Opel-Zoo Foundation Professorship / Opel-Zoo Stiftungsprofessur

Zoo Biology / Zootierbiologie

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Overview

Opel-Zoo Foundation Professorship Zoo Biology

It is widely accepted that zoos are an important source for research on animals, biodiversity and conservation issues. Additionally, educational work at the institution zoo have become a new subject of research in the past years. Our department wants to integrate interdisciplinary objectives and fields of research and introduce zoo biology-specific courses in the academic education at the Goethe University in Frankfurt. Studies of zoo animal behavior, mixed-species exhibits, chronobiology and environmental enrichment are part of our work. Furthermore, educational research is carried out on the evaluation of teaching concepts in zoos, visitor studies and the efficiency of zoos in knowledge transfer and attitude change regarding conservation learning.

The foundation professorship provides the possibility to establish a new line of research and education in this field.

Research activities

Animal Behavior and Physiology, Environmental Education and Conservation Biology

As the professorship is based in the department of Zoo Biology as well as Bioscience Education it provides great opportunities to integrate interdisciplinary objectives and fields of research. The biological research currently focuses on animal behavior studies with regards to welfare aspects, enrichment, chronobiology and cognitive abilities of zoo animals. Furthermore, educational research is carried out on the evaluation of teaching concepts in zoos, visitor studies and the efficiency of zoos in knowledge transfer and attitude change regarding conservation learning.

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Academic teaching/courses

Master module "Behavioral biology in zoos"

The module consists of a seminar, an internship and excursion. Fundamental aspects and current issues of  Zoology are taught in the seminar at the beginning based on original work, which will be presented by the students and then discussed as a group. The excursion to various zoos and a research internship in the 'Opel Zoo' serve to solidify theoretical principles.

The students acquire basic principles in the field of  zoo biology (behavior research in the zoo, enrichment, husbandry, conservation aspects), as well as the application of modern techniques. They will learn methodology for the implementation of behavioural studies and how to address scientific problems while bearing in mind current concepts in the relevant literature.

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Conservation education

Environmental Education / Projects and Exhibitions

As an attempt to foster environmental interest and awareness among children and especially young adults, our department and the pedagogical department from Opel Zoo Kronberg annually organize an educational program that aims at motivate zoo visitors to recognize experience and value the biodiversity that composes their regional environment through interactive exhibitions in the zoo.

Staff

Members of the zoo biology research group

Currently the research group consists of four PhD candidates and a number of master and bachelor candidates.

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Publications

For a list of publications pelase click here.