Richard Tracy, Ph.D.

Richard Tracy

Contact Information


  • 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

Research Interests:

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


  • Keith A. Christian, Christopher R. Tracy, and C. Richard Tracy. 2017. Body temperatures and the thermal Environment. In: C.K. Dodd, Jr. ed. Reptile Ecology and Conservation; A handbook of techniques. Oxford University Press., Oxford.
  • Kuhn, K.M., C.M. Gienger, and C.R. Tracy. 2017. Small mammals of pyramid lake and Anaho Island (Nevada). The Southwestern Naturalist 61(1): 40–44.
  • Sandmeier, F.C., K.R. Horn, and C.R. Tracy. 2016. Temperature-independent, seasonal fluctuations in immune function of the Mojave Desert Tortoise (Gopherus agassizii). Can. J. Zool. 94: 583–590 (2016).
  • Sandmeier, F.C. and C.R. Tracy. 2014. The Metabolic Pace-of-Life Model: Incorporating Ectothermic Organisms into the Theory of Vertebrate Ecoimmunology. Integrative and Comparative Biology 54: 387–395.
  • Drake, K.K., K.E. Nussear, T.C. Esque, A.M. Barber, K.M. Vittum, P.A. Medica, C.R. Tracy, and K.W. Hunter Jr. 2013. Does translocation influence physiological stress in the desert tortoise. Animal Conservation 15:560-570.
  • Keehn, J.E., N.C. Nieto, C.R Tracy, C.M. Gienger, and C.R. Feldman. 2013. Evolution on a desert island: body size divergence between the reptiles of Nevada’s Anaho Island and the mainland around Pyramid Lake. Journal of Zoology doi:10.1111/jzo.12066
  • Lucas, A.M., C.F. Scholl, D.M. Murphy, C.R. Tracy, and M.L. Forister. 2013. Geographic distribution, habitat association, and host quality for one of the most geographically restricted butterflies in North America: Thorne’s hairstreak (Mitoura thornei). Insect Conservation and Diversity. Doi 10.1111/icad.12057
  • Gienger C.M., C.R. Tracy, L.C. Zimmerman. 2013. Thermal responses to feeding in a secretive and specialized predator (Gila monster, Heloderma suspectum) Journal of Thermal Biology 38:143 – 147.
  • Nussear, K.E., C.R. Tracy, P.A. Medica, D.S. Wilson, R.W. Marlow, P.S. Corn. 2012. Translocation as a Conservation Tool for Agassiz’s Desert Tortoises: Survivorship, Reproduction, and Movements. The Journal of Wildlife Management 76(7):1341–1353
  • S.A. duPre', S.A., C.R. Tracy, F.C. Sandmeier, K.W. Hunter. 2012. A quantitative PCR method for assessing the presence of Pasteurella testudinis DNA in nasal lavage samples from the desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii). Journal of Microbiological Methods 91: 443–447.
  • Gienger C.M., C.R. Tracy, and K.A. Nagy. 2012. Life in the Lizard Slow Lane: Gila Monsters Have Low Rates of Energy Use and Water Flux. Copeia 2014: 279–287
  • B.E. Hagerty and C.R. Tracy. 2011. A history of Mojave Desert tortoise movement: a view through the window of population genetics. Mojave National Preserve Science Newsletter 2011(1): 1-7.
  • F.C. Sandmeier, C.R. Tracy, S. DuPré, H. Mohammadpour, and K. Hunter. 2011.  Upper respiratory tract disease (URTD), mycoplasmosis, and antibody responses in the Mojave Desert tortoise, Mojave National Preserve Science Newsletter 2011(1): 8-13
  • Hagerty, B.E., K.E. Nussear, T.C. Esque, C.R. Tracy. 2011. Making molehills out of mountains: landscape genetics of the Mojave desert tortoise. Landscape Ecol, 26:267–280 DOI 10.1007/s10980-010-9550-6
  • Tracy, Christopher R., Keith A. Christian, and C. Richard Tracy.  2010. Not just small, wet, and cold:  Interacting effects of body size, skin resistance, and microclimate on thermoregulation and arboreality in frogs. Ecology 91(5), 1477–1484
  • Esque, T.C., J. P. Kaye, S. E. Eckert, L. A. DeFalco, C. R. Tracy. 2010. Short-term soil inorganic N pulse after experimental fire alters invasive and native annual plant production in a Mojave Desert shrubland, Oecologia DOI 10.1007/s00442-010-1617-1
  • Mohammadpour, H.A. , C.R. Tracy, D. Redelman, S.A. duPre’ and K.W. Hunter. 2009. Flow cytometric method for quantifying viable Mycoplasma agassizii, an agent of upper respiratory tract disease in the desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii). Letters in Applied Microbiology doi:10.1111/j.1472-765X.2010.02800.x