today, and how this biodiversity has changed through time. I work on multiple scales at the intersection between ecology, evolution, cellular biology, physiology, and conservation. For example, I investigate questions such as:


1) What are the evolutionary relationships between recognized (and cryptic) species?

2) How does ecology play a role in the divergence of populations and the process of speciation?

3) How are closely related and ecologically similar species able to coexist?

4) How do species become adapted to their environment?

5) How do species respond to natural and anthropogenic changes through time?

6) What species have been lost, and what mechanisms drive extinction?


To address these questions I employ a variety of genetic techniques, ranging from DNA barcoding, metagenomics, and transciprtomics to full genome sequencing. I incorporate an explicit temporal perspective by sequencing ancient DNA from paleontological, archeological, and historical museum collections. This comprehensive, integrative approach provides the power necessary to address these complex and critically important questions.


Interested in joining the lab? There are several opportunities for postdocs, postgraduates (including RCUK-sponsored students), and undergraduate students (including placement students) to join the lab. We value diversity in the lab and I encourage all inquisitive and motivated people to contact me, regardless of ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation or background.


For more, check out my lab website and my Google Scholar profile.



Postal address: Department of Biosciences, Durham University, South Road, Durham, DH1 3LE, UK

Office: 168 Biological & Biomedical Sciences Bldg

Phone: +44 (0)191-334-1258




Check our my Google Scholar page or my page on Durham Research Online for copies of papers.

Estandía A; Chesser RT, James HF, Levy M, Ferrer-Obiol J, Bretagnolle V, González-Solís J, Welch AJ. Substitution rate variation in a robust Procellariiform seabird phylogeny is not solely explained by body mass, flight efficiency, population size or life history traits. Preprint published on bioRxiv at

Jarrett C, Haydon DT, Morales J, Ferreira DF, Forzi F, Welch AJ, Powell LL, Matthiopoulos J. 2022. Integration of mark-recapture and acoustic data for robust population estimation in animal communities. Ecology (In press)

Ferrer-Obiol J, James HF, Chesser RT, Bretagnolle V, González-Solís J, Rozas J, Welch AJ, Riutort M. 2022. Paleoceanographic changes in the late Pliocene promoted rapid diversification in pelagic seabirds. Journal of Biogeography 49:171-188

Hoenig BD, Snider AM, Forsman AM, Hobson KA, Latta SC, Miller ET, Polito MJ, Powell LL, Rogers SL, Sherry TW, Toews DPL, Welch AJ, Taylor SS, Porter BA. 2021. Current methods and future directions in avian diet analysis. Ornithology 139:1-28 (Special issue on diet analysis)

Ferrer-Obiol J, James HF, Chesser RT, Bretagnolle V, González-Solís J, Rozas J, Riutort M, Welch AJ. 2021. Integrating sequence capture and restriction-site associated DNA sequencing to resolve recent radiations of pelagic seabirds. Systematic Biology 70:976-996.

Jarrett C, Smith T, Claire TTR, Ferreira DF, Tchoumbou M, Elikwo MNF, Wolfe J, Brezeski K, Welch AJ, Hanna R, Powell LL. 2021. Bird communities in African cocoa agroforestry are diverse but lack specialized insectivores. Journal of Applied Ecology 58:1237-1247.

Jarrett C, Powell LL, McDevitt H, Helm B, Welch AJ. 2020. Bitter fruits of hard labour: Diet metabarcoding and telemetry reveal that urban songbirds travel further for lower-quality food. Oecologia 193:377-388.

Ferreira D, Torrent L, Welch AJ, Wolfe JD, Brzeski K, Powel LL. 2020. First record of a piebald Bates’s Slit-faced Bat, Nycteris arge (Chiroptera: Nycteridae) from Equatorial Guinea, Central Africa. Journal of Bat Research & Conservation 13:88-92.

Cassin-Sackett L, Welch AJ, Venkatraman M, Callicrate TE, Fleischer RC. 2019. The Contribution of Genomics to Bird Conservation. In: Kraus R (ed): Avian Genomics in Ecology and Evolution: From the lab into the wild. Springer International Publishing (Switzerland).

Lucas T, Welch AJ, Zanchetta C, Chesser TR, Manno M, Donnadieu C, Bretagnolle V, Pante E. 2019. Evidence for a duplicated mitochondrial region in Audubon’s shearwater based on MinION sequencing. Mitochondrial DNA Part A 30:256-263.

Michael N, Torres R, Welch AJ, Adams J, Bonillas-Monge ME, Felis J, López-Márquez LA, Martínez-Flores A, Wiley AE. 2018. Carotenoid ornaments reflect foraging propensity in the brown booby (Sula leucogaster): revisiting the rarity hypothesis using stable isotopes and GPS tracking. Biology Letters 4:20180398.

Chesser TR, Vaseghi H, Bergner LM, Cortes-Rodriguez MN, Welch AJ, and Collins CT. 2018. Molecular systematics of swifts of the genus Chaetura (Aves: Apodiformes: Apodidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 128:162-171.

Hofman CA , Rick TC, Erlandson JM, Reeder-Myers L, Welch AJ, Buckley M. 2018. Collagen Fingerprinting and the Earliest Marine Mammal Hunting in North America. Scientific Reports 8:10014.

Gray HWI, Nishida S, Welch AJ, Moura AE, Tanabe S, Kiani M, Cullock R, Möller L, Natoli A, Ponnempalam L, Minton G, Gore M, Collins T, Wilson A, Baldwin R, Hoelzel AR. 2018. Cryptic lineage differentiation among Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus) in the northwest Indian Ocean. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 122:1-14.

Welch AJ, Collins K, Ratan A, Drautz D, Schuster SC, Lindqvist C. 2016. The quest to resolve recent radiations: Plastid phylogenomics of extinct and endangered Hawaiian endemic mints (Lamiaceae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 99:16-33.

Welch AJ, Collins K, Ratan A, Drautz D, Schuster SC, Lindqvist C. 2016. Data characterizing the chloroplast genomes of extinct and endangered Hawaiian endemic mints (Lamiaceae) and their close relatives. Data in Brief 7:900-922.

Hailer F, Welch AJ. 2016. Evolutionary history of polar and brown bears. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester, England. DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0026303

Welch AJ, Bedoya-Reina OC, Carretero-Paulet L, Miller W, Rode KD, Lindqvist C. 2014. Polar bears exhibit genome-wide signatures of bioenergetic adaptation to life in the Arctic environment. Genome Biology and Evolution 6:433-450.

Moura AE, Kenny JG, Chaudhuri R, Hughes MA, Welch AJ, Reisinger RR, de Bruyn PJN, Dahlheim ME, Hall N, Hoelzel AR. 2014.Population genomics of the killer whale indicates ecotype evolution in sympatry involving both selection and drift. Molecular Ecology 23:5179-5192.

Welch AJ, Olson SL, Fleischer RC. 2014. Phylogenetic relationships of the extinct St. Helena petrel, Pterodroma rupinarum Olson (Procellariiformes: Procellariidae), based on ancient DNA. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 170:494-505.

Wiley AE, Ostrom PH, Welch AJ, Fleischer RC, Gandhi H, Southon JR, Stafford TW Jr., Penniman J, Hu D, Duvall F, James HF. 2013. Millennial-scale records from a wide-ranging predator show evidence of recent human impact to oceanic food webs. PNAS 110:8972-8977.

Ibarra-Laclette E, Lyons E, Hernández-Guzmán G, Pérez-Torres CA, Carretero-Paulet L, Chang T-H, Lan T, Welch AJ, Juárez MJA, Simpson J, Fernández-Cortés A, Arteaga-Vázquez M, Gongora-Castillo E, Acevedo-Hernández G, Schuster SC, Himmelbauer H, Minoche AE, Xu SE, Lynch M, Oropeza-Aburto A, Cervantes SA, de Jesús Ortega-Estrada M, Cervantes-Luevano JI, Michael T, Mockler T, Bryant D, Herrera-Estrella A, Albert VA, Herrera-Estrella L. 2013. Architecture and evolution of a minute plant genome. Nature 498:94-98.

Miller W, Schuster SC, Welch AJ, Ratan A, Bedoya-Reina OC, Zhao F, Kim HL, Burhans RC, Drautz DI, Wittekindt NE, Tomsho LP, Ibarra-Laclette E, Herrera-Estrella L, Peacock E, Farley S, Sage GK, Rode K, Obbard M, Montiel R, Bachmann L, Ingólfsson Ó, Aars J, Mailund T, Wiig Ø, Talbot SL, Charlotte Lindqvist. 2012. Polar and brown bear genomes reveal ancient admixture and demographic footprints of past climate change. PNAS 109:E2382-E2390.

Welch AJ, Wiley AE, James HF, Ostrom PH, Southon JR, Stafford TW, Fleischer RC. 2012. Ancient DNA reveals genetic stability despite demographic decline: 3,000 years of population history in the endemic Hawaiian petrel. Molecular Biology and Evolution 29:3729-3740.

Welch AJ, Fleischer RC, James HF, Wiley AE, Ostrom PH, Adams J, Duvall F, Holmes N, Hu D, Penniman J, Swindle KA. 2012. Population divergence and gene flow in an endangered and highly mobile seabird. Heredity 109:19-28.

Wiley AE, Welch AJ, Ostrom PH, James HF, Stricker C, Fleischer RC, Gandhi H, Adams J, Ainley DG, Duvall F, Holmes N, Hu D, Judge S, Penniman J, Swindle K. 2012. Foraging segregation and genetic divergence between geographically proximate colonies of a highly mobile seabird. Oecologia 1:119-130.

Welch AJ, Yoshida AA, Fleischer RC. 2011. Mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequences reveal recent divergence in morphologically indistinguishable petrels. Molecular Ecology 20:1364-1377.

Pyle P, Welch AJ, Fleischer RC. 2011. A new species of shearwater (Puffinus) recorded from Midway Atoll, Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Condor 113:518-527.

Welch AJ, and Fleischer RC. 2011. Polymorphic microsatellite markers for the endangered Hawaiian petrel (Pterodroma sandwichensis). Conservation Genetics Resources 3:581-584.

Welch AJ, Stiponovic AJ, Maynard CA, Powell WA. 2007. The effects of oxalic acid on transgenic Castanea dentata callus tissue expressing oxalate oxidase. Plant Science 172:488-96.


Journal Article

Supervision students