San Diego Zoo’s Institute for Conservation Research

San Diego Zoo’s Institute for Conservation Research (SDZCR) has a Conservation Research Postdoctoral Fellowship Program. Initiated in 2000, this program makes it possible for Ph.D. qualified scientists to undertake fieldwork on endangered species or habitats for periods ranging from three to five years. Starting early in 2009, EWB is fortunate to be partnering with San Diego Zoo's Institute for Conservation Research on a project which will provide new information and improving our understanding of african elephant demography and foraging strategies.

The major scope of this project includes the following long-term (3 to 5 year) goals:

• understanding the feeding ecology of African elephants and how resource distribution and herd size/composition influence travel and movement patterns

• investigating how reproductive status and gender influence feeding and ranging behavior

• determining how different herds of elephants in Southern Africa [Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Angola] impact the resource base and interact with the local population of people

• establishing a more solid scientific understanding of how proximate physiological factors and foraging strategies influence reproductive rate and calf survivorship in different habitats in the wild

• helping to assist in designing conservation management plans in Africa

• raising public awareness of the plight of elephants and issues surrounding elephant/human conflict by promoting ties between zoological institutions, including the ZSSD, and field research, as well as working with local communities to enhance elephant conservation in conjunction with community development

• building a better scientific foundation for enhancing the health and well-being of captive elephants maintained in the ZSSD collection, as well as elsewhere

• creating closer links between the African scientific community and the Zoological Society of San Diego

• incorporating the research program into a long-term conservation plan aimed at documenting factors regulating elephant distribution and abundance in Southern Africa, as well as creating a possible framework for conservation science of other endangered species in Africa

Matt Anderson, Ph.D.

EWB welcomes Dr. Matt Anderson the Director of the Behavioral Biology division of San Diego Zoo's Institute for Conservation Research, as the Principal Investigator to our partnership with the SDZCR.

Dr Anderson received his undergraduate degree, with honors, in Zoology from the University of Liverpool, England and received his masters degree in environmental impact assessment and management from Oxford Brookes University. He was awarded a PhD in biological anthropology studying behavior, reproduction, bioacoustics and anatomy in nocturnal prosimian primates. Dr Anderson moved to San Diego in 2000 for a postdoctoral research fellowship to study the reproductive biology of rare and endangered species at the Zoo and Wild Animal Park. In 2006, he was promoted to a new position within the Behavioral biology division where he implemented the society’s first a sensory ecology lab with a focus upon animal communication, reproductive endocrinology and captive breeding success. In 2009, he became the acting director for behavioral biology.

Dr Anderson teaches regularly and mentors students both locally and around the world. He has strong links to the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, San Diego and with both Oxford University and the University of Cambridge in England. He is a member of Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA,) actively involved with many different associations focusing on a variety of different mammalian groups, and is the recipient of numerous grants and awards in the fields of behavior and reproductive biology. He has authored over 50 scientific articles in peer-reviewed journals.


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