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The picture of Dr. Lotanna Micah Nneji

Lotanna Micah Nneji, PhD (He/His)

Assistant Professor

  • Biology
  • College of Arts & Sciences


The Nneji Ecology, Genetics, Evolution and Conservation (NEGEC) Lab studies the diversity and distribution of amphibians, reptiles and fish in West and Central Africa using combined field surveys, morphological, ecological and genetic data to improve understanding of their ecology, adaptation patterns and conservation status. The NEGEC lab seeks to understand the evolutionary processes that govern the diversification of West and Central African wildlife and the impact of human activities and climate change on their diversity and distribution. Also, we are interested in understanding the feeding ecology of West and Central African mammals. We welcome students, postdocs, and collaborators interested in evolution, systematics, biogeography, phylogenetics, comparative genomics and trophic ecology of West and Central African fauna. We are dedicated to communicating science to a broad audience of students, teachers, and the public through conservation outreach programs in our study areas in West and Central Africa. Additionally, the NEGEC lab engages in citizen science, where we engage local community members in scientific data collection for research and conservation planning.

Education & Expertise


Postdoctoral Research Associate

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Princeton University, New Jersey, USA

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China


University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, China


Zoology (Ecology and Environmental Biology)
University of Ibadan, Nigeria


University of Abuja, Nigeria

National Diploma

Science Laboratory Technology
Federal Polytechnic Oko, Nigeria


Evolution, systematics, biogeography, phylogenetics, comparative genomics and trophic ecology of West and Central African fauna



BIOL240 (Evolution)




Biogeography, ecology, evolution, systematics, comparative genomics, natural history, climate change studies, and conservation genetics of African wildlife (amphibians, reptiles and fish), as well as feeding ecology of West/Central African mammals


2023: Meridian National Geographic Grant: ‘Developing Multidisciplinary Approach towards sustainable conservation of the threatened Nigerian-Cameroon highlands

2022: First Booster Rufford Small Grant: ‘Enhancing studies and sustainable conservation actions for amphibians and reptiles in highly biodiverse and threatened Nigerian montane regions

2022: Emerging Conservationist Grant by the Conservation Nation for the project ‘Saving the Critically Endangered and Endemic Toad in Nigeria.

2022:   Future Conservationist Award by the Conservation Leadership Programme for the project ‘Conservation status of a poorly known and endemic lizard (Ondo Forest gecko) from Nigeria

2021-24 : International Scientific Coordination Network - South (GDRI-Sud) to support ‘West African Marine Fish DNA Barcoding Network (WAMBA-net)’.



Related Articles

Selected Publications (* = Equal first authorship)

1. Bin Zuo, Lotanna M. Nneji, Yan-Bo Sun (2023). Comparative genomics reveals insights into anuran genome size evolution. BMC Genomics 24, 379 (2023).  


2. Lotanna M. Nneji, Josué A. R. Azevedo, Oyetola O. Oyebanji, Liang Ma, Paul R. Elsen, Segun O. Oladipo, Gabriel Salako, Robert Puschendorff, Robert M. Pringle (2023). Patterns of species richness and turnover in endemic amphibians of the African Guineo-Congolian rainforest. Diversity and Distributions.


3. Chunrong Mi, Liang Ma, Mengyuan Yang, Xinhai Li… Lotanna M. Nneji … Yuval Itescu, David Wilcove, Zoltán Nagy , Xuan Liu (2023). Global Protected Areas as refuges for amphibians and reptiles under climate change. Nature Communications. 14, 1389 (2023).


4. Hai-Bing, X., Chen, Y., Adeniyi C. Adeola, Kun, W., Cui-Ping, H., … Lotanna M. Nneji… Min-Sheng, P., Ya-Ping, Z. (2022). African Suid Genomes Provide Insights into the Local Adaptation to Diverse African Environments. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 39 (12), msac256,


5.Yan-Nan Liu, Rong-Mei Chen, Qi-Ting Pu, Lotanna M. Nneji, Yan-Bo Sun (2022).  Expression Plasticity of Transposable Elements is Highly Associated with Organismal Readaptation to Ancestral Environments. Genome Biology and Evolution.


6. Jaynes, K., Myers, E., Gvoždík, V.,  …Lotanna M Nneji… Leaché, A., Fujita, M.K., and Bell, R. (2021). Giant Tree Frog diversification in West and Central Africa: isolation by physical barriers, climate, and reproductive traits. Molecular Ecology,


7. *Fang Yan, Lotanna M. Nneji, Jie-qiong Jin, Zhi-yong Yuan, Jin-min Chen, Xue Mi, Hong-man Chen, Robert W. Murphy, Jing Che (2021). Multi-locus genetic analyses of Quasipaa from throughout its distribution. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution.


8. Lotanna M. Nneji, Adeniyi C. Adeola, Babatunde E. Adedeji, ….Caroline Olory (2021). Species richness, distribution pattern, and conservation status of amphibians in Cross River National Park, South-eastern Nigeria. Biologia.


9. Adeola. O. Ayoola, Bao-Lin Zhang, Richard P Meisel, Lotanna M Nneji, Yong Shao ... Dong-Dong Wu (2020). Population Genomics Reveals Incipient Speciation, Introgression, and Adaptation in the African Mona Monkey (Cercopithecus mona). Molecular Biology and Evolution,


10. Lotanna M. Nneji, Adeola C. Adeniyi, Moshood K. Mustapha… Nwani Christopher (2020). DNA barcoding Silver butter catfish (Schilbe intermedius) reveals patterns of mitochondrial genetic diversity across African river systems. Scientific Reports, 10:7097.


11. Lotanna M. Nneji, Gabriel Salako, Adeniyi C. Adeola, Segun O. Oladipo, Babatunde Emmanuel Adedeji and Adiaha A. A. Ugwumba (2019). Species Distribution Modelling predicts habitat suitability and reduction of suitable habitat under future climatic scenario for Sclerophrys perreti - a critically endangered Nigerian endemic toad. African Journal of Ecology, 00:1–11;


12. Lotanna M. Nneji, Adeola C. Adeniyi, Yan Fang … and Jing C. (2019). Cryptic lineage diversity of Nigerian red headed rock agama (Agama agama) associate with eco-geographic zones. Current Zoology,


13. Lotanna M. Nneji, Adeola C. Adeniyi, Okeyoyin, A. …. Ugwumba, A. A. A. (2019). Assessing the effectiveness of molecular data for species identification and diversity studies of Nigerian herpetofauna. Mitochondrial DNA: Resources, 10.1080/23802359.2018.1561219.


14. Lotanna M. Nneji, Adeola C. Adeniyi, Yan Fang …Ugwumba A. A. A and Jing C. (2018). Cryptic diversity of Nigerian Agama within West African Radiation. Russian Journal of Herpetology, 25 (2): 97-112.


15. *Olayinka, A. Iyiola, Lotanna M. Nneji, Moshood K. Mustapha…Wen-Zhi, Wang, Adeola C. Adeniyi (2018). DNA barcoding of economically important fish species of North – Central Nigeria uncovers cryptic lineages. Ecology and Evolution,