Abitur, University Cologne, 1968. Diploma in Biology, University Cologne, 1973. Doctor of Philosophy, University Cologne, 1976.
Scientific researcher Institute Avian Research, Wilhelmshaven, Germany, 1978—1992, science director, since 1992. Professor biology University Oldenburg, Germany, since 1997.
Curator Catholic Foundation St, Johannes, Varel, Germany, since 1996. Member of European Ornithologists Union (treasurer since 2005), Waterbird Society, Seabird Group, German Ornithologists' Society (associate. Secretary 1982-1985, board member 1986-1995), International Ornithological Committee (life).
Married Gabriele Göpfert, April 2, 1976. Children: Kristin, Andreas, Birgit.