Population Management I: Data Management and Processing

Hosted by Oglebay Resort
Wheeling, WV
February 13-18, 2023

AZA Regional Studbooks document the pedigree and demographic history of each individual in a population. These collective histories, compiled and maintained by an AZA Regional Studbook Keeper, provide information about the population's genetic and demographic identity, and are valuable tools to track and manage each individual or group as part of a single, ex-situ population.

Population Management I: Data Management and Processing provides the fundamentals needed to maintain and manage population databases for zoo and aquarium Animal Programs. Students will receive training in science-based aspects of population management as well as the methods to best understand and manage an AZA Animal Program using software required to maintain such databases. Students are expected to utilize the skills learned to successfully manage an accurate, documented studbook and provide expertise on the biology and history of the population/species in their care.

Course Objectives

After completing this course, students will better understand:

  • Studbooks and their role in zoo- and aquarium-based  population management

  • The definition, role, scope, and history of studbooks

  • How to maintain and publish a studbook

  • Scientific disciplines for creating and using studbook data

    • Taxonomy – Definitions of species and how taxonomy affects keeping a studbook database

    • Genetics – Concepts including DNA, Mendel, population genetics, and the basics of applying these concepts to genetic management of populations

    • Demography – Definition of terms and development of demographic descriptions of populations

  • Managing data in the ZIMS for Studbooks software

This course prepares attendees for the role of Studbook Keeper using the web-based ZIMS for Studbooks software through a combination of lectures and hands-on exercises.

Course Schedule

First Day
 - Arrival on Monday, February 13
 - Course activities, including student registration, begin after 4 PM
 - Opening evening ceremony
 - Courses meet for individual opening session/class

- Classes meet all day

Last Day
- Classes meet
- Closing Ceremony

Attendance is required for course participants for the duration of the course until the evening of the last day. As a result, individuals generally depart the following day. Attendees will receive a detailed schedule for their course after their registration is confirmed.


Josh Courteau, Training Manager – Species360
Gina Ferrie PhD, Science Operations Manager and Adjunct Population Biologist – Disney's Animal Kingdom®
Bill Hughes
, Herpetology Coordinator – Tennessee Aquarium
Mike Murray, Curator of Mammals - Lincoln Park Zoo
Lindsay Sears
, Desert Dome Supervisor - Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium
Kendra Strohmayer
, PMC Planning Coordinator – Lincoln Park Zoo
Steven Yong, Senior Biologist - Steinhart Aquarium

Is This Course Right For You?

This course is designed for current and future Studbook Keepers – focusing on AZA Regional Studbooks. While priority is given to current Studbook Keepers, prospective Studbook Keepers are also welcomed to apply and are accepted as space allows. It is a requirement to complete the course within two years of being approved as an AZA Regional Studbook Keeper.

To ensure the status of your studbook before applying, please reference the list of official AZA TAG-approved Studbook Keepers in the Animal Programs Database. If you are not listed as an official Studbook Keeper and believe this is an error please contact the Conservation, Management, and Welfare Sciences 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 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.

Travel & Accommodations


Oglebay Resort is located at Route 88 North, Wheeling, West Virginia, 26003 (1-800-624-6988). From Interstate 70, merge onto US-40 Spur/Mt De Chantal Road via exit 2A toward WV-88 north/Oglebay Park. Turn right onto National Road/RD-40, turn left onto WV-88/Bethany Pike. End at Oglebay Park, Wheeling, West Virginia. 
Parking at the hotel is FREE. Tesla electric charging ports are available.

Airfare / Nearest Airport

Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) is the closest airport (approx. 1 hr away) and is used by most participants.
Columbus Airport (CMH) is another full-service option (approx. 2 hrs away) and is a good alternative when flights are canceled.

Ground Transportation from Airport

If your institution is sending more than one person or you are able to coordinate with others attending the courses, it is more cost-effective to rent a car for the week. Otherwise, there is a preferred shuttle service from the Pittsburgh Airport that offers a discount for transportation to Oglebay: (Note that “limousine” means van.)

 For more information, please email azatraining@aza.org

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 Registration

AZA Accredited / Certified Institutions*
Early Bird Rate:
 Deadline 12 weeks prior to course start date
$1125 with Individual AZA Membership 
$1325 without Individual AZA Membership

Regular Rate: Deadline 4 weeks prior to course start date
$1325 with Individual AZA Membership 
$1525 without Individual AZA Membership

Individual Membership must be Professional Affiliate or Professional Fellow to qualify.

Non-AZA Institutions
Early Bird Rate:
 Deadline 12 weeks prior to course start date
$1325 with Professional Associate Membership

Regular Rate: Deadline 4 weeks prior to course start date
$1525 with Professional Associate Membership

Individual Membership Requirement
Staff from non-AZA accredited institutions must have an individual AZA membership to apply and register for an AZA course.

For information regarding our registration and refund policies, please visit our Professional Development Course Policies page. Accepted forms of payment for registration are by credit card, check, or purchase order.

To register with a credit card
You may now register and pay online with a credit card! Non-members can log in too, after creating a free account. After logging in, choose "Professional Development" 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. You will receive an acceptance email or waitlist email once acceptance decisions are made. 

To register with a check or purchase order
Please email your request to register, specifying the course and the name of whom you would like to register, to the Professional Development Coordinator.
Checks sent for course payment will be cashed immediately upon receipt as per standard business practices. Cashing your check does not indicate that you have been accepted into a course. You will receive an acceptance email or a waitlist email once acceptance decisions are made. If you are not admitted into the course from the waitlist, a full refund will be promptly issued.

*Prices are subject to change

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

Questions? For additional details please contact the AZA Professional Development Department.

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