Thomas Bartolomaeus. Photo: private


Prof. Dr. Thomas Bartolomaeus

Thomas Bartolomaeus has been working taxonomically and evolutionarily on Bilateria, with a focus on Nemertea and Polychaeta, for many years. In a combined approach to uncovering the relationships within these groups, his team uses comparative morphological and sequence analytical methods. He is particularly interested in studying the histology and ultrastructure of a wide range of organ systems, such as chaetogenesis and larval kidney development in annelids, or the fate of the embryonic coelom and nephrid formation in arthropods. The findings are discussed in direct context to lineage communities.


Universität Bonn
Institut für Evolutionsbiologie und Ökologie
An der Immenburg 1
53121 Bonn
Phone: +49 228 73 63 69
E-Mail: tbartolomaeus(at)

Kirsten Hennes
Tel.: +49-228-73-5122
Fax.: +49-228-73-5129
E-Mail: secretary(at)

Heike Wägele. Photo: private

1st Vice President

Prof. Dr. Heike Wägele

Heike Wägele has been researching sea slugs, which used to be commonly known as opisthobranchia, for around 30 years. Her research interests in these animals are broad and include questions about the evolution of the biological properties that make these animals so fascinating. This includes defense strategies and the phenomenon of the storage of photosynthetically active units (symbiodinium or just chloroplasts), which has earned the snails the reputation of solar-powered sea slugs. Wägele is also realizing several large projects in Indonesia with the aim of promoting education, science teaching, and biodiversity research. Since 2005 she works at the Alexander Koenig Zoological Research Museum in Bonn.


Prof. Dr. Heike Wägele
LIB - Leibniz Institute for the Analysis of Biodiversity Change
Museum Koenig Bonn
Adenauerallee 160
53113 Bonn
Phone: ++49 (0)228 - 9122 241
e-mail: h.waegele(at)

Julia Schultz. Photo: private

2nd Vice President and Board Member Paleontology

Dr. Julia A. Schultz

Julia Schultz studied geosciences at the Free University of Berlin. For her doctorate, she moved to the Institute for Geosciences (formerly Steinmann Institute) at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelm University in Bonn. There, she researched the function of early mammalian teeth within the framework of the DFG research group 771 "Evolution and performance enhancement of mammalian teeth". After successfully completing her doctorate and a three-year postdoc phase in the same research group, she moved to the University of Chicago for an independent two-year project financed by the DAAD. Since 2018 she has been a research assistant in the working group of Prof. Martin at the Institute for Geosciences at the University of Bonn. There she investigates the system of the skull of the Synapsida, especially the ancestors of today's mammals. Regarding skull anatomy, she is interested in the crushing of food, the function of the inner and middle ear and the evolution of these two systems.


Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
Institut für Geowissenschaften
Nussallee 8
53115 Bonn
Phone: ++49 (0)228 - 73-3102
e-mail: jaschultz(at)

Andreas Schmidt-Rhaesa. Photo: private

Acting managing director

Prof. Dr. Andreas Schmidt-Rhaesa

Andreas Schmidt-Rhaesa is curator for invertebrates at the Museum of Nature Hamburg, a branch of the Leibniz Institute for the Analysis of Biodiversity Change (LIB). He is interested in morphology, phylogeny and taxonomy of taxa such as horsehair worms (Nematomorpha), priapulid worms (Priapulida) or Gastrotricha. He has described (and co-described) already more than 60 new species. Special interest is given the evolution of “body plans” and the organisms of the interstitial system. He is Editor of several journals and book series as well as DFG-panel member for morphology and systematics.


Kurator Wirbellose Tiere 1
Zoologisches Museum Hamburg
Leibniz Institut für die Analyse des Biodiversitätswandels
Martin-Luther-King-Platz 3
D - 20146 Hamburg

Alexander Kieneke. Photo: Viola Siegler
Portraitfoto von Alexander Kieneke. Fotografin: Viola Siegler


Dr. Alexander Kieneke

Alexander Kieneke studied biology with a focus on zoo-morphology and systematics at Bielefeld University and graduated in 2004 with a diploma in biology. After completing his doctorate in 2008 at the Carl-von-Ossietzky University of Oldenburg, he took up a postdoc position in the German Center for Marine Biodiversity Research (DZMB) at the Senckenberg am Meer Institute in Wilhelmshaven. He has been a research assistant at the DZMB since 2012 and studies the evolution of traits and the bio- and phylogeography of meiofauna organisms using various techniques. Of the small soil animals, he is particularly interested in the Gastrotricha. He is Associate Editor of the Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington.


Deutsches Zentrum für Marine Biodiversitätsforschung (DZMB)
Senckenberg am Meer
Südstrand 44
26382 Wilhelmshaven
Phone: +49 (0)4421 9475-175
e-mail: akieneke(at)

Ralph Schill. Photo: private


Prof. Dr. Ralph Schill

Ralph Schill has been researching at the University of Stuttgart since 2003 how invertebrates react to environmental stressors and how these affect the organism and entire ecosystems. His focus is on adaptation reactions such as drought (anhydrobiosis) and cold tolerance (cryobiosis). He is also interested in biodiversity, biomaterials and biomimetics. Ralph Schill was President of the Scientific Committee and member of the Board of Directors in the World Underwater Federation (Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques, CMAS) for eight years and in the German Underwater Federation (VDST) for 16 years. His company envirocom provides communication, consulting, education and research services from biodiversity to biotechnology and he is co-founder of the non-profit research and education organisation aquatil.


Universität Stuttgart
Institut für Biomaterialien und biomolekulare Systeme
Pfaffenwaldring 57
D-70569 Stuttgart
e-mail: ralph.schill(at) 

Peter Michalik. Photo: Christian S. Wirkner

Board Member Zoology

PD Dr. Peter Michalik

Peter Michalik has been the curator of the Zoological Museum at the Ernst Moritz Arndt University of Greifswald since 2007. His research activities focus on the evolution and systematics of arthropods with a focus on arachnids. In addition to his scientific activities, he is involved in the AG Curators of the GfBS and in other specialist societies such as the International Society of Arachnology. He is subject editor in the journals Journal of Arachnology and Zoologischer Anzeiger – A Journal of Comparative Zoology.


Zoologisches Institut und Museum
Loitzer Straße 26
D-17489 Greifswald
Phone: ++49(0)3834 420-4099
Fax: ++49(0)3834 420-4252
e-mail: michalik(at)

Alexandra Müllner-Riehl. Photo: private

Board Member Botany

Prof. Dr. Alexandra Müllner-Riehl

Alexandra Muellner-Riehl has been a professor at the Institute of Biology at Leipzig University since 2012. She heads the working group for Molecular Evolution and Plant Systematics and is director of the Herbarium Universitatis Lipsiensis (LZ). As plant scientist, she is elected full member of the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) and serves on its Science Strategy Board. The mission of her working group is to describe biodiversity in species-rich areas of the world and to elucidate the processes giving rise to this biodiversity. The focus is on widespread and species-rich plant genera and families and on areas of high global conservation priority, such as Southeast Asia, Central and South America and mountain regions in Southwest and Central China. A systematic focus is the study of the ecologically and economically important mahogany family (Meliaceae). Müllner-Riehl is editor of the Journal of Systematics and Evolution (JSE) and Plant Diversity (PD) as well as subject editor for Sapindales of the journal Phytokeys.


Leipzig University
Institute of Biology
Dept. of Molecular Evolution and Plant Systematics & Herbarium (LZ) Leipzig University Johannisallee 21-23
D-04103 Leipzig
E-mail: muellner-riehl [at]

Marc Gottschling. Photo: private

Board Member Algae and Protists

Prof. Dr. Marc Gottschling

Marc Gottschling has been working on the phylogenetic systematics of selected organisms for more than two decades. In doing so, he develops evolutionary scenarios based on field work, morphology/anatomy and DNA sequence comparison. He is interested in the evolutionary mechanisms that have shaped the today's known biodiversity in space and time. The taxonomic focus is on the forget-me-not lineage (Boraginales, flowering plants), the armoured flagellates (unicellular dinophytes) and the papilloma viruses (mainly of non-human hosts). The overarching goal of the work is the reliable application of scientific names through the combination of a binominal name, a corresponding morphology and a characterising DNA sequence. This is especially true for species with historical names from the microbial domain, for which no DNA information is usually available. The unambiguous identifiability of organisms can be subsequently assured by the epitypus tool under the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants (ICN).


Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
Systematik, Biodiversität und Evolution der Pflanzen
Menzinger Straße 67
D-80638 München

Tel +49 89 17861 271
E-Mail: gottschling[at]

Alexander Zizka. Photo: private

Board Member Conservation Biology

Dr. Alexander Zizka

Alexander Zizka is a botanist and biogeographer, researching on the macroevolution and geographic distribution of flowering plants. He develops algorithms and software to use "big data", often from specimens in natural history collections, in Biodiversity research and conservation. Furthermore, he is fascinated by tropical savannas and the role of growth form in plant evolution and diversification. Alex received his PhD from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden and is professor for biodiversity of plants at the Philipps-University Marburg since 2022.


Philipps-Universität Marburg
AG Biodiversität der Pflanzen
Karl-von-Frisch-Straße 8
35043 Marburg
Phone: +49 (0)6421 - 282 44 95
E-mail: alexander.zizka[at]

Daniela Matenaar. Photo: Jan Köhler

Board Member and 1st Speaker of the Curators (temporarily)

Dr. Daniela Matenaar

Daniela Matenaar is the curator of the invertebrate collection at Hessisches Landesmuseum Darmstadt. She has researched biodiversity in central European soils as well as the species diversity and behavior of South African short-horned grasshoppers (Orthoptera, Caelifera). Since then, she has continued to focus on the taxonomic studies of cryptic, wingless species of the African Orthoptera family Lentulidae (particularly the genus Betiscoides) using phylogenetic and photogrammetric analyses, and has recently expanded the geographical focus to South America.Since March 2024 Matenaar is Speaker in the GfBS's Curators Group.


Hessisches Landesmuseum Darmstadt
Friedensplatz 1
64283 Darmstadt
Phone: +49 (6151) 36 01 268
E-mail: daniela.matenaar [at]

Viktor Hartung. Photo: Christoph Steinweg

Board Member and 2nd Speaker of the Curators (temporarily)

Dr. Viktor Hartung

Viktor Hartung is curator of invertebrates at the LWL Museum of Natural History in Münster, North Rhine-Westphalia. His tasks include faunistic research on the fauna of the region, where he works on Hemiptera and coordinates volunteer and citizen science activities. Here he is i.a. engaged in common projects with the biodiversity portal Hartung conducts research on systematics, morphology, ecology and evolution of Hemiptera, especially the true bug taxa Colobathristidae and Dipsocoromorpha.


LWL-Museum für Naturkunde
Sentruper Str. 285
48161 Münster
Phone: +49-251-591-6014
E-mail: Viktor.Hartung [at] 

Martin Husemann. Photo: private

Board Member and 3rd Speaker of the Curators

Martin Husemann, PhD

Martin Husemann studied in Osnabrück and Waco, Texas, and is interested in evolutionary biology, systematics and biogeography of various zoological groups. The taxonomic focus is on grasshoppers, especially bandwings. Since 2016 he has headed the entomological department of the Center for Natural History in Hamburg. In 2016 he received the Bernhard Rensch Prize of our society for his work on the evolution and diversity of cichlids. Since September 2023 Huseman is the scientific director of the Natural History Museum in Karlsruhe, Germany. 


Scientific Director
Natural History Museum in Karlsruhe (SMNK)
Erbprinzenstraße 13
D-76133 Karlsruhe
Phone: +49 (0)721 175 2160
Fax: +49 (0)721 175 21 10
E-­mail: martin.husemann(at)

Fabian Deister. Photo: Liv Stephan

Board Member and Spreaker Young Systematics (JuSys)

Fabian Deister

Fabian Deister studied biology (B.Sc, M.Sc) at the Carl von Ossietzky University in Oldenburg. In his master’s program, he devoted himself to the identification of various arthropod species using DNA barcoding and next generation sequencing. His master's thesis dealt with the molecular species delimitation and demarcation of marine decapods from Iceland (Molecular species delimitation of Icelandic decapods). He moved to Munich for his doctorate. Fabian uses molecular methods to analyze the taxonomy of sponges. His main interest is the question of what genomically defines a species within sponges. To this end, he is looking for new markers for the molecular taxonomy of sponges and uses, among other things, the established model organism Tethya wilhelma (Porifera, Demospongiae). His work is part of the DFG priority program SPP 1991 (Taxon-OMICS: New Approaches to the Discovery and Naming of Species and Biodiversity). From February 2019 to February 2020, he was one of the two co-speakers, since 2020 he has been the speaker of the Young Systematists (JuSys).


Department für Geo- und Umweltwissenschaften Paläontologie & Geobiologie
Richard-Wagner-Str. 10
D-80333 München
Phone: +49 (0) 89 2180 6566
Fax: +49 (0) 89 2180 6601
e-mail: deister(at)

Cathrin Pfaff. Photo: private

Board Member Bernhard Rensch Prize

Dr. Cathrin Pfaff

Cathrin Pfaff (née Schwarz) studied at the University of Tübingen with a focus on zoology. She moved to the Steinmann Institute at the University of Bonn for her doctorate. Cathrin Pfaff focuses on the functional morphology of various systems of vertebrates, focusing on the postcranium of fish, especially deep-sea fish, but also on adaptations of the middle and inner ear region of mammals. She has been a university assistant at the University of Vienna since 2012.


University of Vienna
Department of Palaeontology
Geozentrum, UZA II
Althanstrasse 14
A-1090 Vienna
Phone: ++43-1-4277 / 535 21
Fax: ++43-1-4277 / 9535
e-mail: cathrin.pfaff(at)  

Andreas Wanninger. Photo: private
Andreas Wanninger. Foto: privat

Board Member and Editor ODE

Prof. Dr. Andreas Wanninger

Andreas Wanninger compares the development of neuromuscular structures and researches gene expression in marine invertebrates, especially molluscs. The aim is to decipher the evolution of organ systems and the functions of important developmental genes, as well as to contribute data to questions relating to the phylogeny of the Lophotrochozoa. Andreas Wanninger was Associate Professor at the University of Copenhagen from 2004 to 2011 and since March 2011 has headed the Department of Integrative Zoology at the University of Vienna as a professor of animal morphology. Since September 2011 he has been editor of the society’s journal Organisms Diversity & Evolution (ODE).


University of Vienna
Dept. of Integrative Zoology
Althanstr. 14
A-1090 Vienna
Phone: +43-1-4277-76300
Mobile: +43-664-60277-76300
Fax: +43-1-4277-9763
e-mail: andreas.wanninger(at) 

Dominique Zimmermann. Photo: private
Portrait Dominique Zimmermann

Board Member Austria

Dr. Dominique Zimmermann

Dominique Zimmermann researches the evolution and phylogeny of the insect orders Neuroptera and Hymenoptera on a morphological-anatomical basis. In addition to her scientific work, networking the biological-systematic community is important to her. Dominique Zimmermann heads the Hymenoptera collection of the Natural History Museum in Vienna and is secretary of NOBIS Austria (Network of Biological Systematics Austria), the Austrian counterpart to the GfBS. Since 2014 she has been editor-in-chief of the international Deutsche Entomologische Zeitschrift (= German Entomological Journal).


Zweite Zoologische Abteilung
Naturhistorisches Museum Wien
Burgring 7
A-1010 Wien
Phone: +43-1-521-77 / 316
e-mail: dominique.zimmermann(at)

Board Member Switzerland