Department of Wildlife Diseases: Projects

Characterization of the retroviral germline invasions using the koala retrovirus as a model

We use the koala retrovirus to understand how viruses, retroviruses in particular, have shaped a large part of vertebrate genomes, what the consequences of the process are for the host, and identify host defence mechanisms.

Health status and diseases in the middle European lowland wolf population

Wolves in Germany are predominantly in the area of conflict between hunters, cattle and sheep breeders, nature conservation associations, politics and the general public. The Leibniz-IZW provides evidence-based research results that form the basis for wolf management in Germany.

Eco-immunology of carnivores with low immunogenetic diversity

In this project we study the immune phenotype as well as the parasites and pathogens of two feline species, the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) and the Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus).

Environmental pathogen transmission

In this project we are examining whether water can act as viral vector for mammals under conditions of seasonal water shortage. We are also examining water as a non-invasive resource for host and virus identification and characterization.

Diseases in wildlife from Germany

Our research combines pathological and microbiological investigations of deceased wild animals from Germany to gain relevant insights into the health status and the presence of infectious agents in native species.

Emerging bacterial infectious agents

In this project we perform cross-sectional studies on novel bacterial strains isolated from wildlife species to understand their importance and adaptability to specific hosts and to provide solutions for a reliable identification. Our research combines the expertise from veterinary pathologists as well as microbiologists of veterinary science universities, national reference and federal state laboratories.

Leibniz Research Alliance “Infections’21”: Water as a vector for pathogen transmission

The Leibniz Research Alliance Infections’21 examines modes of pathogen transmission relevant to the 21st century. Within this alliance we investigate water as a vector for pathogen transmission.

Sea eagle health monitoring

The largest eagle in Europe reacts sensitively to environmental pollution and is therefore monitored in its health and population development.

Arctic carnivore health

Arctic regions are one of the most affected by climate change, first evidences being noted already in the 1980s. However information on wildlife population health is still limited and requires continuous monitoring.

Bat immunology

Chiroptera is the second largest mammalian group after rodents, bats possessing unique physiological adaptations with relevance to their disease susceptibility and reservoir competence. In this project we aim to describe and understand the factors influencing intra- and interspecies variability in bat’s immunity.

AMIKOS – Antimicrobial concepts for artificial insemination

AMIKOS is a third-party funded joint project with the aim of developing a feasible low-temperature storage concept for liquid preservation of boar semen that allows antibiotic-free artificial inseminations. The project partners combine in this approach their long experience in the fields of spermatology, microbiology, reproduction medicine and technology.

Emerging viruses in the Amazon basin

The project “WildEmerg” investigates the presence, prevalence and diversity of viruses in South American wildlife and mosquitoes.

Pleistocene immunogenetics

We are using ancient DNA to understand the evolutionary dynamics of immune genes in woolly mammoths and look for signatures of selection, possibly indicating emergence of pathogens at the time that mammoth populations declined eventually leading to their extinction.