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Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Wiltschko

     Prof. Wolfgang Wiltschko is one of the pioneers of bird navigation research. He became known across the whole of biology for providing the first unequivocal evidence for the use of the magnetic field of the earth by navigating birds.

His research deals with the physiological and neurobiological mechanisms of navigation in different animal model systems. Especially using birds, he studied the role of the earth’s magnetic field for navigation and the influence of local knowledge, infrasound and olfaction on navigation. His theory that birds have a magnetic compass, was initially met with lots of scepticism by his peers, but a ground-breaking publication in the journal Science silenced his critics.

Prof. Wolfgang Wiltschko studied in Frankfurt and also did both his doctorate and habilitation at der Goethe-Universität Frankfurt. After a postdoc at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, he became Professor of Zoology at the University of Frankfurt in 1975, where he is still pursuing research even after his retirement in 2003. He published over 160 scientific articles, of which eight appeared in Nature or Science.

He has already received numerous awards and prizes, such as the Erwin-Stresemann-Prize of the German Ornithologists Union (1977) and the Elliott-Cues-Award of the American Ornithologists Union (1994). He was elected honorary member of the British Royal Institute of Navigation in 2009.

 

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