Keeper, Reptile Discovery Center
Lauren Augustine is a herpetology keeper at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park in the Reptile Discovery Center and a Masters student at George Mason University. Her passion for reptiles and amphibians led her to University of North Carolina Asheville where she received her undergraduate degree in ecology and environmental biology. In 2006 she accepted a position with the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore working with Panamanian golden frogs, Atelopus zeteki, on Project Golden Frog and in 2008 she accepted a job in the herpetology department at the Bronx Zoo. At this time Lauren began pursuing her Masters degree and in 2011 she accepted a position with the Smithsonian National Zoological Park and began her Masters degree at George Mason University.
Her research interests include reptile cognition, reptile and amphibian nutrition, and population management. Some of her research projects include analyzing mitochondrial DNA of three closely related Asian box turtle species to inferred relatedness, examining eastern hellbender, Cryptobranchus alleganiensis, larvae nutritional parameters and studying the effects of macro and micro nutrients on the prevalence of spindly leg syndrome in golden mantilla, Mantella aurantiaca. She is currently working on her Masters research studying oocyte bound sperm in Cuban crocodile, Crocodylus rhombifer, eggs. This technique has never been use with crocodilians before and will contribute valuable insight into crocodilian captive management.