Conservation & Science Staff Bios

Sara Sullivan, M.S.

  Population Biologist
Population Management Center


  • M.Sc. – Wild Animal Biology, Royal Veterinary College (University of London)
  • B.A. – Psychobiology, Arcadia University

Areas of Expertise

  • Small population management
  • Genetic and demographic management of zoo and aquarium populations

About Sara:

Sara serves as a scientific advisor for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) cooperatively managed animal populations. As a population biologist with the Population Management Center (PMC), she is responsible for conducting genetic and demographic analyses and preparing breeding and transfer plans for nearly 600 species managed in more than 200 AZA-accredited zoos.

In addition to advising zoo population managers, Sara is collaborating with researchers at the University of Chester (U.K.) in utilizing molecular DNA analyses to assess the accuracy of inbreeding coefficients drawn from the European Asiatic lion studbook. This work will hopefully provide insight into the management impact of assuming unrelated founders when designing studbooks for species with historical evidence of intensive inbreeding in the wild.

Prior to joining the PMC, Sara carried out research in association with the Zoological Society of London assessing potential inbreeding effects across the European zoo population of Asiatic lions. Sara’s involvement with zoos began with behavioral research of cheetah breeding introductions at the Philadelphia Zoo and later London’s sister zoo, Whipsnade Zoo. She has also worked as a zookeeper at the London Zoo and most recently Cape May County Zoo.