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2022 Research Accomplishments

A genome of one of the world’s most endangered lizard species was the first ever assembled. A new look at the mechanics of an elephant’s trunk garnered international interest. A habitat distribution map of a believed-extinct toad was the first accurate study of its kind ever published. These were just three of the research studies published by Zoo Atlanta scientists and partners in 2022.

From the relationship between old-growth trees and habitat use by poison frogs, to parasitology in North American river otters, to best practices in the management of bachelor gorilla groups in zoological settings, the 16 peer-reviewed papers published by Zoo Atlanta team members and partners throughout the year improved the world’s understanding of animal species and their care; examined the workings behind animal adaptations; informed veterinary knowledge; and explored big-picture topics in the role of 21st-century accredited zoos.

See a full list of 2022 research publications, titles, and authors here. Studies were published in prestigious periodicals including but not limited to 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 has an outstanding scientific research program, which we are proud to be able to say well predates research contributions becoming requirements for modern accredited zoos,” said Raymond B. King, President and CEO. “Not only do we exemplify superior care for animals in zoological settings and make a direct impact on the preservation of their counterparts in the wild, but our scientists and their partners are also responsible for findings that shed light on animal biology, behavior, medicine, and conservation around the world.”

Zoo Atlanta team members have been responsible for authorship or collaborations on more than 400 publications since 1978, with origins in primate behavior research – an area that has earned the Zoo international renown. In 2018, a study published in the science journal FACETS identified Zoo Atlanta as a “Top 10 Research Zoo” for its contributions to peer-reviewed research. Notably, in recent times, two of the Zoo team’s most productive years for research were 2020 and 2021 – years when the pandemic placed a halt on many other types of productivity worldwide.

Zoo Atlanta routinely joins minds with local academic partners such as the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University, as well as engages in international collaborations and work with other Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) zoos and aquariums. Zoo Atlanta’s scientific staff also hold faculty appointments at Georgia State University, Georgia Tech and the University of Georgia.

Learn more about the work of Zoo Atlanta scientists or plan a visit at zooatlanta.org.

MEDIA CONTACT:

Rachel Davis
Director of Communications
404.624.2812 – office
rdavis@zooatlanta.org

Gavin Johnson
Public Relations and Communications Specialist
404.624.5980 – office
gjohnson@zooatlanta.org

About Zoo Atlanta
A proud accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the gold standard for animal care and welfare, Zoo Atlanta has a mission to save wildlife and their habitats through conservation, research, education, and engaging experiences. The Zoo is home to more than 1,000 animals representing more than 200 species from around the world, many of them endangered or critically endangered. Highlights include giant pandas, including Ya Lun and Xi Lun, the only giant panda twins in the U.S.; one of North America’s largest zoological populations of great apes; and a global center of excellence for the care and study of reptiles and amphibians. Recent transformations include the African Savanna, featuring new and expanded habitats for African elephants, giraffes, zebras, ostriches, bontebok, warthogs, meerkats and rhinos; Savanna Hall, a state-of-the-art special event destination in the newly restored historic former home of the Atlanta Cyclorama; and the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation Plaza. For more information, visit zooatlanta.org.

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