Richard Li

Graduate Student
Area of Interest: 
Invasion ecology, Species niches, Urban ecology

I am a graduate student studying invasive species at the global scale. I am interested in current and historic patterns of species invasion, and am developing workflows to link citizen science invasive occurrence datasets with global invasive species bioinformatics efforts. I am particularly interested in the environmental niches of invasive species and their temporal dynamics: a strong understanding of short and long timescale niche dynamics is critical for accurate predictions of future invasive species range expansion and impact, and efficient allocation of conservation resources.

Before Yale, I completed my undergraduate degree in environmental biology at Columbia University. I studied New York City pigeons for my senior thesis, exploring the responses of pigeons to urbanization using flight initiation distances that I collected. Since coming to Yale, I have worked as a research associate with Map of Life, helping to curate varied biodiversity datasets. I have also worked on STOAT (, a tool for the environmental annotation of biodiversity data, as both a developer and a tester.

Out of the lab, I am a passionate (but sometimes not-so-skillful) birdwatcher, with my preferred habitat being the sometimes dirty but always lively parks of New York City. I am an avid urban explorer, and enjoy long walks in the city to strange destinations, staring at weeds on the sidewalk along the way while passersby give me weird looks.

Lab Specialty Group: 
Species Spatial Modeling
Where You're From: 
United States of America
Birding, Singing, Long walks in the city, Scaring pigeons, Watching my neighbor’s chickens