Sigma Xi Lecture: Chuck Knapp – The role of Aquariums and Zoos in Field Conservation

Chuck Knapp, vice president of conservation and research at the Shedd Aquarium, will deliver the fall 2012 IIT Sigma Xi Lecture, “The role of Aquariums and Zoos in Field Conservation,” at 3:50 pm on Tuesday, October 9 in Life Sciences, room 111.

The role of public aquariums and zoos in field conservation is becoming increasingly important as biodiversity continues to decline through habitat loss and degradation, over-exploitation, spread of non-native species, and novel diseases. For aquariums and zoos to remain relevant deep into the 21st century, we must be deeply engaged in a variety of conservation-related activities including field research. At Shedd Aquarium, we are active in field conservation research ultimately in order to save wild species, demonstrate our commitment to the living world, and inspire the public to act and protect aquatic life for future generations. Examples of field activities will be presented along with their positive outcomes.

Chuck Knapp
As vice president of conservation and research at Shedd Aquarium, Chuck Knapp is responsible for managing research conducted within the collection, as well as overseeing global conservation and research initiatives. Chuck began his career as an aquarist where he garnered extensive experience working with Caribbean and freshwater fish species under ex-situ conditions. He has almost 20 years’ experience working with iguanas and conservation initiatives in the Caribbean. Using iguanas as model organisms, his research focuses primarily on understanding the effects of anthropogenic disturbance on endangered taxa, and designing conservation strategies to prevent further population declines and habitat degradation. His recent research interests include assessing the biodiversity of South American freshwater ecosystems and monitoring non-native aquatic species in northeastern Illinois.

Chuck has over 20 peer-reviewed journal publications and book chapters along with over 40 technical and general publications. Chuck has served as the assessor of two species to the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species, is a steering committee member for the IUCN Iguana Specialist Group, sits on the Board of Directors for the International Iguana Foundation, and is a science advisor to the Bahamas National Trust. Chuck holds a B.S. in Zoology from Southern Illinois University, a M.S. and Ph.D. in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation from the University of Florida, and was a Conservation Research Postdoctoral Fellow with the Institute for Conservation Research at the San Diego Zoo.