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 Lymantria dispar (previously called gypsy moth). Since its introduction from Europe to Massachusetts in 1869, this species has spread over Eastern North America and represents one of the most detailed biological invasions in the world. Populations of these moths 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

  • Spread potential and growth in response to temperature extremes in an invasive forest pest
  • Population ecology of a forest salamander
  • Baseline amphibian surveys in the Virginia coastal plain
  • Migratory plasticity and longevity of Eastern red-spotted newts
  • Population ecology of urban turtles

For additional information, visit the Grayson lab webpage.

Current Lab Members

Taylor Aliferis ‘21
Petra Hafker ‘21
Maddie Hair ‘21
Meghan Leber ‘20
Dana Morcillo ‘20
Robert Ostrom ‘20
Khalea Sanchez ‘19
Amelia Tedesco ‘19