Richard Tracy in a lab with a student holding a toad.

Richard Tracy, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus


My research interests and experience include descriptive ecology, ethology, organismal biology, population biology, evolutionary biology, biophysical ecology, theoretical ecology, and conservation biology. Some of my particular research interests include

  1. relationships with, and evolutionary adaptations to, limiting and/or influential factors of the environment. I am interested in the physics of interaction, the physiological and behavioral adaptations to interactions, and the ecological and evolutionary significance of such adaptations as well as the mechanistic function of the adaptations and the conservation consequences of organism-environment interactions.
  2. Time and space utilization, sharing and interrelationships among animals. The ecological importance of Grinnellian Niches in organisms, and the autecological function of these niche relationships in determining distribution, dispersion, dispersal, and population fluctuations. Interrelationships of competitive, predational, and physical environmental influences on the structure of animal populations and communities.
  3. Ecology and conservation of reptilian herbivores.
  4. Design of organisms.
  5. Paleobiology and extinction processes.
  6. Desert biology, ecology, and conservation.
  7. Conservation biology.
  8. Conservation planning and injecting science into policy


  • B.A., Biology, California State University, Northridge, 1966
  • M.S., Biology, California State University, Northridge, 1968
  • Ph.D., Major Zoology, Minor Botany, University of Wisconsin, 1972