Habitats & Climate

Kristine Grayson

Kristine Grayson, a field ecologist, is a professor in the biology department. Grayson uses the gypsy moth invasion in North America to determine how spread rates change as a species enters new habitats and climates. The project examines how future climate changes will impact the spread of invasive species.

Grayson, whose areas of expertise include population ecology and the spread of invasive forest pests, is also studying the emerald ash borer, an Asian beetle that recently invaded the Midwest likely due to accidental transport in shipping cargo.

She also specializes in amphibian and reptile conservation, including studying the eastern red-backed salamander.

“Amphibians, unfortunately, are a group in severe decline,” explains Grayson. “Over 40% of species are threatened. My research group is hoping to detect population trends in these species as well as think about how climate change plays a role. Our hope is that we can take lessons from a more common species, like the salamander, and apply it to a more endangered ones.”

She also has expertise in the tuatara, a reptile only found in New Zealand.

“Tuataras have temperature-dependent sex determination like many reptiles, so whether male or female offspring is produced is determined by the temperature of the nest. And, of course, under climate change we're studying whether there's the potential for this population to become more male-biased in the future,” Grayson said.

Contact director of media and public relations Sunni Brown at sbrown5@richmond.edu to connect with Grayson today.