Zoo Atlanta’s scientists and partners made significant strides in advancing the world’s understanding of animal biology, behavior, medicine, and conservation in 2022. With 16 peer-reviewed papers published throughout the year in prestigious periodicals such as Zoo Biology, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (U.S.), Applied Animal Behaviour Science, Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine, and Conservation Genetics, Zoo Atlanta’s research program once again demonstrated its commitment to superior care for animals and its impact on the preservation of species in the wild.
One of the highlights of the year was the assembly of the first-ever genome of one of the world’s most endangered lizard species. Another noteworthy study examined the mechanics of an elephant’s trunk and gained international attention. A habitat distribution map of a believed-extinct toad was also published, representing the first accurate study of its kind.
Zoo Atlanta’s research program, which well predates the requirement for research contributions from modern accredited zoos, has been responsible for over 400 publications since 1978. The team’s expertise in primate behavior has earned them international recognition, with a 2018 study identifying Zoo Atlanta as a “Top 10 Research Zoo” for its contributions to peer-reviewed research. Despite the global pandemic, 2020 and 2021 proved to be two of the most productive years for research at Zoo Atlanta.
In addition to its local partnerships with academic institutions such as the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University, Zoo Atlanta also engages in international collaborations with other Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) zoos and aquariums. Zoo Atlanta’s scientific staff holds faculty appointments at Georgia State University, Georgia Tech, and the University of Georgia, enabling them to continue to expand their knowledge and share it with others.
“We are proud of the outstanding scientific research program at Zoo Atlanta, and the impact our team and partners have made on the world’s understanding of animal species and their care,” said Raymond B. King, President and CEO of Zoo Atlanta. “Our findings have the potential to shed light on important topics in animal biology, behavior, medicine, and conservation, and we will continue to work tirelessly to further our knowledge and contribute to the advancement of these fields.”
To learn more about the groundbreaking research accomplishments of Zoo Atlanta in 2022, and to plan a visit to the zoo, visit zooatlanta.org.