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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

A young brown rat (Rattus norvegicus).  Testes and white blood cells shown. Photo: IZW/Jundong Tian
A young brown rat (Rattus norvegicus). Photo: IZW/Jundong Tian

It has been assumed that the increased transmission of sexually-transmitted diseases in the case of mating promiscuity is influential in shaping the immune system of mammals. Results published in the scientific journal “Functional Ecology” this week demonstrate that this simple idea does not apply to rodents, and that living circumstances and the environment can be a key factor in determining variation in immune investment among mammals.

Dr Erik Meijaard of Borneo Futures, Jakarta
Orang-Utan: Dr Erik Meijaard of Borneo Futures, Jakarta

New conservation research has discovered that up to 74% of current orang-utan habitat in Borneo could become unsuitable for this endangered species due to 21st century climate or land-cover changes.

Caption see below press release. Photo: Thomas Hackmann

Over the millennia people have repeatedly changed the coat patterns and colours of domestic animals through selective breeding. In particular, leopard complex spotting in horses has been repeatedly a favourite pattern since the beginning of domestication about 5500 years ago, as an international team of scientists has now been able to demonstrate. The study emphasises how changing fashions and repeated cross-breeding of wild and domestic horses have substantially enhanced the genetic diversity of the domestic horse. The results of the study have just been published in the renowned scientific journal Philosophical Transactions B of the Royal Society.

Fig.: IZW

Scientists from the IZW led by Alex Greenwood publish a simple way to retrieve small genomes from a mix of various organisms.

Blood collection of a free-ranging cheetah on Namibian farmland for stable isotope analyses. Photo: G. Czirjak/IZW
Blood collection of a free-ranging cheetah on Namibian farmland for stable isotope analyses. Photo: G. Czirjak/IZW

Scientists from the German Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW) can give the all-clear: in a recent study they showed that cheetahs primarily prefer wildlife on their menu. The cheetah is a vulnerable species that only exists on Namibia’s commercial farmland in large populations. Here, local farmers see cheetahs as a potential threat for their cattle.

Cationic synthetic peptides: assessment of their antimicrobial potency in liquid preserved boar semen. Photo: IFN Schoenow e.V.
Cationic synthetic peptides: assessment of their antimicrobial potency in liquid preserved boar semen. Photo: IFN Schoenow e.V.

Scientists found a way to reduce the application of antibiotics in pig breeding by using antimicrobial peptides. The results of the study have just been published in the scientific online-journal PLOS ONE.

Catching device for bats in Pape, Latvia. Photo: Oliver Lindecke
Catching device for bats in Pape, Latvia. Photo: Oliver Lindecke

The worldwide largest funnel trap designed for the purpose of studying migratory bats will opened at the ornithological field station in Pape, Latvia, on August 19, 2014. At the same time, an ambitious international research project on the biology of migratory bats will be started. The project is expected to provide some key answers to many unsolved questions concerning flight paths, hibernation areas and metabolism of these ecologically valuable mammals.

A dead bat. Photo: Christian Voigt/IZW
A dead bat. Photo: Christian Voigt/IZW

Wind turbines are responsible for the death of numerous bats. In a recent study, scientists determined the origin of these animals: they do not only come from local areas but many had been already on a long migratory journey. Germany therefore bears responsibility not only for the protection of native bat populations, but also for the populations from other countries.