Curriculum Vitae

Current position

Director emeritus, Institute of Avian Research, Wilhelmshaven
Max Planck Fellow, Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior, Konstanz/Radolfzell


1959-1963primary school
1963-1973secondary school (gymnasium)
1973-1977University of Konstanz: study of biology, chemistry, physics
1977-1980University of Konstanz: postgraduate study in biology
1980Dr. rer. nat. (PhD) in Biology
1986Habilitation and "venia legendi" in Zoology at University of Cologne
1991Habilitation in Zoology and Ecology at University of Oldenburg

Professional experience and positions

1980-1982postdoctoral fellow, Max-Planck-Institute for Behavioural Physiology, Radolfzell
1982-1987research and teaching assistant, Dept. Zoology, Physiological Ecology Section, University of Cologne
1987-1990Heisenberg Fellow of the German Research Council (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) and Assistant Professor of Zoology at the University of Cologne
1988sabbatical at the University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, USA
1990-2019Director of Institute of Avian Research (Institut fuer Vogelforschung), Wilhelmshaven
since 1992Professor of Zoology, University of Oldenburg
2015Visiting Professor, Gurukula Kangri University, Haridwar, India
2015Visiting Professor, Rajiv Gandhi University, Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh, India
since 2017Adjunct Professor, Centre of Excellence in Biodiversity, Rajiv Gandhi University, Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh, India
since 2020Max Planck Fellow at Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior


1985“Heinz-Meier-Leibnitz-Price” for Ecophysiology of the German Research Council
1987Heisenberg Fellow, German Research Council (DFG)
1991“Ornithologen-Price”, Deutsche Ornithologen-Gesellschaft (German Ornithologists’ Society)
2001Witherby Memorial Lecture, British Trust for Ornithology
2002Honorary President (Patron) of Merseyside Ringing Group, Cheshire, UK
2004Corresponding Fellow of the American Ornithologists’ Union
2009Media Award for Meteorology 2009, Category Best Print: “Climate Change and Weather – Consequences for Wilhelmshaven as well”.
2010Award for Outstanding Contributions to Science and the Society of Oldenburgische Landschaft
2012Konrad Lorenz Medal for Outstanding Contributions to Science
2015Werner-Sunkel-Award, Deutsche Ornithologen-Gesellschaft (German Ornithologists’ Society)
2015Honorary President, Deutsche Ornithologen-Gesellschaft (German Ornithologists’ Society)
2015Marsh Award for International Ornithology, British Trust for Ornithology
2019Honorary Member of the Board of the European Union for Bird Ringing (EURING)

Boards & Committees

past (finished)

1984-1988Member of the Working Group “Conservation of Wild Birds“ at the European Commission
1984-1988Member of the Working Group “Migratory Birds Programme“ of the International Council for Bird Preservation, Cambridge, England.
1988-1997Member of the Research Council of the Deutsche Ornithologen-Gesellschaft (chair 1994-97)
1991-1997Member of the Scientific Board of the Deutsche Ornithologen-Gesellschaft
1991-2019Board of Directors “Der Mellumrat – Naturschutz- und Forschungsgemeinschaft“
1992-2001Member of the Board of the “European Union for Bird Ringing (EURING)”
1992-2007Chair of jury “Vauk-Förderpreis Forschung für Naturschutz”
1994-1997Chairman European Science Foundation Network “Songbird Migration“
1994-2011Chair of jury “Wilhelmshaven-Preis für Meeresforschung”
1995-2019Member of the Advisory Board of the “Oldenburger Landesverein”
1996-2000Member of the Advisory Board (Fachausschuss) of Zoology of the German Research Council (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG)
1998-2001Member of the Advisory Board for the “National Park Lower Saxony Wadden Sea“
1999-2004Member of the Advisory Board of the German Zoological Society
1999-2004Member of the Evaluation Expert Group for Key Action 5 of the Quality of Life RTD Programme of the European Commission
2000-2005Chairman European Science Foundation Scientific Programme “Optimality in Bird Migration”
2000-2004Vice-Chair of the Advisory Board of Biology and Chair of the Advisory Board of Zoology of the DFG
2000-2004Member of the Expert Group for Birds for the revision of the Council of Europe Convention ETS123 Appendix A for birds
2001-2005Member of the Council of the European Ornithologists Union (EOU)
2002-2012President Deutsche Ornithologen-Gesellschaft (German Ornithologists’ Society)
2002-2006Secretary-General of the 24th International Ornithological Congress, Hamburg 2006
2002-2019Member of jury “Oldenburger Preis für Regionalforschung“
2002-2022Member of the Board of “Nordwestdeutsche Universitätsgesellschaft”, Wilhelmshaven
2005-2007Member of the Scientific Advisory Board of “Deutscher Jagdschutzverband”
2006-2008Advisor for Nature Conservation of the Lower Saxony Minister of Economics and Trade
2007-2019President of the “European Union for Bird Ringing (EURING)”
2007-2019Member of the Scientific Advisory Board of „Oldenburgische Landschaft“
2010-2014President of the “International Ornithologists’ Union (IOU)”
2012-2014Member UNEP CMS Working Group on Migratory Landbirds in the African/Eurasian Region
2013Member jury Max-Planck Research Award 2013
2014-2018Immediate Past-President of the “International Ornithologists’ Union (IOU)”
2014-2019Member “Red Kite Conservation Panel”, Landcare Germany


1998--Member of the International Ornithological Committee
2002--Member of jury “Forschungspreis der Deutschen Wildtierstiftung”
2002--Member of the Advisory Board of “Gerd-Möller-Stiftung”, Wilhelmshaven
2003--Member of the Board of the Foundation „Vogelmonitoring Deutschland“
2011--Member of the Scientific Advisory Board of “Natureum Niederelbe” (chair 2016-2020)
2012--Member of the Scientific Advisory Board of “Society of Species Conservation and Aviculture”
2012--Member Advisory Board of the UNESCO World Heritage Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative
2014--Member of the Scientific Council of the Bavarian Society for the Protection of Birds (LBV)
2014--Member of the UNEP_CMS Steering Group on the “African-Eurasian Migratory Landbirds Action Plan”
2015--Member of the Advisory Board “Bird Monitoring in African Biosphere Reserves”, German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation
2015--Member of the Advisory Board “DFG-FID Biodiversitätsforschung”
2017--Member of BfN/NABU “AfriBiRds Project Advisory Committee”
2018--Member of Scientific Advisory Board “EU-LIFE MagniDucatusAcrola”-Project
2019--Scientific Advisory Board “UNESCO World Heritage Visitor Centre Wattenmeerhaus”
2019--Scientific Advisory Board “Animal Guards”, Eisenbahn-Bundesamt (EBA)
2019--Board of Directors, Deutscher Rat für Vogelschutz
2019--Honorary member of the Board of EURING

Editorial duties

1980-1984Editor-in-Chief Ber. Dtsch. Sektion Internat. Rat Vogelschutz
since 1998Editor-in-Chief Journal of Ornithology
2012-2019Co-Editor Movement Ecology
2017-2018Co-Editor Encyclopedia of Animal Behavior

Editorial Boards

Vogelwarte (1990-2004), Oecologia (1991-1997), Ringing & Migration (1991--), Zoology (1992-1999), Vogelwelt (1992-2000), Avian Ecology and Behaviour (1999--), Zoology & Ecology (2005--), Der Falke (2015-2022).

Research expeditions

1981-1989Algerian Sahara: Trans-Sahara bird migration
1994-2010Morocco: Stopover ecology of passerine migrants
1994-2002Ivory Coast: Wintering ecology of Palaearctic migrants
1999-2000Nigeria: Stopover ecology of passerine migrants
2003Endemic birds of French Polynesia
2008-2018Alaskan and Canadian Arctic, Svalbard: Migration of Northern Wheatear
2013-2018Ghana/Burkina Faso/Nigeria: Ecology of Palearctic-African Migrants at wintering
2016Russian Far East (Sakhalin, Kuril Isl., Kamchatka, Chukotka) and Aleutian Isl. (Alaska)

Research interest

Ecology and physiology of migration with special emphasis on migration strategies; avian nutritional ecology with special emphasis on the internal and external control mechanisms of migratory fattening; conservation of migratory birds.

Teaching (lectures and courses)

Environmental Physiology, Ornithology, Population Biology, Conservation Science, Statistics in Ecology, Tropical Ecology, Comparative Animal Migrations. Chair (until 2020): Master-Program “Ornithology” at University of Oldenburg.