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Leibniz-IZW condemns Russia's attack on Ukraine

The Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research strongly condemns Russia's attack on Ukraine. The Leibniz-IZW employs Ukrainian scientists, is very concerned about our scientific colleagues in Ukraine and will support scientists in Ukraine to the best of our ability.


The Leibniz-IZW is an internationally renowned German research institute. It is part of the Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V. and a member of the Leibniz Association. Our goal is to understand the adaptability of wildlife in the context of global change and to contribute to the enhancement of the survival of viable wildlife populations. For this purpose, we investigate the diversity of life histories, the mechanisms of evolutionary adaptations and their limits, including diseases, as well as the interrelations of wildlife with their environment and people. We use expertise from biology and veterinary medicine in an interdisciplinary approach to conduct fundamental and applied research – from the molecular to the landscape level – in close dialogue with the public and stakeholders. Additionally, we are committed to unique and high-quality services for the scientific community.

+++ Current information on African swine fever: The Leibniz-IZW conducts research on the population dynamics, on models of disease outbreaks in wild boars and on the ecology and human-wildlife interaction in urban areas. African swine fever is a reportable disease in domestic swine and therefor is the purview of the respective federal state laboratories and the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut (Federal Research Institute for Animal Health) FLI. +++

News

Nathusius's pipistrelle bat after collision with a wind turbine's rotor blades (photo: Christian Voigt)
Nathusius's pipistrelle bat after collision with a wind turbine's rotor blades (photo: Christian Voigt)

Many bats are at risk of colliding with wind turbines. To prevent this, approval procedures for new turbines require acoustic surveys to assess this risk. The surveys help to identify those conditions under which bats are particularly active in the rotor-swept high-risk zone. Knowing these conditions may then help to formulate curtailment times for the operation of wind turbines to reduce the risk of collision. In a new investigation, a research team led by the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) showed that acoustic monitoring is insufficient if bats are unevenly distributed in the risk zone and if the coverage area of the acoustic detectors is too small – conditions typical for large turbines. Acoustic surveys should therefore be accompanied by carcass searches, and acoustic monitoring should be supplemented with additional ultrasonic detectors, for example, at the lower streak point of rotor blades, the team explained in a paper in the scientific journal “Conservation Science and Practice”.

Sumatran rhino Kertam in Malaysia (photo: Ben Jastram/Leibniz-IZW)
Sumatran rhino Kertam in Malaysia (photo: Ben Jastram/Leibniz-IZW)

Malaysia’s last male Sumatran rhino, Kertam, died in 2019. Now, a team from the Max Delbrück Center in Berlin has successfully grown stem cells and mini-brains from his skin cells. As the scientists explain in the journal “iScience”, their next goal is to create sperm cells that may help to save the endangered species from extinction. The Max Delbrück Center develops stem cell associated techniques (SCAT) as part of the BioRescue project, a collaborative effort led by the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) to develop and apply technologies to save the even more endangered northern white rhinoceros.

In female-dominated species such as spotted hyenas, animals of both sexes rely less often on aggression and more often on submissive signals and gestures (photo: Oliver Höner)
In female-dominated species such as spotted hyenas, animals of both sexes rely less often on aggression and more often on submissive signals and gestures (photo: Oliver Höner)

The stronger and more aggressive sex dominates the weaker sex. This simplistic view of male-female dominance relationships is common but falls short of the complexity of how dominance hierarchies are established in animal societies. A team of scientists with participation of the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Berlin (Leibniz-IZW) now compared intersexual dominance hierarchies of nine group-living mammals using a set of standardised methods and behaviours. They found that the species ranged from being strictly male to strictly female dominated, and that hierarchies were robust with respect to the method applied to construct them. They also found that in female-dominated societies, animals mostly relied on submissive signals and gestures to establish and maintain dominance, whereas in male-dominated societies, they mostly used aggressive behaviours. The results were published in the open access journal “Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution”.

Dorsal and ventral "fingers" in African elephant's trunk and facial motor nucleus (Figure: Kaufmann et al, Science Advances)
Dorsal and ventral "fingers" in African elephant's trunk and facial motor nucleus (Figure: Kaufmann et al, Science Advances)

Elephants have an amazing arsenal of face, ear and trunk movements. The trunk consists of far more muscles than the entire human body and can perform both powerful and very delicate movements. A team of scientists from the Humboldt University of Berlin and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) now examined the facial motor nucleus of African and Asian elephants, the brain structure that controls the facial muscles of these animals. This nucleus contains more facial motor neurons than in any other terrestrial mammal, the scientists show in a paper published in the journal “Science Advances”. African elephants in particular have particularly prominent neuron clusters for the control of the trunk “fingers”.

Rangers in the rain forest. Photo: globalwildlife
Rangers in the rain forest. Photo: globalwildlife

Ahead of the global meeting of the Conference of the Parties in Montréal, Canada, which decides new targets for nature, the first-ever study of its kind outlines an urgent need for larger numbers and better-supported protected area staff to ensure the health of life on Earth. In a new scientific paper published today in the journal “Nature Sustainability”, an international team of scientists – including two members of the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) in Berlin – argue that there are not enough rangers and other staff to manage even the current protected areas around the world. The authors urge governments, donors, private landowners and NGOs to increase the numbers of rangers and other staff five-fold in order to meet global biodiversity conservation goals that have economic, cultural and ecosystem benefits.

Spotted hyena with Maasai pastoralist and cattle in Ngorongoro Crater (Photo: Oliver Höner)
Spotted hyena with Maasai pastoralist and cattle in Ngorongoro Crater (Photo: Oliver Höner)

Pastoralists herding their livestock through the territories of spotted hyena clans along dedicated paths during daytime do not reduce the reproductive performance of hyena clans, nor elevate the physiological ‘stress’ of spotted hyenas. This is the result of a new study led by scientists from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA). The scientists analysed 24 years of demographic and physiological data from eight spotted hyena clans – two of which were exposed to activities by pastoralists. The activities of pastoralists were predictable, diurnal and did not disrupt important behaviours in the mostly nocturnal hyenas. This may have allowed the population to perform well, the scientists suggest. The open access paper is published in the scientific journal “Journal of Animal Ecology”.

Morganucodon, one of the oldest known mammal-like species (Source: FunkMonk (Michael B. H.), CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons)
Morganucodon, one of the oldest known mammal-like species (Source: FunkMonk (Michael B. H.), CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons)

An international team has reconstructed the genome organization of the earliest common ancestor of all mammals. The reconstructed ancestral genome could help in understanding the evolution of mammals and in conservation of modern animals. The earliest mammal ancestor likely looked like the fossil animal “Morganucodon” which lived about 200 million years ago. The work is published the scientific journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences”.

Logo of the Biodiversity Genomics Europe consortium (source: BGE)
Logo of the Biodiversity Genomics Europe consortium (source: BGE)

European genomic researchers gather to launch an unprecedented project that will tackle the biodiversity crisis using DNA data. The comprehensive application of genomic science to biodiversity research will fundamentally change conservation science and policy – with impacts predicted to be on a scale similar to those of the Human Genome Project in medicine. The new pan-European Biodiversity Genomics Europe (BGE) consortium, launched today, is leading the way. BGE is integrated with the European Reference Genome Atlas (ERGA), the pan-European scientific community of experts in genome sequencing, which coordinates the generation of reference-quality genomes for all eukaryotic European species.

IZW in the media

 

07.05.2022 | The Atlantic
Where and when did humans domesticate horses?

26.04.2022 | nature
COVID is spreading in deer. What does that mean for the pandemic?

26.04.2022 | The East African
How spotted hyenas adjust foraging behavior to survive climate change

18.04.2022 | RTL News
Windkraft oder Artenschutz: Diese Maßnahmen plant die Bundesregierung

16.04.2022 | taz
Landflucht der Feldhasen

08.04.2022 | Vier Pfoten
Sieben Braunbären erfolgreich narkotisiert und behandelt

04.06.2021 | BBC News
How to protect birds and bats from wind turbines

02.06.2021 | Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Kontaktbörse am Katzenbaum - Die sozialen Netzwerke der Geparden

01.06.2021 | ZEIT Leo
Wer ist hier der Boss - Zwei Gepardenbrüder in Namibia

27.05.2021 | Pferde.de
Ob blond, ob braun – die Geschichte der Fellfarben beim Pferd

26.05.2021 | ServusTV
Cher und der Elefant

25.05.2021 | Der Tagesspiegel
In Brandenburg werden immer mehr Wölfe getötet

19.05.2021 | BILD
Eltern von Eisbärin Hertha sind Geschwister - Wie gefährlich ist Inzucht bei Tieren?

13.05.2021 | Berliner Zeitung
Wenn einer Braunbärin der Zahn gezogen wird

12.05.2021 | FOCUS
Tote Wölfin «Juli» wird untersucht

10.05.2021 | Bild der Wissenschaft
Magnetsinn im Fledermaus-Auge

07.05.2021 | Nature World News
Animals Can Survive Illnesses Caused by Climate Change Better than Humans?

07.05.2021 | APA Austria
Stu­die: Ein Drit­tel der Schü­ler weiß nicht was Zoo­no­sen sind

06.05.2021 | Econoticias
Los murciélagos tienen un sexto sentido en las córneas

03.05.2021 | Der Tagesspiegel
Kinderwünsche und Umsiedelungen für Nashörner - Alternativen zum Aussterben

02.05.2021 | Spektrum der Wissenschaft
Artenschutz: Hunde haben die Nase vorn

30.04.2021 | Riffreporter
Schicksalsjahr für die Natur: Verhandlungen zu globalem Abkommen stecken fest

29.04.2021 | Der Tagesspiegel
Wie Pferde und Esel Wüsten beleben

28.04.2021 | FOCUS
Weiterer Schritt zur Rettung der Art

26.04.2021 | Bochumer Zeitung
Retroviren schreiben das Koala-Genom um und verursachen Krebs

19.04.2021 | ARD tagesschau24
WISSENSCHECK: Tierparks im Wandel

17.04.2021 | Spektrum der Wissenschaft
Artenschutz in Afrika - Stammtisch der Geparden

14.04.2021 | Greenpeace-Magazin
Dufte Katzenbars: Die Entdeckung von „Kommunikationshotspots“ könnte den Schutz der bedrohten Geparde voranbringen

07.04.2021 | Windkraft-Journal
Artenschutz an Windanlagen: Wie das akustische Monitoring zum Schutz der Biodiversität verbessert werden kann (und sollte)

05.04.2021 | ZDF Terra X
Die Sprache der Tiere

02.04.2021 | Berliner Zeitung
Berliner Forscher bitten zu Ostern zur Hasenjagd

02.04.2021 | Badische Zeitung
Dating in Hyänen-Kreisen: Was für ein Stress

31.03.2021 | Berlin.de
Hase oder doch Kaninchen? Berliner zum Zählen aufgerufen

31.03.2021 | Süddeutsche Zeitung
Hase oder doch Kaninchen? Berliner zum Zählen aufgerufen

30.03.2021 | NABU Berlin
Auch der Osterhase ist ein (Ost-)Berliner - Berliner*innen sollen Feldhasen-Sichtungen in der Stadt melden

30.03.2021 | Horizon Magazine
The curious case of northeast Brazil’s cross-breeding sea turtles

25.03.2021 | Deutschlandfunk Kultur
Genomatlas für Artenschutz: Gen-Entschlüsselung könnte Artenvielfalt bewahren

25.03.2021 | The Guardian
Researchers find the secret of the bunny hop: it's all in the genes

25.03.2021 | MDR
Chemie in Greifvögeln: Pflanzenschutzmittel, Nagetiergift, Ibuprofen und Antibiotika

25.03.2021 | Die Linde
Schlagrisiko von Fledermäusen an Windkraftanlagen verringern

25.03.2021 | FOCUS
Rattengift bedroht Greifvögel

23.03.2021 | Berliner Zeitung
Chemikalien vergiften Greifvögel in Deutschland – und Habichte in Berlin

12.03.2021 | Terra Mater Factual Studios
How to Save a Species When There Are Only Two Females Left