Conservation & Science Staff Bios

Allison B. Sacerdote-Velat, Ph.D.

  Reintroduction Biologist
Urban Wildlife Institute


  • Ph.D. - Amphibian Reintroduction and Wetland Restoration, Northern Illinois University
  • B.S. – Environmental and Forest Biology, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

Areas of Expertise

  • Population and community ecology of amphibians and reptiles
  • Reintroduction biology and conservation of herpetofauna
  • Wetland restoration and management
  • Herpetofaunal response to habitat restoration

About Allison Sacerdote-Velat:

Allison was a seasonal wildlife biologist for several years with a variety of state wildlife agencies, universities, the Wildlife Conservation Society and the National Park Service. She had the opportunity to work with a wide array of wildlife, including white-tailed deer, sharp-tailed sparrows, desert tortoise, eastern hognose snakes, turtles, phainopeplas, small mammals and amphibians. These experiences helped hone her interest in wildlife conservation and field research.

Allison completed her doctoral work at Northern Illinois University, studying the reintroduction of extirpated amphibians into restored flatwoods wetlands in northern Illinois. Her research entailed field-based reintroduction feasibility analyses, population viability analyses and examination of amphibian response to specific habitat-restoration methods. Allison stayed on as a visiting assistant professor at Northern Illinois University from 2009-2010, where she taught the Biology of Fishes, Amphibians and Reptiles, Conservation Biology and Environmental Biology.

Allison began her position as Lincoln Park Zoo reintroduction biologist in May 2010. She works collaboratively with the Lake County Forest Preserve District on conservation and recovery planning for smooth green snakes, an Illinois “species in greatest need of conservation.” Her work entails field sampling, population assessment and habitat evaluation of smooth green snakes in northern Illinois and planning for a smooth green snake captive-breeding and head-starting program.


Sacerdote-Velat, A. and King, R. 2014. Direct Effects of an Invasive European Buckthorn Metabolite on Embryo Survival and Development in Xenopus laevis and Pseudoacris triseriata. Journal of Herpetology Vol. 48 (1):51-58.

Hunt, V., Magle, S., Vargas, C., Brown, A., Lonsdorf, E., Sacerdote, A., Sorley, E., Santymire, R. 2014. Survival, abundance, and capture rate of eastern cottontail rabbits in an urban park. Urban Ecosystems 17(2): 547-560.