BA, Integrative Biology, University of California at Berkeley (1993)
MS, Evolutionary Biology, San Diego State University (2000).
PhD, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Univ. of Connecticut (2005)
Postdoctoral Fellow, Cornell University (2006-2008)
Geneticist, USGS San Diego Field Station (2008 – present)
My research interests fall under the general realm of evolutionary biology and developed out of a childhood curiosity in the natural history of lizards and snakes. I have found it difficult to restrict my work to one particular area of research or taxon because my interests are so varied, but most of my projects have a phylogenetic or population genetic component and nearly always involve a reptile or amphibian of some sort (although recently I have begun to delve into the fish world).
My Master’s thesis and PhD dissertation involved studies on the speciation of a geographically widespread group of western North American lizards known as the Plestiodon skiltonianus species group. I used a variety of data (behavioral, morphological, phylogenetic, and population genetic) and experimental approaches to determine how populations within this group have evolved into new species, with emphasis on the evolution of premating reproductive isolation barriers. Studying speciation in these lizards remains one of my great passions; although I have set this work aside in recent years to pursue other interests, I intend to make it more of a focus in my research program at the USGS in the near future.
As a postdoctoral researcher, I explored the molecular characterization and evolution of major histocompatibility genes in frogs that are currently threatened by the chytrid fungus, with the intent of discovering genetic correlates of resistance or susceptibility to chytridiomycosis (the disease caused by the chytrid fungus). Much work remains to be done in this area, as little is known about the genes that may be involved in the response to chytrid infections. We have a funding proposal (USGS) in review to study the evolution of major histocompatibility genes in ranid frogs (Rana draytonii and R. muscosa) in southern California, where current populations likely represent surviving remnants of historical chytrid outbreaks.
As a USGS scientist, I am involved in a number of on-going research projects, most of which involve using genetic data to assist in the conservation management of threatened or endangered species. Some of the taxa I am currently working on are Alameda whipsnakes (Masticophis lateralis euryxanthus), unarmored threespine stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus williamsoni), Pacific Island skinks in the genus Emoia, Santa Ana suckers (Catostomus santaanae), blunt-nosed leopard lizards (Gambelia sila), and coachwhips (Masticophis flagellum). I am also leading a project that is exploring the use of a biological agent against an invasive population of Brown treesnakes (Boiga irregularis) on the Pacific Island of Guam.
Current Research Projects
Population genetics of the California red-legged frog (Rana draytonii): Identifying source populations for re-establishment sites in southern California and assessing the affects of wildfire on genetic diversity
Quantitative assessment of population genetic structure and historical phylogeography of the Alameda Whipsnake Masticophis lateralis euryxanthus
Origin and genetic affinities of threespine stickleback populations in the Santa Clara and Ventura Rivers, Los Angeles and Ventura Counties, CA
A phylogenetic strategy for identifying a biological control agent for non-native populations of the Brown Treesnake (Boiga irregularis)
Assessing population structure, genetic diversity, and sources of introduced populations of the threatened Santa Ana sucker (Catostomus santaanae)
Patterns of evolutionary diversification in South Pacific scincid lizards of the genus Emoia based on nuclear and mitochondrial DNA sequence data
Project Summary: Quantitative assessment of population genetic structure and historical phylogeography of the Alameda Whipsnake Masticophis lateralis euryxanthus
Project Summary: Origin and genetic affinities of threespine stickleback populations in the Santa Clara and Ventura Rivers, Los Angeles and Ventura Counties, CA
Some of my publications
Richmond, J. Q., E. L. Jockusch, and A. M. Latimer. 2011. Mechanical reproductive isolation facilitates parallel speciation in western North American scincid lizards. Anerican Naturalist 178(3):320-332.
Kiemnec-Tyburczy, K., J. Richmond, A. Savage, and K. Zamudio. 2010. Selection, trans-species polymorphism, and locus identification of major histocompatibility complex class IIβ alleles of New World ranid frogs. Immunogenetics 62:741-751.
Richmond, J. Q., A. E. Savage, K. Z. Zamudio, and E. B. Rosenblum. 2008. Toward immunogenetic studies of amphibian chytridiomycosis: linking innate and acquired immunity. BioScience 59:311-320.
Richmond, J. Q., D. T. Reid, K. G. Ashton, and K. R. Zamudio. 2008. Delayed genetic effects of habitat fragmentation on the ecologically specialized Florida sand skink (Plestiodon reynoldsi). Conservation Genetics 10:1281-1297.
Richmond, J. Q., and E. L. Jockusch. 2007. Body size evolution simultaneously creates and collapses species boundaries in a clade of scincid lizards. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 274:1701-1708.