An initiative of Earthwatch Institute

May Scientist of the Month: Volker Framenau

Dr Volker Framenau in the field

Dr Volker Framenau in the field.

Dr Volker Framenau is one of Australia’s leading arachnologists and has significant research experience in the taxonomy and systematics, population biology and behavioural ecology of spiders and other arachnids.

Volker completed a degree in Process Engineering at the Cooperative State University Mannheim (Germany) followed by a M.Sc. in Nature Conservation at the Philipps-University Marburg (Germany). Following the award of a Ph.D. at the University of Melbourne for a study on the population ecology and systematics of riparian wolf spiders of the Victorian Alps, he conducted research on the taxonomy and systematics of wolf spiders (Lycosidae) and orb-weaving spiders (Araneidae) at the Western Australian Museum.

Subsequently, he was the inaugural, industry-funded Curator of Short-range Endemic (SRE) Invertebrates at the Western Australian Museum and remains one of the foremost experts on SREs in Western Australia, in particular mygalomorph spiders, schizomids and millipedes.

Today, Volker is one of three Directors of Phoenix Environmental Sciences, a Western Australian consulting company that largely conducts biological surveys and environmental approvals for mining and infrastructure projects in the state. Volker is also an Adjunct Lecturer at the School of Animal Biology (University of Western Australia) and Research Associate at the Western Australian Museum. He has published over 50 peer-reviewed papers on invertebrate ecology and systematics in international scientific journals and authored or co-authored more than 150 reports on terrestrial short-range endemic and troglofauna in Western Australia.

Conservation of invertebrates, in particular spiders, is one of motivators behind Volker’s research. Only taxonomic research determines the distribution patterns of many species that are still undocumented today. Establishing these patterns allows us to judge the effects of a changing climate into the future.

If you have a question about spiders or other invertebrates, and how they might be influenced by climate change, email Volker at, or fill out a form here.