University of Florida

Dr. William W. Thatcher

Emeritus Graduate Research Professor

Research Summary

Research has focused on improving economic efficiency of the dairy cow because poor reproductive performance is a major problem experienced by dairies in Florida and throughout the U.S.

Florida has other characteristics that can limit reproductive efficiency, specifically a sub-tropical environment and the prevalence of large (>500 cows) dairies. Accordingly, research priorities have addressed implications of these characteristic features of Florida dairy production. Due to the nature of the subtropical environment, the research effort has had considerable international application. Research has also had a direct impact on the success of artificial insemination and embryo transfer programs due to efforts to synchronize estrus, control follicular development, synchronize follicle development with induced CL regression and induction of ovulation in a sequential manner that permits a timed insemination/and or embryo transfer without the need for detection of estrus. This has improved herd reproductive performance and increased net revenue per cow. The technology has been applicable to both non-heat stress and heat stress seasons.

Research efforts have concentrated primarily on two windows in the reproductive life cycle of the cow that are susceptible to disruption and amenable to control. These windows include regulation of ovarian follicular and CL development and maternal-embryonic communication during early pregnancy. Research efforts have led to a detailed understanding of the roles that nutritional status and heat stress play in affecting physiological processes controlling ovarian function and embryonic development.

His research program in cattle has been associated with ovarian follicular development, maternal-embryo interactions, and developmental approaches for regulating reproductive function to enhance production and health.  Major focus has been dealing with effects of the postpartum period, nutrition, and heat stress on ovarian follicular and corpus luteum functions and embryo survival.

Philosophy of research approach has been to first elucidate the physiological mechanisms controlling aspects of reproductive function that are amenable for manipulation to improve reproductive efficiency and then develop strategies for exploitation of this basic knowledge to develop systems to improve reproductive efficiency at the farm level. Rational and objective decisions about reproductive management can best be made when there exists a thorough understanding of the biological principles underpinning the decision paradigms.


1968, Ph.D. Physiology of Reproduction and Lactation; Minors - Physiology and Statistics, Michigan State University. Dissertation: "Physiological, Biochemical and Hormonal Factors Limiting Lactation ".
(Advisor, Dr. H. Allen Tucker, Michigan State University)

1965, M.S. (Major - Dairy, Biochemical Genetics; Minor Biochemistry, University of Maryland Thesis: "The Occurrence and Interrelationships of Milk Protein, Serum Transferrin and Blood Group Polymorphisms in Cattle ".
( Advisor, Dr. Charles A. Kiddy, USDA)

1963, B.S. Agriculture, University of Maryland, College Park

Academic Positions in the UF/Department of Animal Sciences:

1998-Present University of Florida Research Foundation Professorship, Department of Animal Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
1988 Graduate Research Professor, Department of Animal Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
1978 Professor, Physiologist, Department of Animal Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
1974 Associate Professor, Animal Physiologist, Department of Animal Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
1969 Assistant Professor, Animal Physiologist, Department of Animal Sciences,University of Florida, Gainesville, FL.

Professional Memberships

(coming soon)



William W. Thatcher, Ph.D.

PO Box 110910
Gainesville, FL 32611

2250 Shealy Dr.
Gainesville, FL 32611