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Dr. Chuck Knapp stands in Shedd's Oceanarium.

Chuck Knapp, Ph.D.

Vice President, Conservation Research

Charles Knapp heads a rigorous conservation research program that includes his own groundbreaking fieldwork with endangered iguanas.

Education

Ph.D., Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, University of Florida

M.Sc., Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, University of Florida

B.Sc., Zoology, Southern Illinois University

“My favorite thing about Shedd is the enthusiasm and passion of the people who work at the organization. Their love for the animals is apparent every day. I also am excited about the increased enthusiasm and organizational support for our conservation and research programs.”

Chuck Knapp oversees Shedd's conservation research programs with the goal of saving wild animals and imperiled ecosystems. His programs support Shedd’s mission to protect the aquatic animal world and inspire the public to become environmental stewards who protect aquatic life for future generations. He also oversees the crew, scheduling and budgeting for Shedd’s research vessel, the R/V Coral Reef II.

For more than two decades, Knapp has advanced conservation initiatives in the United States and abroad. Using iguanas as model organisms, his research focuses on understanding the effects of anthropogenic disturbance on endangered taxa and designing conservation strategies to prevent further population declines and habitat degradation. His work with students, citizens, government officials and scientists led to the expansion of West Side National Park in the Bahamas, a considerable achievement in the region.

Knapp began working at Shedd as an 18-year-old volunteer, and three years later he was hired as the first tide pool aquarist in the Abbott Oceanarium.  Later, as an aquarist in Shedd’s original galleries, he garnered extensive experience working with Caribbean and freshwater fish species while developing a lifelong passion for West Indian rock iguanas.

Knapp has authored more than 50 peer-reviewed journal publications and book chapters. He is co-chair of the IUCN Iguana Specialist Group, assessor of three species for the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species and a science advisor to the Bahamas National Trust. Knapp also teaches marine and island ecology of the Bahamas to college students enrolled in a Shedd-based program with the Associated Colleges of the Chicago Area (ACCA).

Knapp received his Ph.D. and M.S. in wildlife ecology and conservation at the University of Florida and was a conservation research postdoctoral fellow with the Institute for Conservation Research at the San Diego Zoo.

See Publications


Home range and intraspecific interactions of a translocated iguana population (Cyclura cychlura inornata Barbour and Noble)

Knapp, C. R. (2000). Home range and intraspecific interactions of a translocated iguana population (Cyclura cychlura inornata Barbour and Noble). Caribbean Journal of Science, 36(3/4), 250-257.

Biosecurity for humanitarian aid

van den Burg, M.P., Daltry, J.C., Angin, B., Boman, E., Brisbane, J.L.K., Collins, K., Haakonsson, J. E., Hill, A., Horrocks, J.A., Mukhida, F., Providence, F., Questel, K., Ramnanan, N., Steele, S., Vique Bosquet, I.M. & Knapp, C.R. (2021). Biosecurity for humanitarian aid. Science, 372(6542), 581-582. https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.abj0449

Status of a translocated Cyclura iguana colony in the Bahamas

Knapp, C. R. (2001). Status of a translocated Cyclura iguana colony in the Bahamas. Journal of Herpetology, 35(2), 239-248. https://doi.org/10.2307/1566114

The global need to address threats from invasive alien iguanas

Knapp, C. R., Grant, T. D., Pasachnik, S. A., Angin, B., Boman, E., Brisbane, J., Buckner, S. D., Haakonsson, J. E., Harlow, P. S., Mukhida, F., Thomas-Moko, N., van den Burg, M. P., & Wasilewski, J. A. (In press). The global need to address threats from invasive alien iguanas. Animal Conservation. https://doi.org/10.1111/acv.12660

Post-hurricane relief facilitates invasion and establishment of two invasive alien vertebrate species in the Commonwealth of Dominica, West Indies

Van den Burg, M. P., Brisbane, J. L., & Knapp, C. R. (2020). Post-hurricane relief facilitates invasion and establishment of two invasive alien vertebrate species in the Commonwealth of Dominica, West Indies. Biological Invasions, 22(2), 195–203. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-019-02107-5

Great Lakes Fish Finder App; a tool for biologists, managers and education practitioners

Happel A., Murchie, K. J., Willink, P. W., & Knapp, C. R. (2020). Great Lakes Fish Finder App; a tool for biologists, managers and education practitioners. Journal of Great Lakes Research, 46(1), 230–236. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jglr.2019.12.002

Globally important islands where eradicating invasive mammals will benefit highly threatened vertebrates

Holmes, N. D., Spatz, D. R., Oppel, S., Tershy, B., Croll, D. A., Keitt, B., Knapp, C. R., ... & Wegmann, A. (2019). Globally important islands where eradicating invasive mammals will benefit highly threatened vertebrates. PloS One, 14(3). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0212128.

The complete mitochondrial genome of the critically endangered Lesser Antillean iguana (Iguana delicatissima; Squamata: Iguanidae)

Miller, A. H., C. Jackson, A., van den Burg, M. P., Knapp, C. R., Welch, M. E., & Reynolds, R. G. (2019). The complete mitochondrial genome of the critically endangered Lesser Antillean iguana (Iguana delicatissima; Squamata: Iguanidae). Mitochondrial DNA Part B, 4(2), 2479–2481. https://doi.org/10.1080/23802359.2019.1637789

Host sex, size, and hemoparasite infection influence the effects of ectoparasitic burdens on free‐ranging iguanas

Knapp, C. R., Perez‐Heydrich, C., Zachariah, T. T., Jollay, J., Schnelle, A. N., Buckner, S. D., ... & Romero, L. M. (2019). Host sex, size, and hemoparasite infection influence the effects of ectoparasitic burdens on free‐ranging iguanas. Ecology and Evolution, 9(4), 1946–1956. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.4887 

Cyclura cychlura figginsi (Exuma Rock Iguana)

Iverson, J. B., Francois, K., Jollay, J., Buckner, S. D., & Knapp, C. R. (2017). Cyclura cychlura figginsi (Exuma Rock Iguana). Allogrooming. Herpetological Review, 48(1), 188. https://ssarherps.org/herpetological-review-pdfs/

Iguanas: Biology, Systematics, and Conservation

Iverson, J.B., Grant, T. D., Knapp, C. R. & Pasachnik, S. A. (Eds.). (2016). Iguanas: Biology, Systematics, and Conservation. Herpetological Conservation and Biology, 11 (Monograph 6). http://www.herpconbio.org/contents_vol11_Monograph6.html

Movements and nesting of the Lesser Antillean Iguana (Iguana delicatissima) from Dominica, West Indies: implications for conservation

Knapp, C. R., Prince, L., & James, A. (2016). Movements and nesting of the Lesser Antillean Iguana (Iguana delicatissima) from Dominica, West Indies: implications for conservation. Herpetological Conservation and Biology, 11(6),154–167. http://www.herpconbio.org/Volume_11/Monograph_6/11-Knapp_etal_2016.pdf

Influence of morphological, chemical and physical leaf traits on food selection of a herbivorous iguana from The Bahamas

Knapp, C. R., & Alvarez-Clare, S. (2016). Influence of morphological, chemical and physical leaf traits on food selection of a herbivorous iguana from The Bahamas. Journal of Tropical Ecology, 32(1), 75-78. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0266467415000590

Reptile-associated ticks from Dominica and The Bahamas with notes on hyperparasitic erythraeid mites

Durden, L. A., Knapp, C. R., Beati, L., & Dold, S. (2015). Reptile-associated ticks from Dominica and The Bahamas with notes on hyperparasitic erythraeid mites. Journal of Parasitology, 101(1), 24-27. https://doi.org/10.1645/14-602.1

Using non-conspicuous metrics to examine selected impacts of disturbance on a long-lived reptile

Knapp, C. R., & Perez-Heydrich, C. (2012). Using non-conspicuous metrics to examine selected impacts of disturbance on a long-lived reptile. Endangered Species Research, 17(3), 193-200. https://doi.org/10.3354/esr00424

Nesting behavior and the use of termitaria by the Andros Iguana (Cyclura cychlura cychlura)

Knapp, C. R., & Owens, A. K. (2008). Nesting behavior and the use of termitaria by the Andros Iguana (Cyclura cychlura cychlura). Journal of Herpetology, 42(1), 46-53. https://doi.org/10.1670/07-098.1

Translocation strategies as a conservation tool for West Indian iguanas: Evaluations and recommendations

Knapp C. R., and R. D. Hudson. 2004. Translocation strategies as a conservation tool for West Indian iguanas: Evaluations and recommendations. Pages 199-209 In Alberts, A. C., Carter, R. L., Hayes, W. K., & Martins, E. P. (Eds.). Iguanas: Biology and Conservation (pp. 199-209). University of California Press.

Inferred vs realized patterns of gene flow: an analysis of population structure in the Andros Island Rock Iguana

Colosimo, G., Knapp, C. R., Wallace, L. E., & Welch, M. E. (2014). Inferred vs realized patterns of gene flow: an analysis of population structure in the Andros Island Rock Iguana. PloS One, 9(9), e106963. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0106963

Conservation of amphibians and reptiles in The Bahamas

Knapp, C. R., Iverson, J. B., Buckner, S. D., & Cant, S. V. (2011). Conservation of amphibians and reptiles in The Bahamas. In A. Hailey, B. S. Wilson, and J. Horrocks, eds. Conservation of Caribbean island herpetofaunas: Regional accounts of the West Indies (Vol. 2) (pp. 53-87). Brill Academic Publishers.

Cyclura cychlura figginsi (Exuma Island Rock Iguana). Rodent kill.

Luther, B., Knapp, C. R., Greene, D. U., Buckner, S. D., & Iverson, J. B. (2012). Cyclura cychlura figginsi (Exuma Island Rock Iguana). Rodent kill. Herpetological Review, 43(3), 483. https://ssarherps.org/herpetological-review-pdfs/

Do invasive rodents impact endangered insular iguana populations?

Hayes, W. K., Iverson, J. B., Knapp, C. R., & Carter, R. L. (2012). Do invasive rodents impact endangered insular iguana populations?. Biodiversity and Conservation, 21(7), 1893-1899. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10531-012-0276-4

Iguana delicatissima. Ectoparasitism.

Knapp, C. R., Durden, L. A., & Klompen, H. (2012). Iguana delicatissima. Ectoparasitism. Herpetological Review, 48(1), 134. https://ssarherps.org/herpetological-review-pdfs/

Staying high and dry: a unique nesting strategy for an insular iguana

Knapp, C. R. (2015). Staying high and dry: a unique nesting strategy for an insular iguana. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 13(2), 114–115. https://doi.org/10.1890/1540-9295-13.2.114

Reptile-associated ticks from Dominica and The Bahamas with notes on hyperparasitic erythraeid mites

Durden, L. A., Knapp, C. R., Beati, L., & Dold, S. (2015). Reptile-associated ticks from Dominica and The Bahamas with notes on hyperparasitic erythraeid mites. Journal of Parasitology, 101(1), 24-27. https://doi.org/10.1645/14-602.1

Lesser Antillean Iguana, Iguana delicatissima: Conservation Action Plan, 2014–2016

Knapp, C., Breuil, M., Rodriques, C., & Iverson, J. (Eds.). (2014). Lesser Antillean Iguana, Iguana delicatissima: Conservation Action Plan, 2014–2016. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN SSC Iguana Specialist Group. https://portals.iucn.org/library/sites/library/files/documents/2014-057.pdf

Genetic consequences of Pleistocene fragmentation: isolation, drift, and loss of diversity in rock iguanas (Cyclura)

Malone, C. L., Knapp, C. R., Taylor, J. F., & Davis, S. K. (2003). Genetic consequences of Pleistocene fragmentation: isolation, drift, and loss of diversity in rock iguanas (Cyclura). Conservation Genetics, 4(1), 1-15. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1021885323539

Andros iguana conservation action plan, 2005–2011

Knapp, C. R., and L. Pagni (Eds.). 2011. Andros iguana conservation action plan, 2005–2011. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN/SSC Iguana Specialist Group. https://portals.iucn.org/library/node/10022

The influence of landscape heterogeneity and dispersal on survival of neonate insular iguanas

Knapp, C. R., Alvarez-Clare, S., & Perez-Heydrich, C. (2010). The influence of landscape heterogeneity and dispersal on survival of neonate insular iguanas. Copeia, 2010(1), 62-70. https://doi.org/10.1643/CE-09-014

Effects of radio transmitter burdening on locomotor ability and survival of iguana hatchlings

Knapp, C. R., & Abarca, J. G. (2009). Effects of radio transmitter burdening on locomotor ability and survival of iguana hatchlings. Herpetologica, 65(4), 363-372. https://doi.org/10.1655/09-003.1

Review of radio transmitter attachment methods for West Indian rock iguanas (genus Cyclura)

Goodman, R. M., Knapp, C. R., Bradley, K.A., Gerber, G. P., & Alberts, A. C. (2009). Review of radio transmitter attachment methods for West Indian rock iguanas (genus Cyclura). Applied Herpetology, 6(2), 151-170. https://doi.org/10.1163/157075408X386169

Status of a translocated Cyclura iguana colony in the Bahamas

Knapp, C. R. (2001). Status of a translocated Cyclura iguana colony in the Bahamas. Journal of Herpetology, 35(2), 239-248. https://doi.org/10.2307/1566114

Ticks parasitizing reptiles in the Bahamas

Durden, L. A., & Knapp, C. R. (2005). Ticks parasitizing reptiles in the Bahamas. Medical and veterinary entomology, 19(3), 326-328. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2915.2005.00567.x

An effective new radio transmitter attachment technique for lizards

Knapp, C. R., & Owens, A. K. (2005). An effective new radio transmitter attachment technique for lizards. Herpetological Review, 36(3), 264-265. https://ssarherps.org/herpetological-review-pdfs/

Ecotourism and its potential impacts on iguana conservation in the Caribbean

Knapp, C. R. (2004). Ecotourism and its potential impacts on iguana conservation in the Caribbean. In Alberts, A. C., Carter, R. L., Hayes, W. K., & Martins, E. P. (Eds.). Iguanas: Biology and Conservation (pp. 290-301). University of California Press.

Home range and intraspecific interactions of a translocated iguana population (Cyclura cychlura inornata Barbour and Noble)

Knapp, C. R. (2000). Home range and intraspecific interactions of a translocated iguana population (Cyclura cychlura inornata Barbour and Noble). Caribbean Journal of Science, 36(3/4), 250-257.

Geographic variation in nesting behavior and reproductive biology of an insular iguana (Cyclura cychlura)

Knapp, C. R., Iverson, J. B., & Owens, A. K. (2006). Geographic variation in nesting behavior and reproductive biology of an insular iguana (Cyclura cychlura). Canadian Journal of Zoology, 84(11), 1566-1575. https://doi.org/10.1139/z06-157

Iguanidae or Iguaninae? A taxonomic summary and literature-use analysis

Knapp, C. R., and P. Gomez-Zlatar. 2006. Iguanidae or Iguaninae? A taxonomic summary and literature-use analysis. Herpetological Review, 37(1), 29-34. https://ssarherps.org/herpetological-review-pdfs/

Home range and habitat associations of a Bahamian iguana: implications for conservation

Knapp, C. R., & Owens, A. K. (2005). Home range and habitat associations of a Bahamian iguana: implications for conservation. Animal Conservation, 8(3), 269-278. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1367943005002222

Diurnal refugia and novel ecological attributes of the Bahamian Boa, Epicrates striatus fowleri (Boidae)

Knapp, C. R., & Owens, A. K. (2004). Diurnal refugia and novel ecological attributes of the Bahamian Boa, Epicrates striatus fowleri (Boidae). Caribbean Journal of Science, 40(2), 265-269.

Energetic investment associated with vitellogenesis induces an oxidative cost of reproduction

Webb, A. C., Iverson, J. B., Knapp, C. R., DeNardo, D. F., & French, S. S. (2019). Energetic investment associated with vitellogenesis induces an oxidative cost of reproduction. Journal of Animal Ecology, 88(3), 461–472. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2656.12936

Evaluating the role of temperature in the reproduction of the yellow stingray (Urobatis jamaicensis)

Lesniak, T. C., Schirmer, A. E., & Knapp, C. R. (2015). Evaluating the role of temperature in the reproduction of the yellow stingray (Urobatis jamaicensis). Zoo Biology, 34(1), 33-39. https://doi.org/10.1002/zoo.21188

Nassau grouper migration patterns during full moon suggest collapsed historic fish spawning aggregation and evidence of an undocumented aggregation

Stump, K., Dahlgren, C. P., Sherman, K. D., & Knapp, C. R. (2017). Nassau grouper migration patterns during full moon suggest collapsed historic fish spawning aggregation and evidence of an undocumented aggregation. Bulletin of Marine Science, 93(2), 375-389. https://doi.org/10.5343/bms.2016.1042

Phylogeography of the Endangered Lesser Antillean Iguana, Iguana delicatissima: A Recent Diaspora in an Archipelago Known for Ancient Herpetological Endemism

Martin, J. L., Knapp, C. R., Gerber, G. P., Thorpe, R. S., & Welch, M. E. (2015). Phylogeography of the Endangered Lesser Antillean Iguana, Iguana delicatissima: A Recent Diaspora in an Archipelago Known for Ancient Herpetological Endemism. Journal of Heredity, 106(3), 315–321. https://doi.org/10.1093/jhered/esv004

Patterns of reproductive success and genetic variability in a translocated iguana population

Knapp, C. R., & Malone, C. L. (2003). Patterns of reproductive success and genetic variability in a translocated iguana population. Herpetologica, 59(2), 195-202. https://doi.org/10.1655/0018-0831(2003)059[0195:PORSAG]2.0.CO;2

Complex tourism and season interactions contribute to disparate physiologies in an endangered rock iguana.

French, S.S., Webb, A.C., Wilcoxen, T.E., Iverson, J.B., DeNardo, D.F., Lewis, E.L., & Knapp, C.R. (2022). Complex tourism and season interactions contribute to disparate physiologies in an endangered rock iguana. Conservation Physiology, 10(1), coac001. https://doi.org/10.1093/conphys/coac001

Útila spiny-tailed iguana (Ctenosaura bakeri): Conservation Action Plan 2020–2025.

Maryon, D., Pasachnik, S.A., Knapp, C.R., Brown, T.W., & Grant, T.D. (eds.). (2021). Útila spiny-tailed iguana (Ctenosaura bakeri): Conservation Action Plan 2020–2025. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN. ISBN: 978-2-8317-2144-6

From pets to threats: Invasive iguanas and other species cause significant harm to native iguanas.

Perry, G., Knapp, C.R., Grant, T.D., Pasachnik, S.A. & Coman, I. (2021). From pets to threats: Invasive iguanas and other species cause significant harm to native iguanas. Reptiles & Amphibians, 28, 213-217. https://doi.org/10.17161/randa.v28i2.15644

The global need to address threats from invasive alien iguanas.

Knapp, C.R., Grant, T.D., Pasachnik, S.A., Angin, B., Boman, E., Brisbane, J., Buckner, S.D., Haakonsson, J.E., Harlow, P.S., Mukhida, F., Thomas-Moko, N., van den Burg, M.P., & Wasilewski, J.A. (2021). The global need to address threats from invasive alien iguanas. Animal Conservation, 24, 717-719. https://doi.org/10.1111/acv.12660

Correlated population genetic structure in a three-tiered host-parasite system: the potential for coevolution and adaptive divergence.

Colosimo, G., Jackson, A.C., Harper, A., Varela-Stokes, A., Iverson, J., Knapp, C.R. & Welch, M.W. (2021). Correlated population genetic structure in a three-tiered host-parasite system: the potential for coevolution and adaptive divergence. Journal of Heredity, 112, 590-601. https://doi.org/10.1093/jhered/esab058

Varied response of garden eels to potential predators and other large-bodied organisms

Kessel, S.T., Hinojosa, N.A., Wilson, H., Clementi, G., & Knapp, C.R. (2018). Varied response of garden eels to potential predators and other large-bodied organisms. Matters, 4(7), e201806000024. https://doi.org/10.19185/matters.201806000024

Iguana iguana

Bock, B., Malone, CL, Knapp, C., Aparicio, J., Avila-Pires, T.C.S., Cacciali, P., Caicedo, J.R., Chaves, G., Cisneros-Heredia, D.F., Gutiérrez-Cárdenas, P., Lamar, W., Moravec, J., Perez, P., Porras, L.W., Rivas, G., Scott, N., Solórzano, A. & Sunyer, J. (2018). Iguana iguana. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018. IUCN. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2018-1.RLTS.T174481A1414646.en

Iguana delicatissima

van den Burg, M., Breuil, M. & Knapp, C. (2018). Iguana delicatissima. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018: e.T10800A122936983. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2018-1.RLTS.T10800A122936983.en

Beyond the walls: Applied field research for the twenty-first-century public aquarium and zoo

Knapp, C.R. (2018). Beyond the walls: Applied field research for the twenty-first-century public aquarium and zoo. In B. Minteer, J. Maienschein, & J. P. Collins (Eds.), The Ark and Beyond: The Evolution of Zoo and Aquarium Conservation (pp. 286-297). University of Chicago Press.

Physiological effects of tourism and associated food provisioning in an endangered iguana.

Knapp, C.R., Hines, K.N., Zachariah, T.T., Perez-Heydrich, C., Iverson, J.B., Buckner, S.D., ... & Romero, L.M. (2013). Physiological effects of tourism and associated food provisioning in an endangered iguana. Conservation Physiology, 1(1). https://doi.org/10.1093/conphys/cot032