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"Research is formalized curiosity."

— Zora Neale Hurston

Research is an integral part of our mission at Zoo Atlanta. Research helps us better understand and provide stewardship for the animals in our care, and it provides us with valuable insights that enable us to protect their counterparts in the wild. Our basic research also contributes to our knowledge of life on Earth. Scientists at Zoo Atlanta lead research efforts involving animals housed here at the Zoo as well as animals in the wild. Our scientists collaborate with scientists around the world. The Zoo’s scientific staff hold faculty appointments at Georgia State University, Georgia Tech, and the University of Georgia. The results of our research have been published in such journals as ScienceBehaviour, Conservation Biology, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, as well as featured by media such as National GeographicWired, and The New York Times.

Topics explored by our staff scientists include management of small populations of endangered species both in zoos and in the wild; many aspects of animal behavior and cognition; reproductive physiology; animal health and well-being; biomechanics; and biodiversity studies. Zoo Atlanta is the headquarters of the Great Ape Heart Project and the hosting institution and partner of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International.


Reptile and amphibian research

Zoo Atlanta has a productive history of herpetological research, with insights based on our own diverse population of reptiles and amphibians as well as field sites around the world. 

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Giant panda research

Take a look into our studies on giant panda maternal behavior and giant panda visual discrimination. 

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Zoo Atlanta’s research publications

Check out our most recent list of publications (PDF).

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research News

Do turtles play?

Hi Everyone! It’s Dr. Joe Mendelson, the Director of Research here at Zoo Atlanta, and today we’re talking about some...
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Welfare Research Applied

Over this past year, some of our blog topics have discussed how we conduct research, how data can provide insight...
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Who are you calling a turkey?

Thanksgiving means many things to many people, but the core of the holiday is a big meal shared with family...
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How Do Giraffes Sleep?

Did you know that of all land mammals, giraffes are among the species requiring the least sleep? As a prey...
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