Christian Sturmbauer, born in 1960, studied Biology and Zoology at the University of Innsbruck, had 2 post-doctoral positions at SUNY Stony Brook (1991 - 1993) and passed his Assistant- and Associate Professor carrier at the University of Innsbruck. Since 2001 he is Professor for Zoology and Evolutionary Biology and since 2006 Head or Deputy Head of the Department of Biology at the University of Graz. He is Corresponding Member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, member of the Commission for Interdisciplinary Ecological Studies of the OEAW, Deputy President of the Zoological and Botanical Society in Austria and member of the steering committee of the project initiative Austrian Barcode of Life (ABOL), as well as in the steering committee of the Austrian Biodiversity Council. his membership in the Commission for Interdisciplinary Ecological Studies of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, and his commitment in the editorial boards of Bioinformatics and Ecology Series of the OEAW, Hydrobiologia and Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research.
In 1994 Sturmbauer founded one of the very first European molecular phylogenetics labs and research groups at the University of Innsbruck. His research focuses on patterns of speciation and eco-morphological diversification during adaptive radiation, addressed by a combination of genomic and comparative morphological approaches using predominately East African cichlid species flocks as model system. Thereby the focus lies on the evolution of critical adaptive traits, shaped by the combined action of natural and sexual selection. In several research projects the Sturmbauer lab address patterns and processes of adaptive evolution and speciation and in particular the evolution of genes shaping the morphology of the oral and pharyngeal jaws. Using a comparative approach the focus lies on eco-morphologically convergently adapted species in the three Great East African Lakes. The role of hybridization events boosting the pace of speciation is also topic of research, as well as parallel evolution of ecologically relevant complex traits.
The documentation and conservation of biodiversity is a second research focus of Sturmbauer, manifesting in a leading role in the project initiative Austrian Barcode of Life (ABOL), a membership in the Commission for Interdisciplinary Ecological Studies of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, the Austrian Biodiversity Council (Österreichischer Biodiversitätsrat) and the commitment in the editorial boards of Hydrobiologia, Biosystematics and Ecology of the OEAW and Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research. Due to the dramatic situation of biodiversity in almost all ecosystems Sturmbauer is intensivelyinvolved in all issues of biological conservation, and specifically in public outreach to create awareness, as well as research projects.