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The Konrad Lorenz Institute of Ethology is a biological research institute for the study of animal behavior. Ethology (or Behavioral Biology) is an integrative field that addresses questions about how and why animals do what they do. Since spring 2015 it is also the headquaters of the Österreichischen Vogelwarte/Austrian Ornithological Centre (AOC).

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Foxes in the city: citizen science helps researchers to study urban wildlife

A citizen science Project highlighted that foxes prefer specific city areas and Environments in Vienna. (© L. Hamelbeck-Galle/ stadtwildtiere.at)
Fox on a house roof 8

A team of researchers around wildlife ecologist Theresa Walter has analyzed more than 1100 fox sightings in Vienna within the framework of the citizen science project StadtWildTiere 9. The scientists from the Vetmeduni and colleagues from the University of Life Sciences (BOKU) in Vienna  were able to show that foxes prefer certain neighbourhoods and habitats.  For wild animals, cities consist of a mosaic of land use classes, such as parks, gardens and streets, which differ with regard to their percentage of green area as well as in the way they are used by people. The analysis of fox sightings shows that the probabilities of encountering foxes were significantly higher in gardens, areas with a low building density, parks or squares as compared to agricultural areas, industrial areas or forests.   The research also showed that socioeconomic characteristics of city residents (such as education level) have an influence on whether sightings of wildlife are reported.

The article “Fox sightings in a city are related to certain land use classes and sociodemographics: results from a citizen science project 10” by Theresa Walter, Richard Zink, Gregor Laaha, Johann G. Zaller and Florian Heigl was publiched in BMc Ecology

More Info 11

(Web editor, 17 Decmeber 2018)


Vetmed Magazin special report: Ethology and veterinary medicine

Cover of the Vetmed Magazine edition 03/18 12

In the latest edition of the Vetmed Magazine readers will find an interesting article about the work of the Konrad Lorenz Institute of Ethology (KLIVV) at Wilhelminenberg.  The article describes the most important milestones in the history of the research institute, starting with its foundation as a "biological station" by Otto and Lilli König in 1945.  In 2011 the KLIVV was integrated into the Vetmeduni.  The article also presents examples of some current research topics at the institute. 

See Vetmagazin 03/2018 (in German) 12

(Web editor, 13 December 2018)


Doris Nicolakis is a winner in the Vetmeduni Vienna poster award 2018

Winners in the category "science journalism": Gökҫe Aköz (1st place), Sabrina Karl (2nd place), Doris Nicolakis (3rd place), Janna Vogelgesang (3rd place, not pictured); © T. Suchanek / Vetmeduni Vienna
Photo of the winners in the category science journalism 13

After a break in 2017, the best scientific posters at the Vetmeduni Vienna and the winners of the new VetIdeas Poster Challenge were again awarded during this year's "That's Vet" show. The Poster Award in two categories was awarded follwing a selection by a jury of science journalists and the University Council. The winners of the VetIdeas Poster Challenge, supported by 'tecnet equity' and 'Accent Gründerservice', were pre-determined by jury decision.

Doris Nicolakis of the Konrad Lorenz Institute for Comparative Behavioral Research won 3rd place in the category "Science Journalism" for her poster: "Do ultrasonic vocalizations during courtship predict reproductive success in house mice?"

More info 14 (in German)

(Web editor, 5 December 2018)


No Japanese quail genetic pollution in captive Common quail in Italy provides pure-bred stock for natural populations

Breeding strategies with non-native quails for restocking the wild Population in the Mediterranean region may make economic sense, but can alter common genetic and phenotypic traits of native species. (Photo: Gianni Pola)
Quail mother with two chicks 15

Hunting Common quails is a popular activity in the Mediterranean region. Experimental studies however showed that population re-stocking with farm-reared quails for hunting purposes is often done using Japanese quail or hybrids of domestic Japanese and Common quail. This could alter the gene pool of the native species and its migratory and reproductive behaviour, though direct evidence is lacking so far. Researchers from Vetmeduni Vienna have, for the first time, genetically screened a captive population of quails established from wild-caught birds to assess its genetic purity. Study leader was Valeria Marasco. The study revealed no evidence of genetic pollution by Japanese quail genes and confirmed that a common quails breeding programme using native species would be a feasible alternative.  This would minimise the risk of genetic pollution of native wild common quail populations.

The article „Lack of introgression of Japanese quail in a captive population of common quail 16“ by Steve Smith, Leonida Fusani, Balint Boglarka, Ines Sanchez-Donoso and Valeria Marasco was published in the European Journal of Wildlife Research.

More info 17

(Web editor, 18 September 2018)


ECCB Poster award goes to Martina Lazzaroni for research on dog behavior

Martina Lazzaroni (Photo Roberta Massimei)
Woman in pink T-Shirt smiling at a black dog 18

Why do dogs look back at the human in an impossible task?  That is the question Martina Lazzaroni, Jim McGetrick and other researchers around Friederike Range of the Working Group Domestication at the Konrad Lorenz Institute of Ethology, Vetmeduni Vienna have been investigating.  Martina Lazzaroni won first prize for her poster 19, which was presented at the 5th European Congress of Conservation Biology (ECCB)  by co-author Jim McGetrick.

Congratulations for a job well done!

(Web editor, 22 August 2018)



A special visit to primary school Brüßlgasse

Richard Zink showing a ural owl puppet to a group of children 20
Theresa Walter and Richard Zink at the Children's University tell the children about ural owls and wildlife in the city.
Theresa Walter and Richard Zink at the Children's University tell the children about ural owls and wildlife in the city. 21

Enjoying a day of university feeling: On June 6, 2018, about 240 pupils from the elementary school in Brüßlgasse had an opportunity to "test" the children´s university before the registration starts on June 11.  The KinderuniWien was visited the elementary school Brüßlgasse with the representatives of the Kinderuni-Locations - KinderuniScience - KinderuniMedicine - KinderuniTechnik - KinderuniBoku - KinderuniVetmed - KinderuniFHCampus - KinderuniWirtschaft. In various lectures and workshops, the students were able to experience the Kinderuni Wien within their own four school walls.

The biologists dr. Richard Zink and Theresa Walter, M.Sc. from the Konrad Lorenz Institute of Ethology at the Vetmeduni Vienna were able to inspire the children for Habichtskauz and Co. A conversation about wild animals in the city was well received - the children took part actively.

The online registration for KinderuniWien will start on June 11 at 5 pm at kinderuni.at! 417 courses with around 24,500 study places are available. Vetmeduni Wien is offering 16 events this year. To register, click here on or after June 11.

More info

(Web editor, 6 June 2018)


The dark side of cichlid fish: from cannibal to caregiver

The female fish won't allow males to get to the breeding cavities and thus control whether they engage in parental duties or not. (Photo: Michael Bernkopf/Vetmeduni Vienna)
A female cichlid fish in front of its breeding cave in an aquarium 23

Cannibalism, the eating of conspecifics, has a rational background in the animal kingdom.  It may serve as a source of energy-rich nutrition or to increase reproductive success. Some species do not even spare their own brood. Filipa Cunha-Saraiva of the Konrad Lorenz Institute of Ethology of the  Vetmeduni Vienna and other researchers have now been able to show the trigger of this peculiarity in African cichlids.  When their eggs were taken away for a prolonged period, the females of a cichlid fish species ate both their own eggs and foreign eggs.  They quickly switched between parental duties and ensuring their own energy supply.

The article "From cannibal to caregiver: tracking the transition in a cichlid fish 24" by Filipa Cunha-Saraiva, Sigal Balshine, Richard H. Wagner and Franziska C. Schaedelin was recently published in the journal Animal Behavior .

More info 25

(Web editor, 20 April 2018)


New treatment strategies for chronic kidney disease from the animal kingdom

Biomimetics offers an innovative approach to solving human problems by imitating physiological strategies of, for example, bears. (Photo: Georg Rauer)
Brown bear standing in a river 26

The field of biomimetics offers an innovative approach to solving human problems by imitating strategies found in nature. Medical research could also benefit from biomimetics, as a group of international experts from various fields, including a wildlife veterinarian and wildlife ecologists from the Department of Integrative Biology and Evolution of the Vetmeduni Vienna, point out using the example of chronic kidney disease. In future research, they intend to study the mechanisms that protect the muscles, organs and bones of certain animals during extreme conditions such as hibernation.

The article “Novel treatment strategies for chronic kidney disease: insights from the animal kingdom 27” by Peter Stenvinkel, Johanna Painer, Makoto Kuro-o, Miguel Lanaspa, Walter Arnold, Thomas Ruf, Paul G. Shiels and Richard J. Johnson was published in Nature Reviews.

More info 28

(Web editor, 19 February 2018)


Third bird ringers´conference

The team of the Austrian Ornithological Centre with Prof. Bairlein (Photo: Stefan Graf)
(Click picture to enlarge)
Team photo of the AOC with Prof. Bairlein 29

Great guest lectures and numerous participants

On Saturday, January 27, 2018, the Austrian Ornithological Center (AOC) 30 invited for the third time to the annual bird ringers conference. Over 40 bird ringers and interested people from all over Austria took part in the event in Vienna and enjoyed a varied program. A special highlight was the guest lecture by Prof. Franz Bairlein, director of the  Institute of Avian Research/Ornithological Station Helgoland (IAR) 31 and experienced bird ringer, who opened the conference with an impressive lecture on the migration of the Wheatear. In addition to presentations of the Austrian Ornithological Institute about their activities, programs and concepts, some bird ringers also presented their current projects. The event also gave budding and experienced bird ringers plenty of time to network with national and international colleagues, representatives of various nature conservation departments and members of BirdLife Austria 32.

The team of the Austrian Ornithological Institute would like to thank the guest lecturers and especially the many participants for the successful event!

(Web editor, 6 February 2018)


News Archive... 33



Savoyenstraße 1a, A-1160 Vienna
Tel:   +43 (1) 25077-7900
Fax:  +43 (1) 25077-7941

How to find us 34


Recovered a bird ring?

Bird rings of various sizes

Please report your recovery here 35.


Seminar at Wilhelminenberg

Every Wednesday during the university semester we hold the "Seminar at Wilhelminenberg", a colloquium where leading international scientists present their latest research results.

Seminar programme 36


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