blacktip reef

Research Efforts

Animal Science and Welfare Research

The National Aquarium is committed to conducting and supporting research that’s relevant to the health and well-being of the animals in its care, as well as that of wild populations and their habitats.


Horseshoe Crab Health Assessment

Description:
The National Aquarium Animal Health team is developing diagnostic techniques to monitor the health of horseshoe crabs, an ecologically important species.

Researchers

Leigh A. Clayton, DVM, DABVP (Avian & Reptile/Amphibian), National Aquarium

Catherine Hadfield, MA, VetMB, MRCVS, Dipl ECZM, Dipl ACZM, National Aquarium

Jill Arnold, MS, CLS (ASCP)CM National Aquarium

Pilar J. Nelson, MS, National Aquarium

Carolyn Cray, PhD, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine


Impact:
Information obtained from free-ranging animals will aid in animal health and welfare practices for zoos and aquariums.

Poplar Island Diamondback Terrapin Health Survey

Description:
Since 2015, members of the Aquarium’s Animal Health team have been partnering with researchers to evaluate the health of terrapins nesting on Poplar Island in the Chesapeake Bay.

Researchers

Leigh A. Clayton, DVM, DABVP (Avian & Reptile/Amphibian), National Aquarium

Catherine Hadfield, MA, VetMB, MRCVS, Dipl ECZM, Dipl ACZM, National Aquarium

Jill Arnold, MS, CLS (ASCP)CM National Aquarium

Pilar J. Nelson, MS, National Aquarium

Willem Roosenberg, PhD, Ohio University

Lisa Mangus, DVM, PhD, Johns Hopkins University

Matt Allender, DVM, MS, PhD, Dipl. ACZM, University of Illinois

Carolyn Cray, PhD, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine


Impact:
This initiative determines baseline health measurements and screens for infectious diseases in this population, not previously studied.

Poison Dart Frog Reproduction

Description:
Aquarium herpetologists study the reproductive success rate for poison dart frogs. In the wild, accurate population monitoring for this species is a challenge, but they are highly vulnerable to both human activities and natural factors.

Researchers

Jessica Nelson, MS, National Aquarium

Amanda Gensemer, National Aquarium

C. J. Weaver, National Aquarium


Impact:
Understanding factors contributing to reproductive rates and success of frogs in managed care may be applicable to wild populations.

Shark Research

Description:
Aquarium biologists partner with researchers to study the physiology of shark and stingray species along the Delaware and Maryland coasts.

Researchers

Alan Henningsen, MS, National Aquarium

Emily Anderson, BS, National Aquarium

Jill Arnold, MS, CLS (ASCP)CM National Aquarium

Jen Wyffels, SEZARK


Impact:
Information gained contributes to animal care protocols and is shared through scientific journal articles, book chapters and conference presentations.

Sea Turtle Health Assessment

Description:
The Aquarium’s Laboratory Services team collaborates with researchers to optimize blood testing methods used to monitor the health of rescued sea turtles.

Researchers

Jill Arnold, MS, CLS (ASCP)CM National Aquarium

Nicole Montgomery, CVT, Loggerhead Marinelife Center

Nicole I. Stacy, DVM, DrMedVet, DACVP (Clinical), University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine


Impact:
Learning how best to provide accurate laboratory results will aid veterinarians caring for sea turtles.

Art as Applied to Medicine

Description:
The National Aquarium has partnered with the Department of Art as Applied to Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine since 1981.

Researchers

Timothy H Phelps, MS, FAMI, Professor and Medical Illustrator, JHU School of Medicine

Brent R. Whitaker, MS, DVM, National Aquarium


Impact:
Animal care staff work with medical illustration students to create explanatory and problem solving illustrations for teaching, research and conservancy.

Effects of Cold-stunning on sea turtles

Maturation of Birds

Common Turtles of the Chesapeake Bay

Structural Color