BIO350 Zoo Biology


A survey of biological and behavioral phenomena as they are played out in modern zoological parks. Themes covered include:

- the ways in which modern zoos promote the conservation of endangered species
- the genetics and logistics involved in managing Species Survival Plans
- nutritional science as practiced in zoos
- the psychological assessment of efforts to provide enrichment to captive animals
- environmental, endocrine and psychosocial factors in breeding captive animals
- the role played by zoos in serving society’s educational needs

The laboratory section--BIO350L--is integral to this course, and participation in it is required. Laboratory exercises will be carried out both at Canisius and at nearby zoos and aquariums. The focus of scheduled laboratory exercises include:

- zoo exhibit design & construction
- patron behavior at zoos
- zoo-based dietary science
- animal enrichment
- zoo-based veterinary medicine
- human-animal interactions at zoos
- zoo-based educational efforts
- zoo-based research

These exercises are conducted in the Canisius College Animal Facility and at the nearby Buffalo Zoo. Additionally, we travel over the October holiday period to conduct exercises at the Toledo Zoo, Brookfield Zoo, Lincoln Park Zoo, Shedd Aquarium and Detroit Zoo.

Course Curriculum

History & Philosophy/Zoo Missions

Wild vs Captive/Animal Welfare


Conservation Biology


Animal Communication

Disaster Planning

Exhibitry: What's the message?

Exhibitry: Multi-species

Reprod: Male reprod phys

Reprod: Female reprod phys

Reprod: Pregnancy & Sequalae

Giraffe Birth

Genetic research in zoos

Demographic management

Zoo Nutrition

Behavioral Engineering

Water Quality

Reintroduction programs 


Contact Info: Susan Margulis, PhD, Canisius College , 2001 Main St., Buffalo, NY 14208