Chris Mortensen, Ph.D., is currently serving as an Assistant Professor at the University of Florida in the Department of Animal Sciences and is the Wild Discoveries Project Director. He earned his doctorate from Texas A&M University with an emphasis on reproductive physiology, his Master’s degree in Animal Science from Fresno State University and his BS in Animal Science (pre-veterinary medicine) from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Florida, he had served as a faculty member at Clemson University. In 2015, he was awarded the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Teacher of the Year award and is 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.
His laboratory conducts both applied and basic research investigating reproductive function in horses and other mammalian species. His primary area of research has focused on the influence of exercise and stress on female reproductive function, nutritive influences on mammalian reproduction and behavior, and has developed relationships with many conservation groups to investigate reproduction function in endangered species. His other main area of research has focused on investigating modern effective teaching methods for today’s students. He strongly believes that now our society is firmly entrenched in the “Information Age.” Therefore, new and novel pedagogies need to be investigated to meet the educational needs of the millennials and follow-on generations.
Animal behavior is an absolute passion of his and those of his collaborators, which led to the creation of the Wild Discoveries team. 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 students and others will be critical to a healthy and stable planet.