. south africa, witsand nature reserve, collecting in red sand dunes
. usa, new jersey, stones and mussel shells on beach
. namibia, sand dunes near swakopmund and collecting gear
I received my first degree as a biologist from the University of Rostock, Germany, in January 2002. There, I studied 5½ years for a Diploma in Biology; major subject being Zoology, 1st minor subject Entomology, 2nd minor Botany, plus a non-biological minor subject Physical Oceanography. My Diploma thesis dealt with the revision and phylogenetic analysis of the robber-fly genus Euscelidia Westwood, 1850 (Diptera: Asilidae: Leptogastrinae).
In 1999–2000 I took a course of study in entomology at the University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa and in 2000 I participated in the ‘Research Training Program’ at the Smithsonian's Institution National Museum of Natural History, Washington, DC, USA.
I finished my Ph.D. dissertation entitled “Phylogeny, classification, & biodiversity of robber flies (Diptera: Brachycera: Asiloidea: Asilidae) with special reference to Leptogastrinae” at Cornell University (Ithaca, NY, USA) and the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York City in August 2007. After a short postdoc at the AMNH working with Ward Wheeler and David Grimaldi, I was a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Biodiversity Synthesis Center at the Field Museum of Natural History (FMNH) in Chicago, IL. I am now working as a Research Entomologist in the Department of Entomology at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC.
As a biologist I am fascinated by the diversity of organisms that live on planet earth. My special interest lies in the most diverse group of animals—the insects. My research focus is the Diptera—true flies—and here especially taxa of ‘orthorrhaphous’ Brachycera: Asilidae—robber flies, Mydidae—mydas flies, and Apioceridae—flower loving flies. My focus lies on the Asilidae—with more than 7,500 species the 3rd largest taxon among Diptera—their diversity, biology, biogeography, phylogeny, and systematics. I am very much interested in the phylogenetic relationships among the taxa of Asiloidea too—Apioceridae, Apsilocephalidae, Asilidae, Bombyliidae, Evocoidae, Mydidae, Mythicomyiidae, Scenopinidae, and Therevidae. For more details see the sites under .. projects and . diptera.
Phylogenetic Systematics (Cladistics) is another field of research I am interested in.
. theoretical principles.
. application of both the ‘Hennigian’ technique & computer algorithms.
Theoretical problems in systematics & species concepts as well as biodiversity research are additional fields of interest to me.