Grasender Kaffernbüffel (Syncerus caffer)
An African Buffalo (Syncerus caffer) grazing the Amboseli Swamp: a highly diverse, fragile ecosystem in the dry savannas of southern Kenya which is sustained by the rains falling on the neighbouring Mount Kilimanjaro.

Biodiversity and Climate

The loss of biodiversity and climate change count amongst the greatest challenges of the era. These factors exercise a mutual influence on each other. This means that, in order to be able to understand them properly, research activities must take both factors into account.

One of its kind: Biodiversity in focus

This is exactly what the research area “Biodiversity and Climate” is concerned with. Scientists from almost all Senckenberg institutes are contributing to this research area; the Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Centre is at its core. The focus of their fundamental biological, geoscientific and social scientific research is always placed on biodiversity. This combination is unique on both national and international levels. 

Three main research topics

Our research focusing on  “Geobiodiversity and Climate” is dedicated to studying the interactions between processes on the earth’s surface, climate, and ecosystems on different time geological and ecological time scales. Another focus of our research is “Genomic Evolution and Climate” in which we investigate how climate shapes the genomes of organisms, what role the environment plays in species interactions and genomic evolution. Last but not least we study “Ecosystem Services and Climate” in which we examine the mutual effects and interactions of society and biodiversity in the context of climate change.  

Wide range of methods and scales

Our researchers use a wide variety of different methods in order to investigate these research questions. These range from geological analysis, palaeontological excavations, remote sensing and field work as well as molecular-biological analysis and laboratory experiments up to large-scale climate and vegetation modelling and methods used in the social sciences. In this way, we can document and analyse events and processes, both those taking place now as well as in the past.

A new approach: service and consultancy for decision makers

On the basis of the research findings and models we are in a position to make forecasts about future developments. These in turn provide a scientific basis for decisions made by politicians and the society. In view of the huge significance of climate and biodiversity change for our society and economy, this kind of information is currently in great demand and of high relevance.


Susanne Fritz
Prof. Dr. Susanne Fritz
Head of Research Group 'Geobiodiversity Research'

Research interests

I am interested in large-scale evolutionary, paleontological, biogeographic, and (paleo-)ecological patterns, their relationships with the abiotic environment in time and space, and the processes underlying these patterns and relationships. I have worked on ecology, evolution and conservation of mammals, amphibians and birds. Particularly since the establishment of my own research group (Emmy Noether fellowship of the German Research Foundation DFG), my research focuses on macroevolution, macroecology, and biogeography of living and fossil birds and mammals. Since starting my professorship at Goethe University Frankfurt I increasingly develop interdisciplinary research in cooperation with experts in the reconstruction of paleoclimate and Earth surface dynamics, with the goal of understanding the effects of climate change and mountain building on biodiversity dynamics.

More about my research


Researcher ID and Publons 
Google Scholar Profile

Full publications list [PDF]

Honorary positions

Editorial Board member at Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, since 2017
Subject Editor at Ecography, since 2014
Associate Editor at Frontiers of Biogeography, since 2013
Substitute member of the Examination Board for BSc and MSc in Geosciences at Goethe University Frankfurt, since 2021
Elected member of the Scientific Committee of the Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung, 2021-2024
Board member, Synthesis Centre for Biodiversity Sciences sDiv at the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research iDiv, Leipzig, Germany, 2018-2021

Teaching at Goethe University Frankfurt

Please see my university webpage for more information

Academic CV

Since 2021 Professor for Geobiodiversity Resarch at the Institut für Geowissenschaften, Fachbereich Geowissenschaften / Geographie, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt; Leibniz Professorship in cooperation with Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung

2014-2021 Emmy Noether research group leader, Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre & Fachbereich Biowissenschaften, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt

2011-2014 Postdoctoral researcher, Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (BiK-F) & Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung, Frankfurt, Germany

2009-2011 Postdoctoral researcher, Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

2009 PhD degree, Imperial College London, UK. Thesis „Comparative analyses of extinction risk in vertebrates”

2006-2009 Marie Curie Early-Stage Researcher at Imperial College London. EU FP6 project „HOTSPOTS – Understanding and conserving the Earth’s biodiversity hotspots”

1999-2005 Diplom in Biology, Eberhard Karls University Tübingen, Germany