Research Programs at the Memphis Zoo

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Conservation & Research Department Team

The Memphis Zoo has a very active conservation department with six full time research positions, crossing a wide range of biological disciplines. In addition to our senior biologists, we also have a close working relationship with many academic faculty from regional universities that we have established research associate positions for similar to an adjunct arrangement.

Full Time Staff

Dr. Sinlan PooPostdoctoral Researcher

 

Beth RobertsResearch Fellow

Academic background: Ph.D. candidate in Wildlife Biology with concentration in Animal Physiology, Utah State University;  M.S. Animal Science with concentration in Reproductive Physiology, University of California, Davis; B.S. in Zoology and Animal Science, The Ohio State University.

Conservation interests: nutrition and social behavior effects on reproductive fitness, endocrinology, assisted reproductive technologies, gamete biology and cryopreservation.

Current research directions/interests: My past research has focused on efforts to understand physiological mechanism that interconnect environmental stimulus to the reproductive system in mammals, using coyotes as a model. I have studied diet effects on the relationship of reproductive and metabolic hormone fluctuations and embryo implantation rates; the connection of early postnatal litter hierarchy status on physical development and sexual maturation; and the correlation of mate choice behavior to reproductive hormones. At the Memphis Zoo, I am assisting with reproductive studies of several species including the Giant Panda. Because these animals have delayed implantation and pseudo-pregnancy, much research has focused on early determination of pregnancy in pandas. I hope to contribute to our understanding of Panda pregnancy profiles by looking at unique and new biomarkers. I am also involved in developing assisted reproductive technologies (ART) for endangered amphibians, including work to further develop and improve sperm cryopreservation and artificial fertilization techniques.  Additionally, I will head up a research team to develop sperm collection, characterization, and storage techniques for large lizard species, using the Crocodile monitor as a model. Nearly 30% of the known reptile populations are listed as endangered in the wild and many of the species in captivity reproduce poorly. We hope to use the work with Crocodile monitor as a foundation for the development of ART for this species and other endangered reptiles in this family including the Komodo dragon.

Kristin HinksonResearch Technician

 

 

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