Chris Ray studies and models the dynamics of plant and animal populations, focusing especially on threatened species with fragmented populations. Recent projects include hierarchical modeling of point count data on birds in western national parks, analyzing the role of metacommunity dynamics in the assembly of vernal pool plant communities, and modeling the spatial and temporal dynamics of plague in prairie ecosystems. Her long-term project involves research on the American pika, aimed at understanding climatic influences on pre-historic and recent local extinctions of this species throughout western North America.
- Denver Zoological Conservation Award, Denver Zoo, 2018
My work centers on population biology, with applications in conservation. I like data analysis and modeling but I also like fieldwork, especially at high elevations. In support of long-term research and student mentoring, I have maintained an annual study of pika demography since 1988.
- EBIO 3990: Introduction to EBIO Honors
- Course for undergraduates in independent studies moving toward the goal of graduating with Honors in EBIO. Projects focus on collection and analysis of data on the ecology of a microhabitat specialist, the American pika, including field studies and a literature review complimented by statistical analyses.
I am involved in two citizen science projects observing pika in Colorado:
PikaNet monitors pikas in the San Juan Mountains through citizen involvement.
Field courses for local nonprofits