Meredith J Bashaw Professor of Psychology, Department Chair of Psychology




Ph.D., Georgia Institute of Technology, 2003 (Experimental Psychology, Minor in Biology)

M.S., Georgia Institute of Technology, 2000 (Psychology)

B.S., Duke University, 1997 (Biology and Religion)


I am an animal welfare scientist who seeks to understand how animals respond to living in human care. My particular expertise is the care and welfare of exotic animals - that is, animals like giraffe and rattlesnakes that haven't been bred for generations to live with humans.  My research revolves around four central questions:

·       What interactions among animals' behavior, social relationships, physiology, and present and past environments are important for determining an animal's welfare state?

·       What is the best way to measure animal welfare?  To what degree do individuals in the same environment experience different welfare states?

·       How can we shape animals physical and social environments, including their interactions with humans, to improve the welfare of zoo animals?

·        What psychological theories or aspects of an animal's natural history provide insights into which changes will be most effective? 

My research links non-invasive hormone analysis with behavioral observation to explore animals' responses to captive environments.  I am particularly interested in how social relationships among animals and stress-related physiological systems are affected by captivity.  I study animals housed at F&M and partner with accredited zoos to gain access to species that cannot be housed in the laboratory.

Selected Publications

Edited Volume

Kaufman, A., Bashaw, M.J., Maple, T.L. (Eds.). (2019).  Scientific Foundations of Zoos and Aquariums: Their role in conservation and research.  Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles (undergraduate student authors appear in italics)

Ramis, F., Mohr, M., Kohn, G., Gibson, Q., Bashaw, M., Maloney, D., Maple, T. (2020). Spatial design of guest feeding programs and their effects on giraffe participation and social interactions. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science. Epub ahead of print. doi: 10.1080/10888705.2020.1824787

Fanson, K.V., Best, E.C., Bunce, A., Fanson, B.G., Hogan, L.A., Keeley, T., Narayan, E.J., Palme, R., Parrott M.L., Sharp, T.M., Skogvold, K., Tuthill. L., Webster, K.N., & Bashaw, M.J. (2017).  One size does not fit all: Monitoring faecal glucocorticoid metabolites in marsupials. General and Comparative Endocrinology, 244, 146-56.

Bashaw, M.J., Gibson, M.D., Schowe, D.G., Kucher, A.S. (2016). Does enrichment improve reptile welfare? Leopard geckos (Eublepharis macularius) respond to five types of environmental enrichment.  Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 184, 150-160. doi: 10.1016/j.applanim.2016.08.003.

Bashaw, M.J., Sicks, F., Palme, R., Schwarzenberger, F., Tordiffe, A.S.W., & Ganswindt, A. (2016). Non-invasive assessment of adrenocortical activity as a measure of stress in giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis). BMC Veterinary Research 12, 235. doi: 10.1186/s12917-016-0864-8.


Martinez-Silvestre, A., & Warwick, C. (in press). Miscellaneous factors. In C. Warwick, P.C. Arena, G. & Burghardt (Eds.) Health and Welfare of Captive Reptiles (2nd Ed, pp. TBD). New York: Springer Nature.

Allard, S.M., & Bashaw, M.J. (2019). Empowering zoo animals. In: A. Kaufman, M.J. Bashaw, T.L. Maple (Eds.) Scientific Foundations of Zoos and Aquariums: Their Role in Conservation and Research (pp. 241-273 ).  Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Bashaw, M.J. (2019). Creating a giraffic park: Design and management ideas for optimal giraffe wellness.  In V. D. Segura, D. L. Forthman, T. L. Maple (Eds.): Wellness for Elephants. Fernandina Beach, FL: Red Leaf Press.