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Christopher Richardson

Instructor of Biology

Faculty Christopher Richardson

Chris Richardson received his BS from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his Ph.D. from Boston University. His research interests are the physiological ecology and evolutionary physiology of small mammals. At Lesley, he teaches the following courses: Evolution and History of Life, Genetics and Ethics, Biology 2 with laboratory, Infectious Diseases, Applied Ecology, Research Experiences in the Natural Sciences Undergraduate Course, Anatomy and Physiology 1

Chris has investigated the role of intraspecific variation in hormones such as thyroid, leptin, and cortisol on intraspecific (evolutionary vs. non-evolutionary based) variation in a temperate bat species. His research has focused on addressing proximate (i.e., non-evolutionary) factors or underlying mechanisms that influence physiological traits in small mammals. He's interested in how energy use, such as metabolic rate, affects immune function, thermoregulation, and reproduction.

In the last five years, he has become interested in the energetic cost of immune function and the relationship between immune function and metabolism. Currently, he's investigating how the energetic cost of immune function in Myotis lucifugus (little brown myotis) and Eptesicus fuscus (big brown bats) affects the immune response and recovery to White Nose Syndrome (a fungal disease which has killed millions of bats in North America) in those two bat species and its impact on reproduction. This study has involved Lesley students as well as other students in the Boston area.

Additionally, he's now leading research at Mount Auburn Cemetery on the diversity and activity of bat species as part of a broader study on biodiversity involving several Lesley faculty researchers and Lesley students.


Richardson, C.S., T. Heeren, and T.H. Kunz. 2018. Seasonal and sexual variation in metabolism, thermoregulation and hormones in the the big brown bat (Eptesicus fuscus). Physiological and Biochemical Zoology 91:705–715. Electronically published 11/20/2017.

Richardson, C.S., T. Heeren, E.P. Widmaier, and T.H. Kunz. 2009. Macro- and microgeographic variation in metabolism and hormone correlates in big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus). Physiological and Biochemical Zoology 82:798-811.

Allen, L.C., C.S. Richardson, G.F. McCracken, and T.H. Kunz. 2009. Birth size and postnatal growth in cave- and bridge-roosting Brazilian free-tailed bats. Journal of Zoology 280:8-16.

Richardson, C.S., M.G. Hohmann, T.H. Kunz, B.D. Shaller, and E.P. Widmaier. 2008. A simplified, non-invasive, and reproducible approach to monitoring stress in endangered bats using fecal cortisol assays (ABSTRACT). Published for Ecological Society of America meeting, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Baptista, T.L., C.S. Richardson, and T.H. Kunz. 2000. Growth rates and age estimation in free-ranging bats: a comparison of longitudinal and cross-sectional sampling methods. Journal of Mammalogy 81:709-718.

Kronfeld-Schor, N., C.S. Richardson, B.A. Silva, T.H. Kunz, and E.P. Widmaier. 2000. Dissociation of leptin secretion and adiposity during prehibernatory fattening in little brown bats. American Journal of Physiology (Regulatory Integrative Comparative Physiology) 279:R1277-R1281.

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