John Fraser, Ph.D., AIA

Chief Science and Learning Officer

In the 1980’s I received environmental studies and architecture degrees from the University of Waterloo, in Canada, and quickly found myself working in zoo species breeding facilities research across the USA and Canada. As a committed conservationist, I joined with a number of colleagues from zoos and psychology to think about how zoos might achieve their potential for advancing conservation in society. We imagined a new field, Conservation Psychology, that acknowledged that importance of social sciences as parallel to the work the physical scientists to ensure that people protect the systems on which all life depends. Our movement flourished, and led me to in a mid-career pivot to pursue my Ph.D. in Environmental Studies, an appointment at Columbia University’s Earth Institute, and a role creating the Society for Conservation Biology’s Social Science Working Group. I received my Ph.D. in 2009 and in 2010 Conservation Psychology was recognized by the American Psychological Association as part of a renamed Division for Environmental, Population, and Conservation Psychology.

As the Chief Science and Learning Officer at ASLC, I support integration across our many specialist teams as they study and learn daily from the animals in our care, the local wildlife and marine systems, and those engaging with our aquarium and online programs. Our focus includes understanding how animals adapt to environmental changes, human learning processes, and how people apply their learning in ways that can increase effective marine stewardship.