The CSS conducts basic and applied research, especially in the fields of reproductive science and animal management, to understand biological mysteries and to implement practical solutions to help rare species survive. The priority is to avoid extinction while creating methods to sustain viable wildlife populations—for zoos and in the wild.
CSS researchers use multidisciplinary approaches and modern tools to integrate new information in order to quickly stabilize and recover endangered animal populations. They work with a worldwide network of collaborators from conservation organizations, universities, zoos, and governmental agencies, and their efforts extend far beyond the physical boundaries of the Smithsonian Institution and National Zoological Park.
Reproductive Science Research Programs
The Zoo's Reproduction and Reintroduction of Desert Antelope project uses advances in the reproductive sciences to enhance the genetic management of antelope, and to reintroduce herds of these rare species to their native range in North Africa. Learn more.
SCBI scientists are using modern fertility techniques to preserve the world's coral reef species. Learn more.
The National Zoo's Black-Footed Ferret Reproduction Project studies the biology of the black-footed ferret to enhance reproduction, maintain genetic diversity, and provide animals for reintroduction to the western Great Plains. Learn more
The National Zoo’s Elephant Reproduction Project and its associated Endocrine Lab, led by National Zoo scientist Janine Brown, studies the biology of elephants through basic and applied research to enhance species conservation and management. Learn more
The National Zoo’s Cat Conservation Project studies reproduction of cats to create scholarly knowledge and to facilitate management and conservation of cheetahs, clouded leopards, and fishing cats. Learn more
Zoo scientists study the reproduction and ecology of rare canids, including maned wolves from South America, dholes from Asia and, African wild dogs.
The Zoo is one of the leaders in wild equid reproduction, including Przewalski's horses, Grevy's zebras, and Persian onagers. Learn more
The National Zoo maintains a valuable living repository of specimens from rare and endangered species in the Genome Resource Bank to support efforts in biodiversity and species conservation. Learn more
The National Zoo's Endocrine Research Laboratory evaluates hormones to enhance reproduction and animal well-being of wildlife living in zoos and in nature. Learn more
Endangered Species Research Programs
Scientists at the Zoo work to understand, and halt, the unprecedented decline of amphibian populations. Learn more
These magnificent deer only persist in surviving pockets in Asia, where once they roamed all over.
Zoo scientists work to conserve these beautiful birds through captive breeding and research. Through artificial insemination, the zoo has added vital genetic diversity to the captive flock by producing offspring from cranes previously unable to breed. Learn more
These endangered birds are difficult to breed in captivity. Zoo scientists are working to figure out why. Learn more
Often overshadowed by the giant pandas, red pandas are fascinating creatures in their own right. Zoo scientists are working to preserve and understand red pandas.
Smithsonian Conservation Biology Insitute Scientists Find Sudden Stream Temperature Changes Boost Hellbender Immune Systems
Hellbenders, aquatic salamanders from the eastern United States, are surprisingly good at dealing with unpredictable weather. In a recent study published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, researchers from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute found that hellbenders can experience large changes in daily stream temperature (from 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit) without any ill effects. In fact, when scientists mimicked these natural temperature swings in the lab, hellbenders became more resistant to bacterial infection. more
Dr. Pierre Comizzoli Awarded the 2012 Secretary's Research Prize
SCBI's Dr. Pierre Comizzoli has been awarded the 2012 Secretary's Research Prize for his research on developing a novel way of storing the female genome—a method that could have implications for human health. The work was published in the journal Human Reproduction, which is the highest-ranked journal in the field of reproductive sciences. more