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UF/IFAS names new Wildlife Ecology and Conservation chair


GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Eric Hellgren, a zoologist best known for his work with black bears, has been named chairman of the University of Florida’s wildlife ecology and conservation department, said Jack Payne, UF senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources.

Hellgren will start the UF job Sept. 1. He spent the last eight years as director of the Cooperative Wildlife Research Laboratory at Southern Illinois University.“Dr. Hellgren is well-respected in his field, and I’m confident he’ll be able to keep the department at the cutting edge of wildlife ecology and conservation as well as bolster it for the future,” Payne said.

UF’s department has about 30 faculty members, eight postdoctoral associates, and nearly 90 graduate students.

Hellgren said the UF wildlife ecology and conservation faculty is already known for its strength and diversity. He said he hopes to continue that trend through faculty hiring and retention, maintaining an always-modern curriculum, increasing endowments and solving logistical issues, such as the need for office space.

The presence of the Florida Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit on the UF campus is key, he said, and the department has an enviable mix of international conservation work coupled with widely recognized work on Florida wildlife issues.

Hellgren has published more than 125 peer-reviewed publications and numerous book chapters. He holds a bachelor’s degree in fishery and wildlife biology from Colorado State University, a master’s in wildlife science from Texas A&M University and a doctorate in wildlife science from Virginia Tech.



Writer:  Mickie Anderson, 352-273-3566,

Source: Eric Hellgren,