Curriculum Vitae

since 2020

Director Institute of Avian Research “Vogelwarte Helgoland"

since 2020

W3 Professor in Ornithology, Oldenburg University


Habilitation at Christian-Albrechts-University, Kiel
Bird migration – an evolutionary genomics approach. Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences

2014 - 2021

MPI Evolutionary Biology, Plön, DE Leader of the Max Planck Research Group Behavioural Genomics
Identification and characterisation of genetic variation and detection of differences in gene expression patterns between migratory bird populations with different migratory behaviour.


Freiburg University, DE Feodor Lynen Reintegration Fellowship
Genome-wide association of polymorphisms to identify candidate markers for migratory traits.

2009 - 2012

Lund University, SE Feodor Lynen Fellowship
Alexander v Humboldt Foundation Identification and characterisation of candidate markers for migratory traits in the Willow Warbler.

2007 - 2009

Oxford University, UK Marie-Curie Intra-European Fellowship (FP6)
Identification of within-population consequences of genetic variation at molecular clock genes in wild bird populations combining genotype-phenotype characterisation with quantitative genetics.

2002 - 2006

PhD studies in the group Animal Navigation, Oldenburg University, DE in collaboration with Duke University, NC, USA
Magnetic orientation in migratory birds: perception and neuronal integration.

Grants and Honors

As a PI I received funding by the Max Planck Society, DFG, Swedish Research Council, Wenner-Gren Foundation, FORMAS, Nilsson-Ehle-Foundation, German Scholars Organisation e.V., Royal Physiographic Society (total grant income > 4 Mio €).

I was awarded prestigious postdoctoral fellowships from the European Commission and the Alexander von the Humboldt Foundation, as a student I held competitive scholarships from DAAD and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation.

I received a prize for outstanding PhD supervision from the Universitätsgesellschaft Oldenburg (UGO, 2023), was awarded the JED Williams Medal for outstanding contribution to the affairs of the Royal Institute of Navigation (RIN, 2021), received the Norddeutscher Wissenschaftspreis (together with Sandra Bouwhuis and Britta Meyer, 2018), and am Member of Academia.Net (Robert Bosch Stiftung), nominated by the Max Planck Society (2017).

Scientific Community Services

I am Director and elected chair of the Animal Navigation Group, a special interest group within the Royal Institute of Navigation (RIN), UK. Throughout my career I have independently organised and conveyed international conferences, workshops and symposia on topics spanning Migration Genetics, Molecular Ecology, Transgenerational Inheritance and Animal Behaviour, as well as soft skill courses on science communication and outreach.

Outreach and Media Coverage

Besides regularly talking at both national and international scientific conferences, I find it important and enjoyable to communicate science to children and the general public, via popular scientific articles and through lectures, excursions or workshops tailored to various settings. I was recently invited to write and illustrate a book about Wadden Sea ecology and bird migration for elementary school children, am frequently asked to write popular science articles, regularly teach at local high schools, and host elementary and high school children at our institute during Boys’ and Girls’ Days.

My research frequently receives publicity and media coverage, (i) on television: ZDF “Abenteuer Wissen”, BR “Faszination Wissen”, ARTE has featured our work on Blackcaps in a 45-minute episode "Secret migration, the Eurasian blackcap", and as part of another format 42 - Die Antwort auf fast alles; (ii) on the radio: DLF, SWR2 Wissen, NDR, rbb etc.; (iii) podcasts: "Das Forschungsquartett", abi>>podcast Berufe jenseits des Schreibtischs; and (iii) in reports on published articles in New Scientist, Science and various international newspapers.