Senckenberg German Entomological Institute Mόncheberg

Prof. Dr. Thomas Schmitt


Personal information

Supervised Theses

Thomas Schmitt (*1968)

Senckenberg Deutsches Entomologisches Institut
Eberswalder Straße 90
15374 Müncheberg, Germany
Phone: +49-33432-73698-3701

Present Position

Director of Senckenberg German Entomological Institute and University Professor (W3) for Entomology at Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg


Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg, Germany
University Professor (W3) for Entomology, 2014 onwards
Universität Trier, Germany, 2001-2014
University Professor (W2) for Molecular Biogeography, 2009-2014
Junior Professor (W1) for Molecular Biogeography, 2003-2009
Postdoc, 2001-2003
Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, Germany, 1996-2001
Postdoc, 2000-2001
PhD, 1996-1999; defense 1999
Universität des Saarlandes, Germany, 1989-1996; Universitdade de Lisboa, Portugal, 1993
Diploma in Biological Science, 1996

Scientific interests

• Molecular and classic biogeography
• Classic and molecular ecology
• Evolutionary biology
• Conservation biology and conservation genetics including landscape genetics
• Systematics of Lepidoptera

Expertise skills

• DNA analytics (microsatellites, mtDNA sequencing, AFLP, etc.); allozyme electrophoresis
• Morphometry and morphometrics
• Transect counts, light trapping, etc.
• GPS based mark-release recapture
• Landscape parametrisation (e.g. Ellenberg's indicator values)
• GIS applications

Organisms of interest

• Butterflies (main group)
• Odonates, beetles, caddisflies, tipulids, scorpions
• Amphibians, reptiles
• Montane plants


• 176 publications, of which 102 in ISI journals, 126 peer reviewed
• 313,7 impact factor points (2012)
• h-Index: 26
• 1.986 ISI citations
• Mean ISI citation rate per ISI article: 19.94

Important publications

Schmitt, T., Habel, J.C., Rödder, D. & Louy, D. (2014) Effects of recent and past climatic shifts on the genetic structure of the high mountain Yellow-spotted ringlet butterfly Erebia manto (Lepidoptera, Satyrinae): a conservation problem. — Global Change Biology: in press. doi: 10.1111/gcb.12462
Husemann, M., Schmitt, T., Zachos, F.E., Ulrich, W. & Habel, J.C. (2014): Palaearctic biogeography revisited: Evidence for the existence of a North African refugium for western Palaearctic biota. — Journal of Biogeography 41: 81-94.
Hochkirch, A., Schmitt, T., Beninde, J., Hiery, M., Kinitz, T., Kirschey, J., Matenaar, D., Rohde, K., Stoefen, A., Wagner, N., Zink, A., Lötters, S., Veith, M., Proelss, A. (2013): Europe needs a new vision for a Natura 2020 network. — Conservation Letters 6: 462-467.
Heiser, M. & Schmitt, T. (2013): Tracking the boundary between the Palaearctic and the Oriental region: New insights from dragonflies and damselflies (Odonata) — Journal of Biogeography 40: 2047-2058.
Filz, K.J., Engler, J.O., Stoffels, J., Weitzel, M., Schmitt, T. (2013): Missing the target? A critical view on butterfly conservation efforts on calcareous grasslands in south-western Germany. — Biodiversity and Conservation 22: 2223-2241.
Schmitt, T. & Varga, Z. (2012): Extra-Mediterranean refugia: The rule and not the exception? — Frontiers in Zoology 9: 22.
Habel, J.C. & Schmitt, T. (2012): The burden of genetic diversity. — Biological Conservation 147: 270-274.
Rákosy, L. & Schmitt, T. (2011): Are butterflies and moths suitable ecological indicator systems for restoration measures of semi-natural calcareous grassland habitats? — Ecological Indicators 11: 1040-1045.
Habel, J.C., Rödder, D., Schmitt, T. & Nève, G. (2011): Global warming will affect genetic diversity and uniqueness of Lycaena helle populations. — Global Change Biology 17: 194-205.
Junker, M., Wagner, S., Gros, P. & Schmitt, T. (2010): Changing demography and dispersal behaviour: ecological adaptation in an alpine butterfly. — Oecologia 164: 971-980.
Schmitt, T. (2009): Biogeographical and evolutionary importance of the European high mountain systems. — Frontiers in Zoology 6: 9.
Karl, I., Schmitt, T. & Fischer, K. (2008): Phosphoglucose isomerase genotype affects life-history traits and cold stress resistance in a Copper butterfly. — Functional Ecology 22: 887-894.
Schmitt, T. & Haubrich, K. (2008): The genetic structure of the mountain forest butterfly Erebia euryale unravels the late Pleistocene and postglacial history of the mountain coniferous forest biome in Europe. — Molecular Ecology 17: 2194–2207.
Varga, Z.S. & Schmitt, T. (2008): Types of oreal and oreotundral disjunction in the western Palearctic. — Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 93: 415-430.
Schmitt, T. (2007): Molecular Biogeography of Europe: Pleistocene cycles and postglacial trends. — Frontiers in Zoology 4: 11.
Haubrich, K. & Schmitt, T. (2007): Cryptic differentiation in alpine-endemic, high-altitude butterflies reveals down-slope glacial refugia. — Molecular Ecology 16: 3643-3658.
Schmitt, T., Hewitt, G.M. & Müller, P. (2006): Disjunct distributions during glacial and interglacial periods in mountain butterflies: Erebia epiphron as an example. — Journal of Evolutionary Biology 19: 108-113.
Wenzel, M., Schmitt, T., Weitzel, M. & Seitz, A. (2006): The severe decline of butterflies on western German calcareous grasslands during the last 30 years: A conservation problem. — Biological Conservation 128: 542-552.
Habel, J.C., Schmitt, T. & Müller, P. (2005): The fourth paradigm pattern of post-glacial range expansion of European terrestrial species: the phylogeography of the Marbled White butterfly (Satyrinae, Lepidoptera). — Journal of Biogeography 32: 1489-1497.
Schmitt, T. & Hewitt, G.M. (2004): The genetic pattern of population threat and loss: a case study of butterflies. — Molecular Ecology 13: 21-31.
Schmitt, T. & Seitz, A. (2001): Intraspecific allozymatic differentiation reveals the glacial refugia and the postglacial expansions of European Erebia medusa (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae). — Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 74: 429-458.


  • DFG
  • European Science Foundation
  • Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes
  • Fonds zur Förderung der Wissenschaftlichen Forschung
  • Forschungsring des Deutschen Weinbaus
  • Synthesys
  • Czech Science Foundation
  • Bundesministerium für Wissenschaft und Forschung, Österreich
  • Hungarian Scientific Research Fund
  • Alexander von  Humboldt-Stiftung
  • 10 universities (Diploma thesis, PhD, habilitations, tenure professor positions)
  • 46 scientific journals
  • Book reviews for Cambridge University Press, Springer

Editorial Board

  • Insect Conservation and Diversity 
  • Nota lepidopterologica, 
  • Conservation Biology (ad hoc assigning)

Teaching Experience

Classes in:

  • biogeography
  • ecology
  • evolutionary biology
  • conservation biology
  • systematics

Types of classes:

  • lectures
  • seminars
  • field classes
  • lab classes
  • excursions


  • Bachelor:   10 (of which 10 since 2011)
  • Diploma/Master: 52 (of which 48 since 2006)
  • PhD:   16 (of which 16 since 2006)
  • Habilitations:  1 (of which 1 since 2011)


Total > 3 Mio. € (of which > 1 Mio € for my working group)