Executive Committee of the DGaaE

About Prof. Dr Thomas Schmitt

Prof Dr Thomas Schmitt, born in Rodalben (Palatinate) in 1968, has been interested in insects since childhood. He began collecting insects at the age of eleven and took his first scientific steps by taking part in the "Jugend forscht" competition several times. From 1989 to 1996, he studied Biology and Romance Studies in Saarbrücken and Lisbon. He then completed his doctorate with Prof. Dr Alfred Seitz (Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz) on a phylogeographic topic until 1999; this involved studying the molecular biogeography of four butterfly species across large areas of Europe. After a subsequent postdoctoral period in Prof Seitz's working group, he moved to the biogeography department of the University of Trier headed by Prof Dr Paul Müller as a research assistant in 2001. In 2003, he was appointed to the junior professorship "Molecular Biogeography" and in 2009 to the university professorship of the same name in Trier. In 2014, he accepted the joint appointment of Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg and the Senckenberg Society for Nature Research to the W3 professorship for Entomology and has since headed the Senckenberg German Entomological Institute in Müncheberg (Brandenburg) as its director. In 2021, his professorship was transferred to the University of Potsdam with the new denomination "Entomology and Biogeography" as part of a call for excellence.

Thomas Schmitt's main scientific interests lie in classical and molecular biogeography and ecology, evolutionary biology, conservation biology and conservation genetics as well as the systematics of butterflies. His main areas of work are in the high mountains of Europe, the Mediterranean region and the neighbouring Sahara, but also in East Africa. He specialises in butterflies and damselflies, but has also published works on moths, dragonflies, beetles, caddisflies, dipterans, hymenopterans, scorpions, amphibians and montane plant species.

In total, Thomas Schmitt has published more than 250 scientific papers, of which over 175 have appeared in ISI-listed journals. He is a reviewer for over 50 scientific journals, various foundations and societies for the promotion of science in Germany and abroad and co-editor of several scientific journals.