The KnowWolf project aims to identify and overcome possible obstacles to knowledge transfer among adults. Such obstacles can originate, for example, in societal conflicts (1, 2) or in the emotional societal and media discourse of the wolf topic (3–5).


The Leibniz-Association-funded KnowWolf project is jointly carried out by Senckenberg – Leibniz Institution for Biodiversity and Earth System Research – and the Leibniz Institut für Wissensmedien. Through online surveys among adults, we first investigate which factors shape individual knowledge levels and knowledge acquisition, but also feelings of fear, threat or joy, and the perception of risks and benefits regarding wolves. In two completed surveys, we observed that participants with a lower level of factual knowledge about wolves perceived the risks associated with this species to be higher and the benefits to be lower than those with a higher knowledge level. Furthermore, knowledge levels after reading an information text about wolves was higher among participants with positive emotions towards wolves compared to participants with negative emotions. A second study, however, failed to confirm our assumption that knowledge transfer is more effective when the information text is framed to reflect one’s own emotions (i.e., when people when negative emotions get a text containing more words with negative connotations, and people with positive emotions get a text containing more words with positive connotations). Thus, for now it remains unclear how emotional barriers can be overcome when communicating knowledge about wolves. Further studies are currently in the data analysis and planning phase, respectively.


The four different modules of the KnowWolf app for adaptive knowledge transfer. Arrows indicate the flow of information.

The insights of those studies are to be incorporated into an interactive, digital application for knowledge transfer. This application encompasses a quiz and an information module that facilitate societal access to current scientific knowledge about wolves. Additionally, there will be a survey module querying individual attitudes and perceptions regarding wolves, and feeds the collected data into a fourth module (see illustration). In this latter group comparison module, users get an insight into how their own data (e.g., knowledge level, attitude towards wolves, risk perception) relate to that of previous participants.

Moreover, the data of previous users can be grouped based on various criteria (e.g., experiences with wolves, wildlife value orientations), so that differences and similarities between groups can be intuitively displayed. Users can choose which of the available criteria should be applied for the grouping, and may thus independently explore the data set and draw their own conclusions. The application is planned to be available as a browser-based and installable version, but also on media stations in selected public places from spring 2022 onwards.

Contact Person

Dr. Lisa Lehnen
PostDoc, Member of Research Group 'Movement Ecology'

My main research interests are human relationships with, and the conservation of nature in general and wildlife in particular. For my PhD at Greifswald University, I investigated genetic aspects of lesser horseshoe bat recolonization in Central Germany. During the associated fieldwork and interaction with roost managers and other stakeholders, I discovered my interest for the human dimensions of wildlife conservation. As a postdoc at the Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre, I am currently implementing two projects addressing socio-psychological aspects of wolf conservation, with a strong focus on the role of factual knowledge. (You are invited to test your own knowledge about wolves in my Leibniz quiz.) Inspired by this work and my integrative nature education training (Wildnispädagogik), I have also developed a keen interest in human-nature relationships in general and their ramifications for nature conservation and people’s quality of life.  

Peer-reviewed publications 

Lehnen, L., Arbieu, U., Böhning-Gaese, K., Díaz, S., Glikman, J.A., Mueller, T. (2022). Rethinking individual relationships with entities of nature. People and Nature, 3(7). 

Lehnen, L., Mueller, T., Reinhardt, I., Kaczensky, P., & Arbieu, U. (2021). Gesellschaftliche Einstellungen zur Rückkehr des Wolfs nach Deutschland. Natur und Landschaft, Schwerpunktausgabe: Luchs und Wolf zurück in Deutschland, 27–33. 

de Boon, A., Sandström, C., Arbieu, U., Hansen, I., Lehnen, L., Marino, A., Pohja-Mykrä, M., Risvoll, C., Strand, G.-H., & Rønningen, K. (2021). Governing dual objectives within single policy mixes: An empirical analysis of large carnivore policies in six European countries. Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning, 23(4), 399–413. 

Lehnen, L.*, Jan, P.-L., Besnard, A.-L., Fourcy, D., Kerth, G., Biedermann, M., Nyssen, P., Schorcht, W., Petit, E. J., & Puechmaille, S. J. (2021). Genetic diversity in a long-lived mammal is explained by the past’s demographic shadow and current connectivity. Molecular Ecology, 30(20), 5048–5063. (*Lehnen & Jan equally contributed to this work as first authors. Petit & Puechmaille equally contributed as senior authors.) 

Jan, P.-L., Lehnen, L.*, Besnard, A.-L., Kerth, G., Biedermann, M., Schorcht, W., Petit, E. J., Le Gouar, P., Puechmaille, S. J. (2019). Range expansion is associated with increased survival and fecundity in a long-lived bat species. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 286(1906), 20190384. (Lehnen & Jan equally contributed to this work as first authors. Petit, Le Gouar, and Puechmaille equally contributed as senior authors.) 

Lehnen, L., Schorcht, W., Karst, I., Biedermann, M., Kerth, G., & Puechmaille, S. J. (2018). Using Approximate Bayesian Computation to infer sex ratios from acoustic data. PLOS ONE, 13(6), e0199428. 

Zarzoso‐Lacoste, D.*, Jan, P., Lehnen, L., Girard, T., Besnard, A., Puechmaille, S. J., & Petit, E. J. (2018). Combining noninvasive genetics and a new mammalian sex‐linked marker provides new tools to investigate population size, structure and individual behaviour: An application to bats. Molecular Ecology Resources, 18(2), 217–228. (*Zarzoso-Lacoste & Jan equally contributed to this work as first authors.) 


1. K. Hurst, M. J. Stern, R. B. Hull, D. Axsom, Conserv Biol. 34, 572–580 (2020).

2. K. Skogen, O. Krange, Sociol Ruralis. 43, 309–325 (2003).

3. M. Chandelier, A. Steuckardt, R. Mathevet, S. Diwersy, O. Gimenez, Biological Conservation. 220, 254–261 (2018).

4. A. K. Killion, T. Melvin, E. Lindquist, N. H. Carter, Conservation Biology. 33, 645–654 (2019).

5. U. Arbieu et al., Environmental Research Letters. 16, 064075 (2021).