Population Management I: Data Acquisition and Processing

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PMI Mandrill

Studbooks made studly!

November 17-22, 2014
Ramada Plaza at St. Louis
St. Louis, MO

This course session is currently FULL. Future registrations will be placed on the wait list.    

Priority Admission will be given to current AZA studbook keepers through July 11, 2014.

Please note, payment is now due at the time of registration. Please do not submit a registration form without payment, as it will not be processed.

To pay by check or purchase order:
Download the PMI COURSE REGISTRATION FORM and return by mail with check or purchase order

To pay by credit card:
You can now register and pay online with a credit card! Just log in to our new website. Non-members can log in too after creating an account. After logging in, choose "Upcoming Events" from the menu on the left. Next, click on the title of the event for which you would like to register. Finally, choose "Event Registration" from the options at the top and complete the registration process. When registering online, there is no need to submit the registration form. 

Early bird registration deadline: 12 weeks prior to course start date
Final Registration deadline: 4 weeks prior to course start date


Course Description

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.

Tuition & Expenses

Early Bird Rates:
$1000 for AZA Individual Members
1100 for Non-members
Regular Rates:
$1100 for AZA Individual Members 
$1200 for Non-members   

Early bird registration deadline: 12 weeks prior to course start date
Final Registration deadline: 4 weeks prior to course start date

Please note, these rates are higher than past offerings of this course because they include course registration, as well as breakfasts, lunches, break service, and two dinners during the course. For courses hosted at Oglebay Resort in Wheeling, this cost is included in the lodging fee instead. The hotel rate in St. Louis will be $99 plus taxes per room per night, with no surcharge for double occupancy. The overall resulting cost to participants will be similar compared to past offerings.

Scholarship funding is available through a competitive process.

Optional Fees:

$20 for Continuing Education Units (CEUs) - this option is available to anyone
$1,000 for graduate credit as a student in George Mason University's Zoo & Aquarium Leadership program

Target Audience

This course is designed for current and prospective studbook keepers. Please check the status of your studbook before applying! You'll find a list of official AZA TAG/WCMC 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.


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 and 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.  

Travel and Accommodations

Lambert Saint Louis International Airport (STL) is the closest airport. Shared shuttle service between the airport and the hotel is available through GO BEST Express

Course participants stay at Ramada Plaza Hotel 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.

Course Topics & Instructors

  • 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 WCMC 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.

Joe Barkowski, Curator of Birds - Tulsa Zoo
Gina Ferri, Adjust Population Biologist - Disney's Animal Kingdom
Kelvin Limbrick, Studbook Analyst - Lincoln Park Zoo
Tom Ness, Tropics and Minnesota Trail Curator - Minnesota Zoo
Kevin Willis, Biological Programs Director - Minnesota Zoo


For additional details please contact the AZA Professional Development Department or call (301) 562-0777, ext 251