Vienna Zoo

Vienna, Austria

Vienna Zoo

Vienna, Austria

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Stoeger A.S.,University of Vienna | Baotic A.,Vienna Zoo | Li D.,China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda | Charlton B.D.,University of Sussex
Ethology | Year: 2012

Infant giant pandas are highly vocal during the first few weeks of life, producing vocalisations that are characterised by noisy, aperiodic segments. The aperiodic character of many animal vocalisations results from irregular vibratory regimes of the vocal folds, and one proposed function of this so-called nonlinear phenomena (NLP) in animal vocalisations is to convey information about the caller's arousal state. This hypothesis was tested in the vocalisations of six hand-reared giant panda cubs recorded during handling and feeding procedures that had been categorised into low- and high-arousal contexts based on quantified motor activity. Ninety-three per cent of the vocalisations contained NLP, including deterministic chaos and subharmonics. Vocalisations produced in the high-arousal contexts, however, were characterised by an increase in chaos, as well as increased call duration and x- fundamental frequency (pitch). These results suggest that infant giant panda vocal signals have the potential to express different arousal states. Furthermore, because giant panda cubs are the smallest placental mammal offspring at birth compared with adult size, acoustically conveying arousal state to the mother might be crucial for infant survival under natural rearing conditions. © 2012 Blackwell Verlag GmbH.


Weissenbacher A.,Vienna Zoo | Preininger D.,Vienna Zoo | Ghosh R.,Project Batagur | Morshed A.G.J.,Project Batagur | Praschag P.,Turtle Island
International Zoo Yearbook | Year: 2015

Wild populations of the Northern river terrapin Batagur baska have been decimated to such an extent that the species can be considered as ecologically extinct. Harvesting and habitat reduction are the main reasons for the drastic demise of B.baska, which formerly inhabited rivers and estuaries in East India, Bangladesh and Myanmar. A cooperative in situ and ex situ conservation project was established to secure the survival of this large river terrapin. In 2010, at Vienna Zoo, Austria, the first two captive-bred juveniles of the project hatched and presented an opportunity to call attention to this Critically Endangered species. With combined efforts a breeding population has been assembled in Bangladesh's Bhawal National Park and 84 juveniles have been reared in the past 2 years. Project-Batagur demonstrates how zoos can play a key role in sustainable long-term conservation of threatened species. © 2014 The Zoological Society of London.


Holthaus K.B.,Medical University of Vienna | Holthaus K.B.,University of Bologna | Strasser B.,Medical University of Vienna | Sipos W.,University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna | And 7 more authors.
Molecular Biology and Evolution | Year: 2016

The evolution of reptiles, birds, and mammals was associated with the origin of unique integumentary structures. Studies on lizards, chicken, and humans have suggested that the evolution of major structural proteins of the outermost, cornified layers of the epidermis was driven by the diversification of a gene cluster called Epidermal Differentiation Complex (EDC). Turtles have evolved unique defense mechanisms that depend on mechanically resilient modifications of the epidermis. To investigate whether the evolution of the integument in these reptiles was associated with specific adaptations of the sequences and expression patterns of EDC-related genes, we utilized newly available genome sequences to determine the epidermal differentiation gene complement of turtles. The EDC of the western painted turtle (Chrysemys picta bellii) comprises more than 100 genes, including at least 48 genes that encode proteins referred to as beta-keratins or corneous beta-proteins. Several EDC proteins have evolved cysteine/proline contents beyond 50% of total amino acid residues. Comparative genomics suggests that distinct subfamilies of EDC genes have been expanded and partly translocated to loci outside of the EDC in turtles. Gene expression analysis in the European pond turtle (Emys orbicularis) showed that EDC genes are differentially expressed in the skin of the various body sites and that a subset of beta-keratin genes within the EDC as well as those located outside of the EDC are expressed predominantly in the shell. Our findings give strong support to the hypothesis that the evolutionary innovation of the turtle shell involved specific molecular adaptations of epidermal differentiation. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution.


Weissenbock N.M.,University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna | Weiss C.M.,Medical University of Vienna | Schwammer H.M.,Vienna Zoo | Kratochvil H.,University of Vienna
Journal of Thermal Biology | Year: 2010

In this study, we examined infrared thermograms in the course of time of six African zoo elephants and observed two phenomena. First, we noticed independent thermal windows, highly vascularised skin areas, on the whole elephants' body and second we observed distinct and sharply delimited hot sections on the elephants' pinnae. The frequency of thermal windows increased with increasing ambient temperature and body weight. We assume that the restriction of an enhanced cutaneous blood flow to thermal windows might enable the animal to react more flexibly to its needs with regard to heat loss. With this understanding, the use of thermal windows in heat loss might be seen as a fine-tuning mechanism under thermoneutral conditions. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.


Preininger D.,Vienna Zoo | Halbauer R.,Vienna Zoo | Bartsch V.,Vienna Zoo | Weissenbacher A.,Vienna Zoo
Zoo Biology | Year: 2014

For the first time worldwide, fertilized eggs of ribbon eels (Rhinomuraena quaesita) hatched into feeding preleptocephali and could be kept alive for a period of seven days in the Vienna Zoo. The study reports on husbandry, behavioral observations and dimensions of eggs and preleptocephalus larvae. Furthermore, body color variations of ribbon eels in captivity do not reflect its sex or sexual maturity. Zoo Biol. 34:85-88, 2015. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals Inc.


PubMed | University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Vienna Zoo, University of Bologna and Medical University of Vienna
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Molecular biology and evolution | Year: 2016

The evolution of reptiles, birds, and mammals was associated with the origin of unique integumentary structures. Studies on lizards, chicken, and humans have suggested that the evolution of major structural proteins of the outermost, cornified layers of the epidermis was driven by the diversification of a gene cluster called Epidermal Differentiation Complex (EDC). Turtles have evolved unique defense mechanisms that depend on mechanically resilient modifications of the epidermis. To investigate whether the evolution of the integument in these reptiles was associated with specific adaptations of the sequences and expression patterns of EDC-related genes, we utilized newly available genome sequences to determine the epidermal differentiation gene complement of turtles. The EDC of the western painted turtle (Chrysemys picta bellii) comprises more than 100 genes, including at least 48 genes that encode proteins referred to as beta-keratins or corneous beta-proteins. Several EDC proteins have evolved cysteine/proline contents beyond 50% of total amino acid residues. Comparative genomics suggests that distinct subfamilies of EDC genes have been expanded and partly translocated to loci outside of the EDC in turtles. Gene expression analysis in the European pond turtle (Emys orbicularis) showed that EDC genes are differentially expressed in the skin of the various body sites and that a subset of beta-keratin genes within the EDC as well as those located outside of the EDC are expressed predominantly in the shell. Our findings give strong support to the hypothesis that the evolutionary innovation of the turtle shell involved specific molecular adaptations of epidermal differentiation.


PubMed | Vienna Zoo
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Zoo biology | Year: 2015

For the first time worldwide, fertilized eggs of ribbon eels (Rhinomuraena quaesita) hatched into feeding preleptocephali and could be kept alive for a period of seven days in the Vienna Zoo. The study reports on husbandry, behavioral observations and dimensions of eggs and preleptocephalus larvae. Furthermore, body color variations of ribbon eels in captivity do not reflect its sex or sexual maturity.

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