Dr. Wirtz is an independent researcher of Marine Biology and an underwater photographer.

He has taught Zoology, Behavioral science and Marine biology at the universities of Freiburg im Breisgau, Karlsruhe, Madeira and the Azores. He is the author of 7 books and more than 100 scientific articles. On several journeys along the coast of West Africa he discovered new fish and invertebrate species; 14 were named after him.