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Our Team

Preserving our planet’s biodiversity is guided by knowledge of facts gained from scientific inquiry. Whether managing a forest ecosystem, restoring a disturbed habitat, or increasing the number of individuals of an endangered species, all actions are the result of dedicated people with exceptional skills who are devoting their lives to the endeavor. Without talented people there is no conservation. Here are the scientists who make up the Memphis Zoo’s Conservation and Research Team.

Dr. Steve Reichling

Curator of Reptiles, Amphibians, Aquatics, and Small Mammals

Dr. Steve Reichling is Curator of Reptiles, Amphibians, Aquatics, and Small Mammals at the Memphis Zoo. Although heavily involved in the captive management of animals, he also pursues ecological studies in the field, leading him on numerous trips to Central America and the Lesser Antilles. One of his primary focuses is the herpetofauna of the longleaf pine ecosystems in the southeastern United States, summarized in his book Reptiles and Amphibians of the Southern Pine Woods, and he directs conservation programs for the Endangered dusky gopher frog and Louisiana pine snake. In addition to herpetology, he is intensely interested in tarantulas and related primitive spiders, and has been studying them in Belize and Guatemala for many years, resulting in his book Tarantulas of Belize. He received his PhD from the University of Memphis after examining the relationship between maternal care by tarantulas and phenotypic plasticity in the spiderling. He also studies the phylogenetics of tarantulas and has discovered and described a number of new genera and species, and a genus of neotropical pygmy tarantula, Reichlingia, was named after him.

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