Dr. Bettina Wachter


Department of Evolutionary Ecology

Tel: 0049 (0) 30 5168 518
E-Mail: wachter@izw-berlin.de

Short curriculum vitae

Professional appointments
Since 2001 research scientist at the Department of Evolutionary Ecology.

Professional experience
Since 1996 research on African carnivore species in Southern and East Africa, with extended periods of field work on free-ranging carnivore species on farmland in Namibia and in the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania. Profound knowledge and experience in animal observation, handling and dissection, methods of counting and radio-tracking animals, collection of samples for genetic, hormonal, immunological, histological and serological analyses using non or minimal invasive techniques. Establishment of field laboratories to process samples and of transport chains of frozen samples to Europe. Maintaining long-term co-operations with farmers, stakeholders and government officials in Africa and Europe.

1996 – 2001: Dr. rer. nat at the University of Berne, Switzerland and the Max-Planck Institute for Behavioural Physiology, Seewiesen, Germany. Doctoral thesis:  Facultative siblicide, female choice and male reproductive success in the female-dominated spotted hyaena Crocuta crocuta in the Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania.

1988 – 1994: Studies in biology at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zürich. MSc thesis: Diet overlap and polyspecific associations of red colobus and Diana monkeys in the Taï National Park, Ivory Coast.

Research interests
  • Behavioural ecology of wildlife species
  • Reproductive success and health of carnivore species
  • Immune system of carnivore species
  • Movement and spatial ecology
  • Conservation biology
  • Human-wildlife and land use conflicts
  • Stakeholder dialogue and citizen science
Selected publications

Davidian E, Wachter B, Heckmann I, Dehnhard M, Hofer H, Höner OP (2021): The interplay between social rank, physiological constraints and investment in courtship in male spotted hyenas. FUNCT ECOL 35, 635–649. doi:10.1111/1365-2435.13733

Melzheimer J, Heinrich SK, Wasiolka B, Müller R, Thalwitzer S, Palmegiani I, Weigold A, Portas R, Röder R, Krofel M, Hofer H, Wachter B (2020): Communication hubs of an asocial cat are the source of a human-carnivore conflict and key to its solution. PROC NATL ACAD SCI USA 117, 33325–33333. doi:10.1073/pnas.2002487117

Seltmann A, Schares G, Aschenborn OHK, Heinrich SK, Thalwitzer S, Wachter B*, Czirják GÁ* (2020): Species-specific differences in Toxoplasma gondii, Neospora caninum and Besnoitia besnoiti seroprevalence in Namibian wildlife. PARASITE VECTORS 13, 7. doi:10.1186/s13071-019-3871-3

Ludwig C, Dehnhard M, Pribbenow S, Silinski-Mehr S, Hofer H, Wachter B (2019): Asymmetric reproductive aging in cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) females in European zoos. J ZOO AQUAR RES 7, 87–93. doi:10.19227/jzar.v7i2.382

Melzheimer J, Streif S, Wasiolka B, Fischer M, Thalwitzer S, Heinrich S, Weigold A, Hofer H, Wachter B (2018): Queuing, take-overs, and becoming a fat cat: Long-term data reveal two distinct male spatial tactics at different life-history stages in Namibian cheetahs. ECOSPHERE 9, e02308. doi:10.1002/ecs2.2308

Heinrich SK, Hofer H, Courtiol A, Melzheimer J, Dehnhard M, Czirják GÁ*, Wachter B* (2017): Cheetahs have a stronger constitutive innate immunity than leopards. SCI REP 7, 44837. doi:10.1038/srep44837

Heinrich SK, Wachter B, Aschenborn OH, Thalwitzer S, Melzheimer J, Hofer H, Czirják GÁ (2016): Feliform carnivores have a distinguished constitutive innate immune response. BIOL OPEN 15, 550–555. doi:10.1242/bio.014902

Krengel A, Cattori V, Meli ML, Wachter B, Böni J, Bisset LR, Thalwitzer S, Melzheimer J, Jago M, Hofmann-Lehmann R, Hofer H, Lutz H (2015): Gammaretrovirus-specific antibodies in free-ranging and captive Namibian cheetahs. CLIN VACCINE IMMUNOL 22, 611–617. doi:10.1128/CVI.00705-14

Voigt CC, Thalwitzer S, Melzheimer J, Blanc AS, Jago M, Wachter B (2014): The conflict between cheetahs and humans on Namibian farmland elucidated by stable isotope diet analysis. PLOS ONE 9, e101917. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0101917

Ludwig C, Wachter B, Silinskia S, Ganswindt A, Bertschinger H, Hofer H, Dehnhard M (2013): Characterisation and validation of an enzyme-immunoassay for the non-invasive assessment of faecal glucocorticoid metabolites in cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus). GEN COMP ENDOCRINOL 180, 15–23. doi:10.1016/j.ygcen.2012.10.005

- Wachter et al. (2012) PLoS One

- Castro-Prieto et al. (2011) Mol Biol Ecol

- Wachter et al. (2011) Conserv Lett