Studying the Aquatic Microbiome at the Shedd Aquarium

I have oversight responsibilities for the Armour Center for Animal Health and Welfare at Shedd Aquarium and that is essentially the veterinary practice. It encompasses a hospital and three laboratories, one of those is which is aquatic microbial ecology laboratory.

The Shedd Microbiome Project is, we believe, the first really comprehensive look at the microbial communities that are associated with aquatic systems that are designed to house animals. That’s what we are, is a built environment for aquatic animals. The technology, currently available, allows us to recognize all sorts of unseen living organisms that are sharing the space with the animals, that are responsive to environmental parameters that are under our control in ways that we never knew before. We’re really interested in understanding that better with the ultimate aim of improving the health and welfare of the animals.

Dr. Bill Van Bonn
Vice President, Animal Health, Shedd Aquarium