Christy McCain Headshot
Ph.D., University of Kansas, 2003 • Professor & CU Museum Curator of Vertebrates

Bruce Curtis E190C (office)
Bruce Curtis E266 (lab)

Research Interests

I am interested in the mechanisms producing and maintaining patterns of species distribution, abundance, and diversity. To address these processes, I consider three levels of ecological organization to be equally important: species-level autecology, population-level dynamics, and community-level processes and interactions. My research so far has highlighted small mammal range dynamics, abundance patterns across altitudinal ranges, and species richness patterns along latitudinal and elevational gradients. I particularly exploit mountain systems as natural experiments to look at how evolutionary history, ecological processes, and future climate change influence species populations. My overarching goal is to strive for quantitative, general theories applicable to both the advancement of ecology and the improvement of our conservation strategies. I use multiple tools at various spatial scales to address research questions, including field studies, synthesis of collection and historical data, comparative analyses, null models, GIS, and simulation modeling.

Selected Publications

Grytnes, J. A. and C. M. McCain. In press (invited article). Elevational patterns in species richness. Encyclopedia of Biodiversity (S. Levin, editor), Elsevier, Inc.

McCain, C. M., R. M. Timm, and M. Weksler. 2007. Sigmodontomys aphrastus: Redescription, taxonomic comparison, and natural history. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 120:117