University of Richmond biology professor Kristine Grayson awarded National Science Foundation grant for invasion ecology research

August 10, 2017

Gypsy MothKristine Grayson, assistant professor of biology, will serve as the lead investigator for a collaborative project researching the impact of climate change on the gypsy moth invasion. The two-year project, “Linking Thermal Tolerance to Invasion Dynamics: Climate and Physiological Capacity as Regulators of Geographical Spread,” will be funded by the National Science Foundation.

The research funded by this grant uses the gypsy moth invasion in North America to determine how spread rates change as a species enters new habitats and climates. The project will also examine how future climate changes will impact whether invasive species expand or contract their ranges.

Grayson says she and her collaborators “will provide a regional-scale framework for understanding the contribution of physiological performance to structuring the range limit of a species and the invasion potential of nonnative species.”

Grayson’s partners on the project are Salvatore Agosta at Virginia Commonwealth University and Dylan Parry at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. The funding includes support for undergraduate research experiences for two students, one each from UR and VCU.

Grayson has taught at Richmond since 2015. She received her bachelor’s degree from Davidson College and completed her Ph.D. at the University of Virginia.

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The National Science Foundation MacroSystems Biology and Early NEON Science: Research on Biological Systems at Regional to Continental Scales program solicits proposals that “address the scales where the ecological research challenges are the greatest and where research has the greatest potential to transform the field of ecology by addressing issues that have long hindered development of large-scale ecological research.” For more information, visit the NSF website.