The CEO Blog: The Species360 Research Partner Program – Advancing Scientific Research and Knowledge on Species
For almost 50 years, Species360 members worldwide have collected the most amazing details regarding the wildlife in their care.
They record everything from basic life histories, such as how long it lived and how many offspring it produced, to complex medical records, such as blood test results, medical treatment effectiveness, and necropsy details. Over time and across hundreds of thousands of animals and thousands of species, this data creates a massive, powerful, and unique data set on wildlife. The graph below illustrates the significant impact and value of ZIMS data. Researchers found that critical information is missing for 98% of species, but by adding aggregated data from ZIMS, we are able to increase what is known about species by 800% – a truly impressive figure. This demographic data can be crucial to informing conservation priorities and assessing species at risk of extinction. You can read more about this research here.
Part of our mission at Species360 is to collect, aggregate, and analyze this wildlife data to equip our members to improve the health and welfare of the animals in their care. We can also help inform the many species conservation projects led or supported by our members, as well as provide unique insights to partner organizations, such as the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) or the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to support conservation prioritization and decision making.
Supporting our mission, the Species360 Research Partner Program enables diverse organizations beyond Species360 members to improve wildlife care and a species’ likelihood of success in the wild. It allows a broad scope of research limited only by the creativity of the researchers. We are continuously amazed by the breadth of the study and the ever-growing potential of this data to make a difference. Species360 Research Partners include colleges, universities, veterinary and wildlife centers, students and individual researchers, and others. Some excellent examples include:
- Researchers at the Human Evolutionary Biology Department, Harvard University, are using ZIMS to study connections between genetics and observable characteristics in mammals, including nonhuman primates and humans.
- As bird populations decline in the wild, researchers at Romania’s Babes-Bolyai University have joined the Species360 Research Partner program to better understand species’ ability to withstand disease and changes to their environment. To supplement decades of detailed field studies, the team are using ZIMS for missing data critical to finding answers.
- ZIMS data is supporting diabetes research at the University of Michigan, where researchers hope to discover why birds and bats do not suffer the consequences of hyperglycemia as humans with diabetes do.
- The University of Chicago is looking to ZIMS data to study immunology in mammal species in light of covid. In particular, they will look at baseline blood sample data published in ZIMS to better understand drivers of immunity across a diverse set of mammals. They will use this information to explore the impacts of host immunity on the evolution of virus traits and the implications following cross-species spillover of disease.
To help these researchers, the Research Partner Program provides access to crucial data analytics available in our Zoological Information Management System (ZIMS), further extending the impact and value of our members. These globally unique resources include:
Husbandry Data: Species Event History, Species Holding, Animal Age Distribution, Weight Comparison Report, TAG Export, Population Overview, Global Holdings by Animal Type.
Medical Data: Anesthesia Summaries, Drug Usage by Type, Expected Blood Test Results.
I am also pleased to share that ZIMS reports are continuously evolving, with analytics on more species becoming available as our members record more data. We are expanding the number and types of reports for our users and will include our new species-level Survival, Reproduction, and Growth (SRG) reports soon. These reports will become more interactive and allow users to download data in 2023.
We do charge an affordable annual fee for the Research Partner Program. As a non-profit organization, Species360 reinvests the fees received through the Research Partner Program to improve our services to members and the broader conservation community.
If you want more information or to become a research partner, please see our website for more details or contact our Support team (email@example.com).
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