For its research activities the CRC research team works in three research themes: Applied Conservation, Applied Animal Welfare and Basic Zoological Research. These three themes cover a broad range of research topics, capitalising on the Zoological Society's research facilities and the CRC research expertise in veterinary medicine; animal behaviour and welfare; conservation genetics; functional morphology and biomechanics, and primate ecology.
Applied Conservation research is closely linked to dealing with intensively managed populations, either in zoos, or in conservation breeding or reintroduction programmes. The majority of the CRC’s research projects focus on factors that influence the demographic and genetic structure of a zoo population, like mate choice, adaptation to captivity, selection processes, effects of inbreeding and outbreeding etc. Detailed genetic analyses in our in-house laboratory facilities complement the conservation breeding programs that are managed by the RZSA and help support studbook analyses performed by the CRC.
Applied Animal Behaviour & Welfare
The Applied Animal Welfare research theme deals with issues related to the practical day- to-day management of zoo animals, such as animal health, senescence, the effects of captivity on behaviour and anatomy, animal husbandry, and reproduction of zoo animals. Many of the projects use a scientific approach to study and understand animal behaviour, with the ultimate goal to allow adequate management of zoo populations, and to guarantee a species-specific behavioural repertoire in captivity. In addition, veterinary research is aimed at ensuring healthy animals collections through evidence based research projects.
The living collections and research facilities at the RZSA provide unique opportunities for scientific research. Apart from applied conservation and animal welfare research, the CRC aims to optimally use these resources and its research expertise to contribute to the advancement of basic zoological and veterinary knowledge. This research theme accommodates basic research projects for which the CRC research expertise and resources are specifically sought after and which are typically performed in close collaboration with universities and research institutes globally.
Detailed project descriptions and publications are available on the FRIS (Flanders Research Information Space) Research Portal or download the annual CRC Science Reviews below