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Allen LaPointe stands in the microbiome lab at Shedd.

Allen LaPointe

Vice President, Environmental Quality

Water-quality expert Allen LaPointe is responsible for replicating the native environmental conditions for each animal at Shedd.


MBA, University of Phoenix
B.S., aquatic zoology, Southern Illinois University


Hunting, fishing and a regular opera patron

An expert in environmental quality and water resources, Allen La Pointe is responsible for maintaining and monitoring the environmental quality in all of Shedd’s animal habitats. As part of Shedd’s world-class animal care team, La Pointe and his staff of water-quality specialists work to replicate the precise conditions of each animal’s home in the wild.

La Pointe began his career at Shedd in 1997 as the aquarium’s chemist. Since then, he has played an integral role in the development of life-support systems and environments for Caribbean Reef, Amazon Rising, Wild Reef and the Abbott Oceanarium. As a member of Shedd’s Sustainability Steering Committee, La Pointe is responsible for approving the use of every chemical at the aquarium and has reduced chemical use in the environmental quality laboratory by 60 percent through the strategic purchase of an ion chromatograph.

La Pointe is researching water quality in region 9 of Guyana, South America. His work in Guyana is part of a larger project to conduct rapid fish assessments on the Rupununi and Rewa River systems. Likewise, La Pointe is working on water-quality conditions in relation to arapaima migration patterns in the same region. Arapaima are the largest scaled freshwater fishes in the world and are endangered in most of their historic range.

La Pointe is an appointed member of the Lt. Governor’s Illinois River Coordinating Council, which coordinates initiatives, projects and funding to promote the ecological health of the Illinois River and its tributaries by addressing the issues identified in the Integrated Management Plan for the Illinois River Watershed. He is also a member of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Great Chicago’s Blue Ribbon Panel for user charges and serves on the Aquality board of directors.

La Pointe received his Bachelor of Science degree in aquatic zoology at Southern Illinois University and an MBA at the University of Phoenix. In his spare time, he is an avid hunter, fisherman and opera patron.

Drivers of Microbial Community Dynamics in a Managed Artificial Seawater System.

Christian F. Edwardson, Frank Oliaro, Allen La Pointe, William Van Bonn, Angela Kent. American Society of Limnology and Oceanography, Annual Conference 2018, abstract accepted 2017.

Aquarium Microbiome Response to Ninety-Percent System Water Change: Clues to Microbiome Management

Van Bonn, W., LaPointe, A., Gibbons, S., Frazier, A., Hampton-Marcell, J., Gilbert, J. (2015). Aquarium Microbiome Response to Ninety-Percent System Water Change: Clues to Microbiome Management. Zoo Biology 34: 360-367