Program Scientist (AZA Reproductive Management Center)
Saint Louis Zoo
Year zoo career began:
Monica joined the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Reproductive Management Center (RMC) in May 2017. Monica is responsible for providing information and advice on contraceptive products to members of the AZA community and coordinating the RMC’s research program, which supports improved sustainability of AZA programs through evidence-based reproductive management. Some areas of research at the RMC include evaluating contraceptive reversibility, diagnosing, treating and preventing infertility, and evaluating Lifetime Reproductive Planning as a strategy to manage captive populations.
As Program Scientist, Monica collaborates with the other members of the Department, the Reproductive Health Surveillance Program (RHSP), and the RMC’s Advisory Board to advance the mission of the RMC. She also communicates with a variety of zoo-related individuals from around the world, including veterinary technicians, veterinarians, curators, and keepers, and works closely with various AZA programs, the Population Management Center (PMC), and the European Group on Zoo Animal Contraception (EGZAC).
Monica received a Ph.D. in Anthropology at Washington University in Saint Louis in December 2016. She carried out her dissertation research in Zambia where she used observational and genetic techniques to examine reproductive success and hybridization between two types of wild baboons (kinda and grayfooted chacma). Monica has also been involved in projects estimating genetic variation and ecological differences in Angolan Black and White Colobus monkeys, and assessing behavioral shifts resulting from demographic transitions in captive gorillas at the Saint Louis Zoo. In general, she has always been fascinated with captive and wild animals, having started as an intern at the Saint Louis Zoo and a docent at the Harvard Museum of Natural History.