Johannes Neumann


  • Ph.D. in Comparative Biology, Richard Gilder Graduate School at the American Museum of Natural History, anticipated 2021 (Principal advisor: Dr. Rob DeSalle).
  • B.S. in Biology, Leibniz Universität Hannover, 2017.

Research Interests

I am an evolutionary and molecular biologist with a passion for marine biology, ecology, and the theoretic aspects of evolution. I am fascinated by the ways that evolution works and much of my research focuses on how animals diversified into all the complex forms that we see today.
The first animals must have been very simple creatures, and this is why I am intrigued by Placozoa: the most simple animals on Earth, basically shape-shifting plates only made up of skin. Inside of their cells, they host bacteria. I investigate this unique endosymbiotic relationship to understand how animal and bacterial evolution influence each other.
I go diving off the coasts of five continents to collect samples, and wherever I go, I like to teach students what I know. I analyze the samples using state-of-the-art technologies of next-generation sequencing and bioinformatics.
I also study other host-symbiont relationships (e.g. crayfish worms), as well as bacterial ecology using metagenomics. I enjoy thinking about the big picture of evolutionary theory and how much our current system of naming and cataloguing biodiversity actually represents the history of life.


Submitted for Publication

  • Tessler, M., De Carle, D., Voiklis, M.L., Gresham, O.A., Neumann, J.S., Cios, S., Siddall, M.E. Worms that suck: phylogenetics of leeches, crayfish worms, and Acanthobdellida (Hirudinea).


  • Tessler, M., Neumann, J.S., Afshinnekoo, E., Pineda, M., Hersch, R., Velho, L.F.M., Segovia, B.T., Lansac-Toha, F.A., Lemke, M., DeSalle, R., Mason, C.E., Brugler, M.R. Large-scale differences in microbial biodiversity discovery between 16S amplicon and shotgun sequencing. Scientific Reports 7, 6589 (2017).

Teaching Experience

•    Teaching primary school students evolution, microscopy and scientific drawing in AUS
•    Mentor of non-biology undergraduate student for ecology and field work in Kenya
•    Field trip supervisor of bat ID project in France for undergraduate and graduate students
•    Biology Fachschaft student council mentor for undergraduate biology students, Hannover
•    Tutor for international students from Costa Rica and USA in Hannover
•    Teaching high school students and testing fossil & tree ID app on biodidactics field trip
•    Assistant teacher for biology and English at high school IGS Langenhagen for six weeks