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“Watching him grow right before our eyes and learn how to dive, vocalize and interact with enrichment was so gratifying after hearing and seeing what he went through. ”

Rochelle Pepper, Senior Animal Care Specialist
Shedd veterinarian Doctor Matt O'Connor gently touches the back of a caiman lizard's neck to encourage it to open its mouth for a tongue depressor.

Committed to care 

From belugas to blue tangs, our caregivers provide preventive care and engaging play to animals throughout the aquarium. 

Dive into Care

Shedd’s Animal Response Team assists SANCCOB to release rescued penguin chicks.

Animal Response Team 

From stranded sea lion pups in California to trafficked tortoises in Madagascar, our experts are ready to help animals in need. 

Meet the Rescues

“We have research scientists both on site and around the globe advancing our understanding and protecting the natural world.”

Bridget Coughlin, Ph.D., President and CEO
The R/V Coral Reef II, Shedd's research vessel, is a floating research laboratory station in the Bahamas.
A diver reaches for a conch on the bottom of the ocean.


In the field and at the aquarium, Shedd scientists conduct research to better understand animals and their habitats. From the Great Lakes to the Caribbean, they work with partners to protect species from suckers to sharks.

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A sea star found by Shedd researchers in the Bahamas sits on the sandy ocean floor with a plastic chips bag stuck to its rough body.

Take action 

From pledging to reduce plastic pollution to cleaning local waterways, there are many ways you can help to protect aquatic animals and their habitats!

Explore How You Can Help

An Illinois leader at a microbeads plastic event signs a pledge to reduce his use of single-waste plastics.

Shaping policies to protect animals

Shedd’s policy and advocacy work harnesses the power of voices and votes to inspire decision makers to act to ensure healthy waterways.

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Conservation Priorities

  • Plastics litter the cracks in a rocky beach in the Bahamas.

    Reduce plastic pollution

    While performing beach cleanups and reducing our own plastic footprint, we encourage others to reduce dependency on single-use plastics, suggest alternative solutions and champion policies to reduce plastic at the source

  • Rainbow trout have a long, stocky bodies and can grow to lengths of 6 to 16 inches.

    Sustain global fisheries and inform consumer choice

    Shedd Aquarium is addressing the challenges of declining fisheries by working with partners to advance sustainable fisheries through science and promote informed management through policy and engagement. 

  • A woman works with a ranger on habitat restoration, planting native plants in Indiana Dunes.

    Revitalize natural habitats altered by human impacts

    We are investigating the consequences of human activities such as man-made barriers to fish migrations, invasive species and tourist-related wildlife feeding, while creating solutions that blunt their impacts.

  • Lamprey are snake-like invasive fish with round, suction-cup like mouths that latch on and rasp at their prey with many small, hooked teeth.

    Understand and restrain invasive species

    We embrace the challenges of mitigating threats by invasive species and engage the public to join us through community science and stewardship opportunities that restore habitat and hone best practices.

  • Corals look like plants with their repeating "branches", but are in fact made up of many smaller animals living symbiotically.

    Address wildlife responses to climate change

    We are enhancing our understanding of the likely responses of animals to climate change to adjust management programs when appropriate, while also creating and testing innovative mitigation strategies.

  • Two young participants in Shedd's Summer Road Trip look through binoculars at something in the woods.

    Connect people to nature

    We provide opportunities for people to get their feet wet and hands dirty in a variety of long- and short-term community science opportunities like monitoring fish migrationsrestoring local habitats and tagging sharks.