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Kristine Grayson’s Lab

The overall goal of my research lab is to understand the ecology and conservation of animals in changing environments. Projects in my lab address ecological and conservation topics towards developing strategies for protecting animal populations and managing invasive species. Most of the projects in my research lab involve insect pests or amphibians and reptiles.

One of the main research systems in the lab is the invasion of the gypsy moth. Since its introduction from Europe to Massachusetts in 1869, the gypsy moth has spread over Eastern North America and represents one of the most detailed biological invasions in the world. Gypsy moth populations are characterized by dramatic cycles, where populations can synchronously increase to outbreak levels over large areas, resulting in defoliation events with extensive ecological and economic damage. We are examining the role of climate and thermal tolerance in determining the extent of southward spread and to predict future invasion potential under climate change scenarios.

Our research on amphibians and reptiles examines habitat alteration and the role of life history plasticity in minimizing the effects of environmental uncertainty on survival and population viability. We are conducting projects on a variety of species across the ecologically distinct regions of Virginia.

Current Projects

  • Southern spread potential and growth responses to high temperature in an invasive forest pest
  • Color plasticity in response to thermal environment in an agricultural pest
  • Baseline amphibian surveys in the Virginia coastal plain
  • Migratory plasticity and longevity of Eastern red-spotted newts
  • Population ecology of urban turtles
  • UR Stressed: Using salivary hormones to measure academic stress responses in campus students

For additional information, visit the Grayson lab webpage.

Current Lab Members

Nana Konadu Banahene ‘18
Kelly Brosko ‘16
Melisa Quiroga-Herrera ‘18
Andrew Levorse ‘18
Kayla Sherman ‘16
Carly Sibilia ‘17
Amber Yang ‘18
David Yarmark ‘16