Prof. Dr. Heiko Schmaljohann

Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg
Institut für Biologie und Umweltwissenschaften – A1
AG Migrationsökologie
Postfach 5634
D - 26046 Oldenburg



The focus of my research is the migration of migratory birds. The aim of the work is to elucidate how the animals reach their destinations despite diverse challenges. Together with colleagues from various partner institutions, I study, for example, the animals' orientation and navigation skills, their innate migration programme and the genetic control of migration. I am particularly interested in how the animals' migrations are organised spatially and temporally, how bird migration affects the increase and decrease of populations and how the birds adapt to environmental changes. Among other things, I lead my own subproject and two subprojects with other scientists in the Collaborative Research Centre "Magnetic Reception and Navigation of Vertebrates". (Start: 2019, spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Henrik Mouritsen, University of Oldenburg)

Current research projects

  • Understanding the ecological and evolutionary function of stopover in migrating birds
  • Assessing magnetoreception and orientation/navigation-hypotheses in free flying birds
  • The pre-migratory flight behaviour in a songbird migrant - spatiotemporal characteristics and potential delayed fitness consequences
  • Control of the onset of nocturnal migration
  • Migration behaviour of long- and medium-distance songbird migrants
(Changed: 14 Sep 2022)