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Chris J. Mortensen, PhD

Chris J. Mortensen, Ph.D., is passionate about animal conservation and continues to fight to save endangered species. The idea of the All Creatures Podcast began a few years ago after he read “Has the Earth’s 6th Mass Extinction Already Arrived” in the world’s #1 scientific journal, Nature.  A very poignant article detailing the rapid loss of biodiversity around the planet. Chris realized as an educator he had an opportunity to try and make a difference. First, as a faculty member at the University of Florida he started with educating his students. Then he transformed his research from domestic animals to investigating endangered species reproductive physiology. His latest research involved Asian and African elephants, Florida manatee, Rock hyrax, White rhinoceros, to name a few.

Chris earned his doctorate from Texas A&M University with an emphasis on animal reproductive physiology. In 2015, he was awarded the Teacher of the Year award at the University of Florida and was heavily involved across campus working with a diverse cadre of faculty focused on implementing teaching innovations in the classroom. In addition, he is the instructor for the popular The Horse Course, a massive open online course offered through Coursera.

Animal behavior is an absolute passion of his. He firmly believes with the many environmental and animal crises we now find ourselves in, sound research is sorely needed to answer these challenges, and he believes educating others will be critical to a healthy and stable planet.

Angie M. Adkin, PhD

Angie Adkin, Ph.D., recently graduated from University of Florida with her Ph.D. in Animal Physiology.  Angie earned her Master’s degree investigating nutrition, reproductive physiology and offspring behavior/cognition in horses. Her Ph.D. research focused on plant-based estrogens (phytoestrogens) in animal feeds and how they may impact reproduction.

Angie spent her childhood in South Haven, Michigan, surrounded by acres of rolling farms nestled quietly near the shores of Lake Michigan. Growing up in a family of third generation fruit farmers, Angie readily developed a love for the outdoors, nature, and all creatures, great and small. Angie attended Michigan State University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in environmental biology and zoology. Always up for adventure and international exposure, she spent time traveling South America and Africa before starting her career as a zookeeper at Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, Illinois.  As a zookeeper, Angie spent seven years learning about, caring for, training, and managing many species of both exotic and domestic animals – from reptiles, to dairy cows, to zebras and camels. While at the zoo, Angie assisted with several research projects that focused on assessing the behavior and activity of sable antelope, Grevy’s zebra and Sichuan takin.

Encouraged by the ever-evolving zoo industry and its need for science-backed solutions, Angie was driven to enhance her knowledge of scientific research and ungulate physiology in order to make a positive impact on zoo animal welfare. This pursuit ultimately led her to the Animal Science program at the University of Florida. After graduating with her Doctor of Philosophy degree, Angie hopes to become a scientist, educator and a leader in the zoological community. Her ultimate goal is to implement scientific research in a zoo and/or field setting that will undoubtedly enhance current knowledge about wildlife reproduction, nutrition, welfare, management and conservation.

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