Dr Franz Bairlein studied biology, chemistry and physics at the University of Konstanz where he earned his PhD in 1980. After at two years at the Max-Planck-Institute for Behavioural Physiology, he worked for nine years at the Zoological Institute of the University of Cologne during which time he held a Heisenberg Fellowship of the German Research Council and spent a sabbatical at the University of Southern Mississippi, USA, where he studied bird migration at the Gulf of Mexico. Since 1990, Franz has served as Director of the Institute of Avian Research “Vogelwarte Helgoland” at Wilhelmshaven, Germany, one of the world leading research centres in ornithology. He also holds a professorship of zoology and ecology at the University of Oldenburg. Franz has carried out research expeditions in northern and tropical Africa and the Arctic.
Franz’s research is primarily focused on bird migration with subjects ranging from the understanding of the physiological mechanisms of migratory fuelling to the ecology of stopover and wintering along the migratory routes and in tropical Africa. He was chair of a European Science Foundation European research network to study birds, and is currently President of the German Ornithologists’ Society, President of the European Union for Bird Ringing, President of the International Ornithologists’ Union, and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Ornithology.