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. +++
EU-funded PANDASIA project reduces risk of pandemics and enhances health literacy in Thailand and Europe
Emerging infectious diseases, which are caused by zoonotic pathogens such as viruses and bacteria are transmitted between animals and humans, pose an increasing threat to global health. Zoonoses occur primarily where wild animals and humans come into regular contact. Owing to its species diversity, human population density, and movement, Southeast Asia is considered as hotspot for the emergence of new zoonoses and subsequent pandemics. Climate change and loss of biodiversity accelerate the risk of new pandemics. The EU-funded, transdisciplinary scientific project PANDASIA investigates potential risks of new pandemics in Thailand and develops preventive measures. Findings will be used to enhance health literacy of different target groups and communities.
Read more … EU-funded PANDASIA project reduces risk of pandemics and enhances health literacy in Thailand and Europe
Computer tomography images reveal dinosaur bones in unopened bamboo corsets and transport crates
With the help of computer tomography images, Berlin scientists from the Museum für Naturkunde (MfN), the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) and the Charité – university medicine of Berlin – reconstructed the contents of unopened expedition crates from the Tendaguru dinosaur site in Tanzania. The virtual preparation of the material in the bamboo corsets and transport crates revealed numerous dinosaur bones, mainly from the small gazelle dinosaur Dysalotosaurus lettowvorbecki, packed in hut clay lumps, in old tin cans or as whole collections of loose bones. With the help of these images, the team created a prioritisation list for the palaeontological preparation of this material. The images also provide a valuable testimony of this historic expedition and the performance of the Tanzanian excavation workers and porters in the colonial context.
Read more … Computer tomography images reveal dinosaur bones in unopened bamboo corsets and transport crates
With a little help – European Northern Bald Ibis population well on the way to self-sustainability
A recently published paper in the journal ORYX evaluates the success of the established and well-known European reintroduction project for the northern bald ibis (Geronticus eremita). Scientists from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) and from the Austrian company Waldrappteam Conservation and Research evaluated demographic data from almost 400 individuals over 12 years and modelled future scenarios. The population has good survival and reproduction rates and the modelling also showed positive future survival probabilities, even assuming irregular losses due to catastrophes. The reintroduced population therefore has a good chance of long-term survival, the team concludes.
Read more … With a little help – European Northern Bald Ibis population well on the way to self-sustainability
Scientists unveil the highest quality map of sea turtles’ genomes – their future may lie in their evolutionary history
In a paper recently published in the scientific journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences”, an international team of scientists revealed an incredibly detailed genetic map of two species – green and leatherback sea turtles. This will, for the first time, elucidate the genetic foundations that have enabled the once land-dwelling turtles to thrive in oceans throughout the world. Around 100 million years ago, their ancestors turned to the oceans, eventually evolving into the sea turtles that we know today. Knowing the genetic background of this remarkable adaptation may prove crucial for their conservation in current times of rapid environmental change.
Read more … Scientists unveil the highest quality map of sea turtles’ genomes – their future may lie in their evolutionary history
Collision risk and habitat loss: wind turbines in forests impair threatened bat species
In order to meet climate protection goals, renewable energies are booming – often wind power. More than 30,000 turbines have already been installed on the German mainland so far, and the industry is currently scrambling to locate increasingly rare suitable sites. Thus, forests are coming into focus as potential sites. A scientific team from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) now demonstrated in a new paper published in the scientific journal “Current Biology” that wind turbines in forests impair endangered bat species: Common noctules (Nyctalus noctula), a species with a high risk of colliding with rotor blades, are attracted to forest wind turbines if these are located near their roosts. Far from roosts, common noctules avoid the turbines, essentially resulting in a loss of foraging space and thus habitat for this species.
Read more … Collision risk and habitat loss: wind turbines in forests impair threatened bat species
Madagascar mouse lemur retroviruses are diverse and surprisingly similar to ones found in polar bears or domestic sheep
Madagascar is home to a unique biodiversity with a large number of endemic species, among those many lemur species, including the mouse lemurs. This diversity is also found in their retroviruses, a team led by scientists from the Leibniz Institute of Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) and the University of Stirling reports in the journal “Virus Evolution”. They analysed the mouse lemur genome and identified viruses of two classes that represent ancient infections of the mouse lemur germline. The viruses now behave similarly to lemur genes and are thus called endogenous retroviruses (ERVs). It was surprising that some of the identified retroviruses are closely related to viruses found in other, very different mammals such as polar bears or domestic sheep. This suggests an intriguing and complex pattern of host switching of retroviruses, much more complex than previously thought.
Read more … Madagascar mouse lemur retroviruses are diverse and surprisingly similar to ones found in polar bears or domestic sheep
Twin brothers of spotted hyenas are often attracted to the same new group when they disperse from their birth group
Read more … Twin brothers of spotted hyenas are often attracted to the same new group when they disperse from their birth group
BioRescue produces primordial germ cells from northern white rhino stem cells – a world’s first for large mammals
In its race to advance assisted reproduction and stem cell associated technologies to save the northern white rhinoceros from extinction, the BioRescue consortium announces a major breakthrough: the creation of primordial germ cell-like cells (PGCLSs) from induced pluripotent stem cells of the northern white rhino Nabire. This milestone was led by specialists from Osaka University, Japan, and has never been achieved in large mammals before. Now there is one last step to master for the production of artificial rhino gametes (eggs and sperm) from preserved tissue. If successful, this would boost the availability and genetic diversity of embryos and become a cornerstone for saving the northern white rhinoceros. The scientists describe the culture systems and processes for the induction of the PGCLCs from stem cells in a newly published paper in the journal “Science Advances”.
Read more … BioRescue produces primordial germ cells from northern white rhino stem cells – a world’s first for large mammals