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. +++
Darwinian evolution is the process by which natural selection promotes genetic changes in traits that favour survival and reproduction of individuals. How fast evolution happens depends crucially on the abundance of its “fuel”: how much genetic difference there is in the ability to survive and reproduce. New research by an international research team with participation of the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) has now discovered that the raw material for evolution is much more abundant in wild animals than previously believed. The findings were published in “Science”.
Are women who have twins more fertile? While previous studies concluded they are, a detailed analysis of more than 100,000 births from pre-industrial Europe by an international team of scientists shows they are not. The results of the study are now published in the scientific journal Nature Communications.
Reference genomes provide first insights into genetic roots of mustelid physiological and behavioural diversity
Mustelids are the most ecologically and taxonomically diverse family within the order Carnivora. From the tayra in the neotropics to the wolverine in the subarctic, they inhabit a variety of ecological niches and developed corresponding species-specific traits related to their diet, reproductive strategy and morphology. An international team of scientists led by the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) conducted a comparative analysis of whole genomes of several mustelids to obtain insights into the molecular basis of these adaptations. The team found that multiple sources of genomic variation contributed to candidate genes, including those that change the number, position, orientation or size of genes in a species’ genome. The latter forms of genomic variation are frequently neglected in genome studies of wildlife species, and the authors argue that this needs to change. The results are published in the scientific journal “Molecular Ecology”.
IPB University and Leibniz-IZW signed memorandum of understanding to accelerate conservation science and education
Berlin, Germany; 19.05.2022 — Today, the Indonesian “Institut Pertanian Bogor University (IPB University)” and the German “Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW)” signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) witnessed by the Indonesian Ambassador, the representative of the Directorate General of Nature Conservation and Ecosystem Ministry of Environment and Forestry of the Republic of Indonesia and the Director of the German Zoo Leipzig. The MOU is outlining a new collaborative strategy for advancing future scientific and educational solutions to local and global sustainability and biodiversity conservation challenges.
Spotted hyenas adjust to a decreased presence of migratory prey in their territories induced by climate change. This is the key result of a paper recently published in the scientific journal Ecosphere. A team of researchers from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW), Germany, and the Centre for Functional and Evolutionary Ecology (CEFE), France, investigated the relationship between rainfall volume and migratory herbivore presence in hyena clan territories in the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania, and the responses of lactating hyenas to recent changes in the climate-prey relationship. Using an observation-based dataset spanning three decades, they showed that the substantial increase in annual rainfall during this time halved the presence of migratory herds inside the hyena clan territories, but did not affect the ability of female hyenas to access their prey and successfully nurse their young. This suggests a high plasticity of foraging behaviour of hyenas in response to changing environmental conditions.
In North America, SARS-CoV-2 has spread from humans to white-tailed deer. The deer are now considered SARS-CoV-2 reservoirs and may even spill virus back to humans. A science team headed by the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) and the Charité have now shown that in Germany and Austria this has not happened as all deer tested were negative for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. The research is reported in the journal “Microorganisms” in a special issue on Viruses of Wild Mammals.
Forest, COVID-19, Food and Extinction of Species: Research network publishes "10 Must Knows" on biodiversity
"10 Must Knows from Biodiversity Science”, ranging from climate stress for German forests, the restructuring of agriculture to the corona virus that has jumped from animals to humans, are now published for the first time. More than 45 experts from the Leibniz Research Network Biodiversity and colleagues have compiled this inventory on the preservation of nature as the basis of human life. In the run-up to the World Summit on Nature – the UN Biodiversity Conference in Kunming, China – the report is intended to invite dialogue, the researchers say. At the same time, they voice clear policy demands.
Pluripotent stem cells from the northern white rhinoceros: BioRescue moves one step closer to artificial egg cells
The BioRescue consortium develops advanced methods of assisted reproduction to save the northern white rhino from extinction. Oocytes from the last remaining females play a key role in this mission, as embryos are created from them by in-vitro fertilisation with sperm from deceased bulls. Within BioRescue, the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) in Berlin is working with partners in Munich and Kyushu (Japan) on a second strategy for obtaining oocytes – developing them from stem cells. The team now created induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from northern white rhino Nabire and thereby substantially advanced the process of creating iPSCs and differentiating them into primed and naïve-like stem cells. This important step towards creating artificial oocytes from stem cells is described in the scientific journal “Scientific Reports”.