Population Management I: Data Acquisition and Processing

Dates: TBD (2020)
Location: TBD

Course Overview

Population Management I: Data Acquisition and Processing teaches critical skills needed to create a population database for a single zoo or aquarium population. Students learn to handle unique data entry situations and to adapt to changing software.  Students also summarize the data in the studbook database and calculate basic life history parameters. This course produces an aquarium or zoo professional who can gather raw data and turn it into a good, documented studbook to provide expertise on biology and history of the captive population/species.

Course Objectives

After completing this course, students will better understand:

  • Studbooks and their role in zoo and aquarium based conservation
  • Definition, role, scope and history of studbooks
  • Building and publishing a studbook
  • Applying to become an AZA APM approved studbook keeper
  • Is a studbook a population management tool?
  • Studbooks, Population Management Plans, and the AZA Population Management Center
  • Scientific disciplines for creating and using studbook data
  • Taxonomy - Definitions of species and how taxonomy affects keeping a studbook
  • Genetics – The lecture covers DNA to Mendel to population genetics to the basics of genetic management of populations
  • Demography - Definition of terms and development of demographic descriptions of populations

This course involves multiple exercises in creating and maintaining a studbook. It is a combination of lectures and hands on exercises. The software used in this course is PopLink, a windows-based studbook application which can both read in and output a studbook in SPARKS format. Instructors will be on hand during the exercises to answer questions.


Gina Ferrie, Adjunct Population Biologist - Disney's Animal Kingdom
Kelvin Limbrick, Plant Health Care Technician - Kramer Tree Specialists Inc.
Rebecca Greenberg, Animal Programs Coordinator - AZA
Tom Ness, Tropics and Minnesota Trail Curator - Minnesota Zoo

Is This Course Right for You?

This course is designed for current studbook keepers. Please check the status of your studbook before applying! You'll find a list of official AZA TAG/APM approved studbook keepers in the Conservations Programs Database. If you are not listed as an official studbook keeper and believe this is an error please contact the Conservation Department.
While priority is given to current studbook keepers, prospective studbook keepers are also welcome to apply and are accepted if space allows.


Applicants not currently serving as a studbook keeper must submit an institutional letter of support, written by a supervisor or director, verifying that the time and infrastructure for you to keep a studbook will be provided. Studbook keepers have already met this requirement with the statement of institutional support from their program application. Priority admission will be given to studbook keepers and individuals associated with AZA-accredited institutions. International applicants within AZA-accredited institutions are also welcome to apply. Those not affiliated with an AZA-accredited institution will be considered on a case-by-case basis; please submit a letter describing your intended benefit from taking this course.

Course Registration & Travel

Travel and Accommodations

Lambert Saint Louis International Airport (STL) is the closest airport.The hotel provides free airport shuttle service and is also accessible via MetroLink.

Course participants stay at Crowne Plaza Clayton in St. Louis, Missouri and classes meet on-site.

Please wait until you are admitted into the course before making your reservations. You will receive an email containing detailed information regarding your accommodations and transportation once you are admitted.

Tuition & Expenses

Please note, these rates are higher than other course offerings because they include course registration, as well as breakfasts, lunches, break service, and two dinners during the course.  The hotel rate in St. Louis will be $110 plus taxes per room per night, with no surcharge for double occupancy. The overall resulting cost to participants will be similar compared to other less-inclusive courses.
Scholarship funding is available through a competitive process. AZA scholarship applications are due by mid-July and are awarded by early September. 

Early Bird Rates
$1000 for AZA Individual Members
$1100 for Non-members
Early Bird Registration Deadline: 12 weeks prior to course start date

Regular Rates
$1100 for AZA Individual Members
$1200 for Non-members
Regular Registration Deadline: 4 weeks prior to course start date

*Prices are subject to change

For information regarding our registration and refund policies, please visit our Professional Development Course Policies page.


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