As the Director of Research, Conservation and Nutrition, Dr. Lisa Hoopes oversees the strategic planning and implementation of research and conservation programs at Georgia Aquarium. She also oversees all aspects of clinical nutrition, diet development, and food procurement for the animal collection, ranging from the smallest urchins to the largest whale sharks.
Lisa leads a team of scientists who conduct field studies globally with the aim to better understand our oceans and the animals that inhabit them. Lisa is physiological ecologist by training and her research primarily focus on understanding feeding ecology, comparative and applied nutrition, and energetics of aquatic species; and she has worked on projects spanning a wide variety of taxa including sharks and rays, bottlenose dolphins, African penguins, horseshoe crabs, and weedy sea dragons. Lisa is particularly interested in how discoveries about foraging ecology, diet, and nutritional requirements of wild populations can inform and improve the care of animals managed in zoos and aquariums.
Prior to joining Georgia Aquarium, Dr. Hoopes completed a two-year post-doctoral fellowship in animal nutrition through the University of Florida and with Disney’s Animal Kingdom where she worked with a number of terrestrial and aquatic species. She received her Ph.D. from Texas A&M University in 2007 and focused her research on Steller sea lion metabolism and energetics to address questions related to nutritional stress and resulting changes in body composition in juvenile animals.
Lisa remains an active member of the local academic community through the mentoring of graduate students at University of Georgia, Georgia Southern University, Emory University, and Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech).
Dr. Hoopes is often asked to speak both domestically and internationally on her expertise in aquatic animal nutrition. Lisa continues to teach aquatic nutrition for veterinary professionals through the AQUAVET program. She is a professional associate of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), a member of the American Elasmobranch Society (AES), a member of the International Association for Aquatic Animal Medicine, and an active member of the Comparative Nutrition Society and AZA Nutrition Advisory Group. She also serves as the nutrition advisor to the AZA Marine Fishes Taxon Advisory Group.