Lisa Faust, Ph.D.

Conservation & Science
Senior Director of Population Ecology
  • Ph.D. – Demography, Conservation, and Management of Small Populations, University of Illinois
  • B.A. – Grinnell College

Areas of Expertise

  • Population biology
  • Demographic modeling and population viability analyses
  • Conservation biology of African elephants, eastern massasauga rattlesnakes, red wolves, Puerto Rican parrots, and other focal species
  • Demographic and genetic management of zoo and aquarium populations
  • Structured decision-making in conservation planning
  • Software development for population biology


In 2020, Lisa became the senior director of population ecology, overseeing the Alexander Center for Applied Population Biology, the Association of Zoos and Aquarium’s Population Management Center, and the Tanzania Conservation Research Program. Lisa’s research focuses on using demographic computer models as tools to improve the management and conservation of wildlife populations. She also creates tools to improve the management of zoo populations, including PopLink, PMCTrack, and ZooRisk, freely available software packages that help sustain healthy zoo populations.

From 2012 to 2020, Lisa served as the vice president of Lincoln Park Zoo’s Conservation & Science Department, overseeing the zoo’s discipline-orientated research centers. In that role, she provided strategic guidance to the zoo’s conservation and research efforts locally and globally, including research in wildlife health and disease, population biology and management, animal behavior and welfare, and urban ecology.

Lisa serves as field conservation advisor for the Eastern Massasauga Species Survival Plan® and as a member of AZA’s Research and Technology and Wildlife Conservation Committees. She is also an adjunct faculty member at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Lisa’s dissertation research focused on applied demography for the management and conservation of captive and wild populations. She has worked in conservation and science at Lincoln Park Zoo in various capacities since 1998. When not buried in computer models, Lisa enjoys traveling, cooking, reading fiction, and getting out into the wilderness.


  • Faust, L.J. 2023. Puerto Rican Parrot (Amazona vittata) Population Viability Analysis Report. Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago.
  • Miller, P.S., A. Parsons, L. Faust, and A. Franklin. 2023. Population viability analysis of the red wolf (Canis rufus): Integrated management of in situ and ex situ populations in support of species recovery in a mixed canid landscape. Final report – 22 August 2023. Apple Valley, MN: IUCN SSC Conservation Planning Specialist Group.
  • Gray, S. M., Parsons, A. W., Andrews, J. E., Schad Eebes, K., Faust, L. J., & Che-Castaldo, J. (2023). Institutional networks in cooperative population management: Exploring patterns in transfer fulfillment. Zoo Biology, Early View.
  • Gray, S.M., Faust, L.J., Senner, P., Eebes, K.S., & Che-Castaldo, J.P. (2022). Influence of institutional attributes on fulfillment of transfer and breeding recommendations in zoos and aquariums. Zoo Biology, 1-8. Epub ahead of print.
  • Gray, S. M., Faust, L. J., Kuykendall, N. A., Bladow, R. A., Schad Eebes, K., & Che‐Castaldo, J. P. (2022). Reasons for unfulfilled breeding and transfer recommendations in zoos and aquariums. Zoo Biology, 41, 143–156.
  • Che-Castaldo, J., Gray, S.M., Rodriguez-Clark, K.M., Eebes. K.S., & Faust, L.J. (2021). Expected demographic and genetic declines not found in most zoo and aquarium populations. Frontiers in Ecology and Environment, 19(8), 435-442.
  • Faust, L., Kuykendall, N., Spencer, R., & Oliver, J. (2021). PMCTrack: A website for monitoring breeding and transfer recommendations for AZA zoo populations. Version 2.0. Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago, Illinois.
  • Powell, D. M., Dorsey, C. L., & Faust, L. J. 2019. Advancing the science behind animal program sustainability: An overview of the special issue. Zoo Biology, 38(1), 5–11.
  • Che‐Castaldo, J., Johnson, B., Magrisso, N., Mechak, L., Melton, K., Mucha, K., Terwilliger, L., Theis, M., Long, S., & Faust, L. 2019. Patterns in the long-term viability of North American zoo populations. Zoo Biology, 38(1), 78–94.
  • Che-Castaldo, J. P., Byrne, A., Perišin, K., & Faust, L. J.   2019. Sex-specific median life expectancies from ex situ populations for 330 animal species. Scientific Data, 6, 190019.
  • Faust, L. J., Long, S. T., Perišin, K., & Simonis, J. L. 2019. Uncovering challenges to sustainability of AZA Animal Programs by evaluating the outcomes of breeding and transfer recommendations with PMCTrack. Zoo Biology, Early View.
  • Faust, L. J.   2019. What Keeps Me up at Night As a Zoo-Based Conservation Biologist. The Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America, 100(1), e01490.
  • Hileman Eric T., King Richard B., & Faust Lisa J. 2018. Eastern massasauga demography and extinction risk under prescribed‐fire scenarios. The Journal of Wildlife Management, Early View.
  • Che-Castaldo, J. P., Grow, S. A., & Faust, L. J. 2018. Evaluating the Contribution of North American Zoos and Aquariums to Endangered Species Recovery. Scientific Reports, 8(1), 9789.
  • Bradke, D. R., Hileman, E. T., Bartman, J. F., Faust, L. J., King, R. B., Kudla, N., & Moore, J. A.   2018. Implications of Small Population Size in a Threatened Pitviper Species. Journal of Herpetology, 52(4), 387–398.
  • Hileman, E. T., King, R. B., Adamski, J. M., Anton, T. G., Bailey, R. L., Baker, S. J., … Yagi, A. 2017. Climatic and geographic predictors of life history variation in Eastern Massasauga (Sistrurus catenatus): A range-wide synthesis. PLOS ONE, 12(2), e0172011.
  • Faust, L.J., Simonis, J.S., Harrison, R., Waddell, W., Long, S. 2016. Red Wolf (Canis rufus) Population Viability Analysis – Report to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago.
  • Matthew C. Allender; Randall E. Junge; Sarah Baker-Wylie; Eric T. Hileman; Lisa J. Faust; and Carolyn Cray. In press. 2015. Plasma electrophoretic profiles in the Eastern Massasauga (sistrurus catenatus) and influences of age, sex, year, location, and snake fungal disease. Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine.
  • Faust, LJ, Bier, L, Schowe, K, and Gazlay, T 2012. PopLink 2.3 User’s Manual. Lincoln Park Zoo. Chicago, IL.
  • Faust, LJ, Bergstrom, YM, Thompson, SD, and Bier, L. 2012. Poplink Version 2.3. Lincoln Park Zoo. Chicago, IL.
  • Faust, LJ, Bergstrom, YM, and Thompson, SD, and Bier, L. 2011. PopLink Version 2.2. Lincoln Park Zoo. Chicago, IL.
  • Faust, LJ, Bier, L, Schowe, K, and Gazlay, T. 2011. PopLink Version 2.2 User’s Manual. Lincoln Park Zoo. Chicago, IL.
  • Faust, LJ, Cress, D, Farmer, K, Ross, S.R., Beck, B. 2011. Predicting Capacity Demand on African Chimpanzee Sanctuaries. International Journal of Primatology, 32:849-864.
  • Faust, L.J., Szymanski, J., Redmer, M. 2011. Range-wide Extinction Risk Modeling for the Eastern massasauga Rattlesnake (Sistrurus catenatus catenatus). Technical Report to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
  • Ballou, J., Lees, C., Faust, L., Long, S., Lynch, C., Bingaman-Lackey, L., and Foose, T. 2010. Demographic and Genetic management of captive populations for conservation. Wild Mammals in Captivity. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, Illinois.
  • Foley, C.A.H., and Faust, L.J.  2010. Rapid population growth in an elephant Loxodonta africana population recovering from poaching in Tarangire National Park, Tanzania. Oryx, 44(2): 205-212.
  • Earnhardt J, Faust, L.J., and Thompson, S.D. 2009. Extinction risk assessment for the Species Survival Plan (SSP) population of the Bali mynah (Leucopsar rothschildi). American Journal of Physical Anthropology (Suppl 44): 123-124.
  • Faust, L.J., Bier, L., and Schowe, K.  2009. PopLink 2.1: User’s Manual. Lincoln Park Zoo. Chicago, IL.
  • Faust, L.J., Bergstrom, Y.M., Thompson, S.D., and Bier, L. 2009. PopLink Version 2.1. Lincoln Park Zoo. Chicago, IL.
  • Earnhardt, JM, Bergstrom, YM, Lin, A, Faust, LJ, Schloss, CA, and Thompson, SD. 2008. ZooRisk: A Risk Assessment Tool. Version 3.8. Lincoln Park Zoo. Chicago, IL.
  • Faust, LJ, Earnhardt, JM, Schloss, CA, and Bergstrom, YM. 2008. ZooRisk: A Risk Assessment Tool. Version 3.8 User’s Manual. Lincoln Park Zoo. Chicago, IL.
  • Faust L.J., Earnhardt, J.E. and Thompson, S.D. 2006. Is reversing the decline of Asian elephants in captivity possible? An individual-based modeling approach. Zoo Biology, 25(3): 201-218.
  • Faust, L.J. 2004. Animal Attractions: Nature on Display in American Zoos (Book Review). Quarterly Review of Biology, 79(4): 431.
  • Faust, L.J., Jackson, R., Ford, A., Earnhardt, J. M. and Thompson, S.D. 2004. Models for management of wildlife populations: Lessons from spectacled bears in zoos and grizzly bears in Yellowstone. System Dynamics Review, 20(2): 163-178.
  • Faust, L.J. and Earnhardt, J.M. 2004. Zoo Risk: A Risk Assessment Tool. User’s Manual.. User’s Manual. Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago, Illinois..
  • Faust, L.J., Thompson, S.D., Earnhardt, J.M., Brown, E., Ryan, S., Sherman, M. and Yurenka, M. 2003. Using stage-based system dynamics modeling for demographic management of captive populations. Zoo Biology, 22: 45-64.
  • Faust, L.J. and Thompson, S.D. 2000. Birth sex ratio in captive mammals: Patterns, bias, and the implications for management and conservation. Zoo Biology, 19: 11-25.
  • Faust, L.J. and Brown, J.M. 1998. Sexual selection via female choice in the gall-making fly Eurosta solidaginis Fitch (Diptera: Tephritidae) in Biology of Gall-inducing Arthropods. North Central Research Station, Forest Service U.S. Department of Agriculture, 82-90.
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