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Dr. Merlin Schäfer


Campus Golm
University of Potsdam
Plant Ecology and Nature Conservation
Am Mühlenberg 3, building 60, room 3.11
14476 Potsdam


2003 - 2008 BSc in Bionics/Biomimetics, University of Applied Sciences, Bremen

2004 Overseas study, University of Auckland, New Zealand

2008 - 2014 MSc in Scientific Computing, Technical University of Berlin

2013 Overseas practical study, The Blue Yonder, Bangalore, India

2017 – 2018 Junior Teaching Professionals (JTP) certificate program of the Potsdam Graduate School, Potsdam

2015 - 2019: Joint doctoral position on „Understanding and predicting global change impacts on migratory birds“ at the Centre for Agricultural Landscape research (ZALF) and the University of Potsdam, associated to the DFG-funded Research Training Group (RTG) BioMove for 'Integrating Biodiversity Research with Movement Ecology in dynamic agricultural landscapes' (


  • 2015 – 2018 Research associate, Leibniz Center for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF)
  • 2014 – 2015 Research associate in the DFG/DIP-funded German-Israelian research project 'Understanding lifetime tracks and fitness of long-distance avian migrants', University of Potsdam. Modelling of optimal annual routines (OAR) to infer migration patterns in white storks.
  • 2012 – 2013 Student research assistant in the Collaborative Research Center (CRC) 1026 "Sustainable Manufacturing – Shaping Global Value Creation" at Fraunhofer Institute for Production Systems and Design Technology (IPK), Berlin. Integrated enterprise modelling (IEM), life cycle assessments (LCA), collection and analysis of industry data, literature research.
  • 2009 – 2010 Student research assistant and intern at the Biofluif Mechanics Lab at Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin. Computer aided modelling of brain aneurysms from real data and simulation of blood flow in the aneurysms, modelling of lung capillary network.

Current employment

Since 2019: Coordinator of the DFG-funded Research Training Group (RTG) BioMove for 'Integrating Biodiversity Research with Movement Ecology in dynamic agricultural landscapes' 

Research interests

  • Global change impacts on animal movement and ecology
  • Behavioural and evolutionary ecology
  • Bird migration
  • Biodiversity research
  • Sustainability research


Schaefer M, Menz S, Jeltsch F, Zurell D (2018): sOAR: a tool for modelling optimal animal life‐history strategies in cyclic environments. Ecography 41(3):551-557.

Zurell D, Wehrden H, Rotics S, Kaatz M, Gross H, Schlag L, Schaefer M, Sapir N, Turjeman S, Wikelski M, Nathan R, Jeltsch F (2018). Home range size and resource use of breeding and non-breeding white storks along a land use gradient. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 6:79.

Jochem R, Weinaug H, Schaefer M (2012) Requirements, potentials and constraints of a semantic approach to model and access the sustainability within business processes. In book: Towards Implementing Sustainable Manufacturing. Conference proceeding 10th Global conference on sustainable manufacturing GCSM, Publisher: Bakhus Tourism Industry & Trading Inc.; Issel, pp.435-440.