Kathryn2Postdoctoral Researcher

kathryn.grabenstein [at] colorado.edu
Google Scholar Profile

Human-modified environments, such as cities, are altering species interactions and increasingly leading to human-driven hybridization (Grabenstein and Taylor 2018). This hybridization in human-altered environments highlights the power of habitat disturbances to break well-established species barriers. However, few studies have experimentally assessed how disturbances drive hybridization. Combining genomics and field studies, I investigate how disturbance modifies interactions between chickadees to promote hybridization. My work focuses on establishing a long-term study, the Boulder Chickadee Study, as an experimental framework. I construct hundreds of nest boxes alongside numerous undergraduates and lab mates, affix these boxes to Ponderosas, Spruces, Firs & Aspen throughout Boulder backyards, and then monitor the chickadee families that move in. I enjoy connecting folks to birds in their own backyards by incorporating my chickadee research into as many outreach and mentorship opportunities throughout Boulder County as possible. In that vein, I am dedicated to increasing diversity and inclusion within STEM fields more broadly, as well as within the ornithology community, by actively mentoring fledgling female ornithologists, as well as folks from underrepresented groups.


Select publications:

Grabenstein KC, Burg T, Otter K, Taylor SA. Sympatry leads to reduced body condition in chickadees that occasionally hybridize. Ecology and Evolution. Accepted. 

Theodosopoulos AN, Grabenstein KC, Bensch S, Taylor SA. A highly invasive malaria parasite has expanded its range to non-migratory birds in North America. Biology Letters. 17: 20210271. https://doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2021.0271

Feldmann KB, Grabenstein KC, Taylor SA. Achromatic plumage variation between and within hybridizing black-capped and mountain chickadees. Journal of Field Ornithology.  92:184–202. DOI: 10.1111/jofo.12368

Grabenstein KC, Taylor SA. 2018. Breaking Barriers: Causes, Consequences, and Experimental Utility of Human-Mediated Hybridization. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 33(3), 198–212. doi.org/10.1016/J.TREE.2017.12.008 

Schroeter, I., Forrester, C., Brigham, L., Fried, E., Grabenstein, K., Karban, C., & McDermott, M. (2019). Diverging from the Dogma: A Call to Train Creative Thinkers in Science. Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America, 100(1), 1-7. www.jstor.org/stable/26554306