The research vision is to achieve two goals: (1) to contribute to the development of a comprehensive predictive framework that explains why some wildlife species are threatened by anthropogenic change whereas others persist or even thrive in degenerated or novel habitats (“understanding adaptability”), and (2) based on this knowledge, to design appropriate concepts and methods for conservation intervention when natural mechanisms of adaptability are likely to fail (“improving adaptability”).
The IZW is organised in five scientific departments (Evolutionary Ecology, Evolutionary Genetics, Wildlife Diseases, Reproduction Biology, Reproduction Management). Work at the institute is divided into three Research Foci:
- Adaptations: Elucidating the mechanisms underlying key traits, their adaptive value and their evolutionary plasticity in the life history of wildlife species, as well as analysing traits as a knowledge basis for designing intervention methods.
- Wildlife Diseases: Investigating the health status of wildlife populations as well as the causes and distribution of diseases and their consequences.
- Conservation: Assessing the risks to wildlife, elucidating the biological basis for conservation, and developing and applying novel concepts and methods for interventions to aid threatened wildlife species.
The IZW offers services in the fields of wildlife pathology, disease diagnostics, electron microscopy, forensic genetics, population viability analyses, assisted reproduction, computed tomography and the analysis of stable isotopes. The IZW also maintains and expands reference collections for pathology, morphology specimens, ultrasound CT and other images and videos, genetic samples and gamete tissues of endangered species. Finally, the IZW organises several international conference series, such as the “International Conference on Behaviour, Physiology and Genetics of Wildlife”, the “International Conference on Diseases of Zoo and Wild Animals” and the “Berlin Bat Meetings” on the biology and diseases of bats.