Life follows rhythms. One part of this rhythm is sleep - a very complex physiological and essential process for mammals. To get a better understanding about the relation between stage of live and sleep I am investigating the development of sleep during the life of a giraffe. For my PhD research I am working with the giraffe as a model animal. Not only because it is a fascinating and beautiful animal but also because some giraffes in the wild are endangered (for example Giraffa camelopardalis ssp. rotschildi). In the last 15 years the total number of giraffe in Africa had dropped by some 65 per cent. Furthermore from scientific view the giraffe is not a big player compared to elephants, rhinos or lions. But regarding their delicate situation we do have the responsibility to protect the highest animal on earth. With my research I want to get more information about biology and behavior of giraffe and therefore I am using a modern camera system to observe giraffe during day and night in zoos and in the wild.
As I am a staff member of the Opel-Zoo foundation professorship I am doing the main part of my research at the Opel-Zoo in Kronberg but in addition we luckily do have a lot of committed zoos to collaborate with to get a broader database about the sleeping behavior of giraffe.
Participations in summer schools and other courses
8th Berlin Summer School “Non-invasive Monitoring of Hormones”; October 2015, Leibniz Institute of Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW), Berlin.
Publications and abstracts
Burger AL, Dierkes PW, Becker M (2015) Concept and evaluation of the Giraffe Exhibition for the World Giraffe Day at the Opel-Zoo in Kronberg. EAZA Conference 2015, September 15-19, Wroclaw, Poland (Poster).
Burger AL, Dierkes PW (2015) Evaluation of infrared thermography as an additional tool for chronobiological studies of paradoxical sleep in giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis). EAZA Conference 2015, September 15-19, Wroclaw Zoo, Poland (Poster).
Burger AL, Dierkes P, Becker M (2015) Sticking our necks out for giraffe in Germany. Giraffid 9(2): 37.