Martin Wikelski is Director of the Department of Migration of the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior and Honorary Professor at the University of Konstanz. He returned to Germany in 2008 as Director at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Radolfzell (which became the MPI-AB in 2019) and a Full Professor at the University of Konstanz (until 2016). He has previously been a Professor at Princeton University (2000-2008) and the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (1998-2000), and a research fellow at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama (1996-1998).
Wikelski investigates global animal migrations with the goal of creating an intelligent sensor network of animals—the “Internet of Animals”—and protecting animals worldwide. He has pioneered a system for continuously tracking thousands of animals from space, ICARUS, and in doing so has opened up a frontier in harnessing animal observation as a tool for conservation. Wikelski is a Niko-Tinbergen Laureate of the German Ethological Society (1998) and Bartholomew Laureate of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology (2000). In 2008 the National Geographic Society honored him as “Emerging Explorer”, and in 2010 he was designated “Adventurer of the Year” for his leading contribution to the research of global animal migration. He became elected member of the Leopoldina - German national science academy in 2014, was awarded with the Max Planck Research Award in 2016, and State of Baden-Württemberg’s highest honor, the Order of Merit in 2021.