Animal Care Research
The close daily care we offer at Shedd helps us build one-of-a-kind insights into animal health, behavior, genetics, nutrition, pharmacology and reproduction—information that may not be accessible with wild populations. Our ability to collect data on everything from crustaceans to cetaceans improves how we care for our animals every day. It also helps advance the care and conservation of animals in human care and in the wild.
“Every time we do a wellness exam, we collect a sample, we get information about the health and welfare of the animals, and that’s extremely valuable. ”Dr. Bill Van Bonn, vice president, animal health
Science at Shedd
A steady stream of data has been collected on Pacific white-sided dolphin calves born at Shedd. With fewer than 20 Pacific white-sided dolphins in North American aquariums and zoos, the animals in Shedd’s care offer a rare window into the biology and behavior of this little-studied species.
Tiny juvenile elkhorn corals, Acropora palmata, grow on a ceramic tile like the one held at left. Shedd is part of an international team of aquariums and zoos working with Project SECORE International to develop and refine methods of raising coral larvae, with the long-range goal of spawning endangered corals in-house. Shedd is also part of an elkhorn reintroduction program in the Caribbean.
This pup is one of nearly a dozen tiger rays born at Shedd, which was the first North American zoological institution to breed this freshwater fish. Shedd has successful breeding programs for two other species, bigtooth river rays and white-blotched river rays. Our expert in Amazon animals is program leader for freshwater rays for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
Hearing and acoustics research increased the scientific community’s understanding of how belugas hear and how underwater noise from ships and marine mining might impact them.
Shedd is home to chemistry, pathology, molecular biology and DNA sequencing laboratories. Here, scientists monitor all aspects of animal habitats, even tiny microbes that are too small to see.