Animal Care & Horticulture
Jason Wark, Ph.D.
Animal Welfare Science Program
Animal Welfare Scientist
Ph.D. – Biology, Case Western Reserve University
B.S. – Biology, Pennsylvania State University
Areas of Expertise
- Animal welfare
- Data visualization
- Product management
Jason is part of the Animal Welfare Science Program, a program through which scientists and Animal Care staff work together to evaluate and enhance the well-being of animals in zoos and promote positive animal welfare. Jason oversees the ongoing behavioral monitoring program at Lincoln Park Zoo, supervising the training and organization of dozens of volunteers and interns. Jason works alongside Animal Care staff to translate data into actionable insights to help animals thrive in the zoo environment.
Jason also manages the development of the ZooMonitor app, a web-based tool to measure behavior and infer the welfare of animals. This application was made available to zoos, aquariums, sanctuaries, and others to provide the community with an easy-to-use electronic means of recording behavior and better understand animal welfare. Jason regularly provides guidance and training on how other institutions can use ZooMonitor to advance welfare.
Before joining Lincoln Park Zoo, Jason conducted his graduate research at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and Case Western Reserve University. Jason studied a wide range of topics, including behavioral thermoregulation in colobus monkeys, wheel-running in fossa, and aggression in piranha. Jason’s dissertation research investigated the influence of sound on the behavior and hormone levels of callitrichid monkeys.
- Wark, J.D. (2022) Power up: Combining behavior monitoring software with business intelligence tools to enhance proactive animal welfare reporting. Animals, 12, 1606. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12131606.
- Wark, J.D., Schook, M.W., Dennis, P.M., Lukas, K.E. (2022) Do zoo animals use off-exhibit areas to avoid noise? A case study exploring the influence of sound on the behavior, physiology, and space use of two pied tamarins (Saguinus bicolor). American Journal of Primatology. https://doi.org/10.1002/ajp.23421.
- Wark, J.D., Wierzal, N.K., Cronin, K.A. (2021) Gaps in live inter-observer reliability testing of animal behavior: A retrospective analysis and path forward. Journal of Zoological and Botanical Gardens. 2(2):207-221. https://doi.org/10.3390/jzbg2020014.
- Cairo-Evans, A., Wierzal, N.K., Wark, J.D., Cronin, K.A. (2021) Do zoo-housed primates retreat from crowds? A simple study of five primate species. American Journal of Primatology.
- Wark, J. D., Wierzal, N. K., & Cronin, K. A. (2020) Mapping shade availability and use in zoo environments: A tool for evaluating thermal comfort. Animals, 10(7), 1189. doi:10.3390/ani10071189.
- Wark, J. D., Cronin, K. A., Niemann, T., Shender, M. A., Horrigan, A., Kao, A., & Ross, M. R. (2019) Monitoring the Behavior and Habitat Use of Animals to Enhance Welfare using the ZooMonitor App. Animal Behavior and Cognition, 6(3), 158–167. https://doi.org/10.26451/abc.06.03.01.2019.
- Rog, J. E., Lukas, K. E., & Wark, J. D. (2015) Social and environmental influences on pacing in a female Malayan sun bear (Helarctos malayanus). Journal of Zoo and Aquarium Research, 3(4), 151–156.
- Wark, J.D., Kuhar, C.W., Lukas, K.E. (2014) Behavioral thermoregulation in a group of zoo-housed colobus monkeys (Colobus guereza). Zoo Biology, 33: 257-266.