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About Us

The Zoological Lighting Institute maintains a mission to support photobiology research for animal husbandry and wildlife conservation purposes.

About the Zoological Lighting Institute

Light is important for living things. Unfortunately, what light is, and how it is important to life, are not easy subjects to tackle. Despite the difficulty, these subjects are becoming more and more important as our communities across the world spread and grow. Modifications to the natural 'luminous' environment, in the form of light pollution and architectural materials such as glass (among others), pose a serious threat to wildlife and, by extension, human health, safety, and welfare. Life depends on biodiversity, biodiversity upon habitat diversity and habitat diversity, upon the diversity of the 'luminous' environment. The Zoological Lighting Institute describes the diversity of luminous environment as 'PhotoDiversity™', something necessary to address in the interest of our communities.

Furthermore, we value the value of formal institutions of managed animal care, such as aquariums and zoos. Light and lighting in this context is equally important to consider, as natural lighting conditions are very specific to the habitats wildlife evolved within. Data driven research is necessary to understand the relationships of light to life, and to host ex situ animals in a healthy state capable of exhibiting as full of a range of natural behaviors as possible.

Due to the inevitable differences between in situ luminous conditions, The Zoological Lighting Institute describes practices based upon photobiology research as 'luminous enrichment', in accord with standard and well accepted definitions.

Our People

James Karl Fischer, PhD

Founder, Executive Director, President
PhD in ProfEthics, Architect, Diplomat

An architect holding a Doctorate in Philosophy from the Architectural Association (London), Dr. Fischer has lectured across the US, UK, Indonesia, Japan, Nepal, Poland and Australia on the importance of natural light for biodiversityloss mitigation. Having served as RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) Council and as RIBA, US Region President, he has also argued for the accountability of, and participation by, architects in matters related the built environment.

Linda Henry

Supervisor of Birds at SeaWorld San Diego
SeaWorld, San Diego

Sea World Science and Research

Professor Martin Stevens, PhD

Professor in Sensory and Evolutionary Ecology / Director of Impact Biosciences (Penryn), University of Exeter

Professor Martin's lab conducts research across a broad range of areas, including: animal vision, in both the natural world and increasingly in an applied context, methods to analyze and quantify visual information and animal vision, especially from digital images, animal colour change and camouflage, including human impacts upon this, antipredator coloration (camouflage, warning signals, and eyespots), brood parasitism and mimicry as well as benefits of understanding animal vision for improving animal welfare, safety, and training. Pr. Martin is the author of two seminal works in Sensory Ecology: Cheats and Deceits: How Animals and Plants Exploit and Mislead. 2016. Oxford University Press and Sensory Ecology, Behaviour, and Evolution. 2013. Oxford University Press.
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Professor Dan-e Nilsson, PhD

Functional Zoology Professor
Lund University, SW

Founder of the Lund Vision Group in 1990, Pr. Nelson has, former a cheerful and creative research environment in a lab of about 30 people. The expertise covers most aspects of visual ecology and eye evolution across the entire animal kingdom. Physics has been the foundation for understanding of this work. The visual system is almost pure optics and electronics in a biological packing. The enormous diversity of eye designs is breathtaking, evolving to meet different demands in different animals.
Animal visual systems offer a rich selection of finished and ongoing evolutionary experiments. Work includes projects upon computational visual ecology, the evolution of vision, measuring visual scenes and habitats, primitive eyes, and low-resolution vision, seeing through animal eyes, as well as visual fields of vertebrate and cephalopod eyes
Pr. Nillson's Research

Professor Sönke Johnsen, PhD

Principal Investigator, Johnsen Lab, Duke University NC

Visual Ecology book wins Best Biology Text from the Association of American Publishers
Optics of Life book is listed as one of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles
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Teal Kiwana

Nobuaki Ochi, PhD

Associate Professor, Environmental Education, Toyo University (Tokyo)

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Ben Potter

Marc Branham, PhD

Associate Professor, Insect Systematics and Taxonomy
University of Florida

Dr. Branham's lab is oriented around research in insect phylogenetic systematics (both molecular and morphological) and the study and description of morphological variation as it relates to taxonomy and systematics. Broadly interested in the evolution of insect mating systems, Dr. Branham is specifically interested in the use of phylogenetic reconstructions to explore the evolution of sexual communication in fireflies (Lampyridae).
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Ken Yeang

Jeff Lamie

Susan Goodridge

Manager, Water Quality Lab
Georgia Aquarium

STEAM Presentation/Aquatic Husbandry

Brett Seymoure, PhD

Visual and Behavioral Ecologist, National Park Service Night Skies
Postdoctoral Fellow, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO.

Visual and Behavioral Ecologist, National Park Service Night Skies Postdoctoral Fellow, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO. Dr. Seymour studies how animals are affected by both natural and artificial lighting at many different levels ranging from rainforest lighting in butterflies to oil development lighting on mammalian carnivores.
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Vanessa Pirotta

Vanessa's research is focused on marine megafauna conservation by investigating interactions with anthropogenic activities. Vanessa has conducted whale research in a variety of locations including Australia, Tonga and Antarctica.

Avalon Owens

Avalon Owens is a PhD candidate in insect conservation at Tufts University, where she investigates the impact of light pollution on firefly courtship and population persistence. She earned her Masters degree in Entomology from National Taiwan University, and is the designer and current webmaster of the Fireflyers International Network website.

Blaine Davis

Blaine is based in New York City where we works in Investment Management for Lake End Capital LLC, and Consulting at FactSet Research Systems. He is committed to educating the general public in regards to photobiology and animal welfare, and has a focus regarding fundraising for research purposes.

Jeremy Kasile Goldberg

Jeremy is interested in the prudent and efficient use of technology, as a means to maximize collective well-being. He is a native of northern California, has lived in or travelled through more than seventy countries, and now resides outside of New York City.
A graduate of Stanford University and Harvard Law School, Jeremy has worked as a transactional lawyer since 2010.

Kanako Tomisawa

Hazel Sangalang

Global Program Director

Hazel Sangalang is ZLI's Global Program Director, responsible for fundraising, special events, education programs, and communicating with stakeholders. Hazel comes to ZLI with ten years of nonprofit experience in fundraising and program administration. She is also the owner of the Feisty Pepper, a local CSA, and is an advocate for small farmers and the local food movement.

Tesia Lin

Intern - 'Light, Environment and Cultures'

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