Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse on the Beato de Fernando I y doña Sancha dated 1047 AD (Apoc. VI, 1–8f. 135; shelf 14-2 National Library, Madrid;  https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:B_Facundus_135.jpg
Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse on the Beato de Fernando I y doña Sancha dated 1047 AD (Apoc. VI, 1–8f. 135; shelf 14-2 National Library, Madrid; https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:B_Facundus_135.jpg

The Emperor's New Coats – the history of horse coat colours

Human preferences for horse coat colours have changed greatly over time and across cultures. Spotted and diluted horses were more frequent from the beginning of domestication until the end of the Roman Empire, whereas solid colours (bay, black and chestnut) were predominant in the Middle Ages. These are the findings of an international research team under the direction of the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW). The results have just been published in the open access journal “Scientific Reports” ...

Herpesvirus particles.| Photo: Walid Azab
Herpesvirus particles.| Photo: Walid Azab

Herpes, not quite so species specific after all

A new study challenges the tenet of herpes viruses being strictly host-specific. Scientists from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW) in Germany have discovered that gammaherpesviruses switch their hosts more frequently than previously thought. In fact, bats and primates appear to be responsible for the transfer of these viruses to other mammals in many cases. The findings were published in the scientific journal “mBio”. ...

Photo: Ralf Günther
Photo: Ralf Günther

Leibniz-IZW is honored with the "UN-Decade for Biodiversity Award“

The “Sabah Rhino Project“ of the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW) was awarded as an official project of the UN-Decade for Biodiversity. This tribute is given to projects, which remarkably campaign for the preservation of biodiversity. ...

Photo: Rudis-Fotoseite.de & pixelio.de
Photo: Rudis-Fotoseite.de & pixelio.de

How choosy should you be?

When animals choose their mates, how discriminate they are varies a great deal. For some male Mormon crickets, any female will do; in contrast, blue peahens rarely fall for the first cock courting them. Across nature, all kinds of situations seem to occur (albeit with different frequencies): indiscriminate males and females, only choosy females, only choosy males, very choosy everybody, as well as any situation in between. In a recent study, Alexandre Courtiol from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Berlin (Germany) and his collaborators from the Institut des Sciences de l’Evolution in Montpellier (France) conclude that how choosy animals are is something that emerges predictably from the biology of each species and sex. This finding matters because—by impacting on who mixes their genes with whom—choosiness is a key factor shaping the biodiversity of species. This, in turn, has implications for conservation. ...

Photo: Milena Stillfried/IZW
Photo: Milena Stillfried/IZW

Berlin wild boars: The one faithful city borough dwellers, the other from the surrounding area

 Berlin’s urban forests harbour isolated wild boar populations, whereas urban wild boars from built-up areas originate from neighbouring rural areas. This is the surprising result of a scientific study by the German Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW), the „Landeslabor Berlin Brandenburg“ and the Natural History Museum in Luxemburg which used techniques from molecular genetics to analyse the structure and origins of the wild boar populations. The study was part of a doctoral dissertation funded by the IZW and financially supported by National Geographic and the Foundation for Nature Conservation Berlin (“Stiftung Naturschutz Berlin”). The results are published in the scientific journal “Journal of Applied Ecology”. ...

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Welcome to the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research!

Willkommen am Leibniz-Institut für Zoo- und Wildtierforschung (IZW)! Deutsche Version der IZW-Webseite.

The Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW) is an interdisciplinary research institute dedicated to developing the scientific basis for novel approaches to wildlife conservation.

In the current era of the Anthropocene, virtually all ecosystems in the world are subjected to man-made impacts. As yet, it is not possible to predict the response of wildlife to the ever-increasing global change. Why are some wildlife species threatened by anthropogenic change, while others persist or even thrive in modified, degenerated or novel habitats?

To answer this and related questions, the IZW conducts basic and applied research across different scientific disciplines. We study the diversity of life histories and evolutionary adaptations and their limits, including diseases, of free-ranging and captive wildlife species, and their interactions with people and their environment in Germany, Europe and worldwide.

The IZW is a member of the Leibniz Association and the Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.