Elizabeth Freeman, Associate Professor, School of Integrative Studies, received $1,250 from the Virginia Academy of Science for the project: "Genomic analysis of the managed Eastern black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis michaeli) populations in AZA institutions." This funding began in July 2021 and will end in July 2022.
As for the importance of this work, Freeman said, "This project will aid in management and conservation of the critically endangered black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) by performing genetic analyses of individuals within the North American Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) population. While establishing their pedigree, these data also will strengthen our understanding of the species’ capacity to respond to different environments and other external factors, which will strengthen zoo management by facilitating appropriate strategies that will help save the black rhinoceros from extinction."
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