Dr. Richgels is the Chief of the Applied Wildlife Health Research Branch at the National Wildlife Health Center. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2014 and her Bachelor's degree in 2005 from the University of Wisconsin - Madison. Since joining the USGS in 2016, she has devoted her career to supporting project leaders who study wildlife diseases with the goal of helping state and federal partners better manage wildlife disease.
- Ph.D., Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Colorado at Boulder, 2014
- Certificate, GIS, University of Wisconsin - Madison, 2006
- B.NS., Wildlife Ecology, University of Wisconsin - Madison, 2005
- 2016 – Present Chief, Applied Wildlife Health Research Branch, U.S. Geological Survey, National Wildlife Health Center, Madison, WI
- 2016 – 2014 Postdoctoral Researcher, U.S. Geological Survey, National Wildlife Health Center, and University of Wisconsin – Madison, Madison, WI
- 2014 – 2011 Graduate Research Fellow, Graduate Research Fellowship Program, National Science Foundation, University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, CO
- 2011 – 2008 Teaching and Research Assistant, University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, CO
- 2006 –2007 Spatial Analyst, First American Spatial Solutions, Madison, WI
- Bsal Task Force Decision Support Team
- Interagency Committee on Invasive Terrestrial Animals and Pathogens, Invasive Pathogens Subcommittee
- Black-footed Ferret Recovery Implementation Team – Executive Committee
Science and Products
Identifying management-relevant research priorities for responding to disease-associated amphibian declines
A research priority can be defined as a knowledge gap that, if resolved, identifies the optimal course of conservation action. We (a group of geographically distributed and multidisciplinary research scientists) used tools from nominal group theory and decision analysis to collaboratively identify and prioritize information...Campbell Grant, Evan H.; Adams, M.J.; Fisher, Robert N.; Grear, Daniel A.; Halstead, Brian J.; Hossack, Blake R.; Muths, Erin L.; Richgels, Katherine L. D.; Russell, Robin E.; Smalling, Kelly; Waddle, J. Hardin; Walls, Susan C.; White, C. LeAnn
Impact of sylvatic plague vaccine on non-target small rodents in grassland ecosystems
Oral vaccination is an emerging management strategy to reduce the prevalence of high impact infectious diseases within wild animal populations. Plague is a flea-borne zoonosis of rodents that often decimates prairie dog (Cynomys spp.) colonies in the western USA. Recently, an oral sylvatic plague vaccine (SPV) was developed to protect prairie...Bron, Gebbiena M.; Richgels, Katherine L. D.; Samuel. Michael D.; Poje, Julia E.; Lorenzsonn, Faye; Matteson, Jonathan P.; Boulerice, Jesse T.; Osorio, Jorge E.; Rocke, Tonie E.
Determinants of Pseudogymnoascus destructans within bat hibernacula: Implications for surveillance and management of white-nose syndrome
Fungal diseases are an emerging global problem affecting human health, food security and biodiversity. Ability of many fungal pathogens to persist within environmental reservoirs can increase extinction risks for host species and presents challenges for disease control. Understanding factors that regulate pathogen spread and persistence in these...Verant, Michelle L.; Bohuski, Elizabeth A.; Richgels, Katherine L. D.; Olival, Kevin J.; Epstein, Jonathan H.; Blehert, David S.
Factors influencing uptake of sylvatic plague vaccine baits by prairie dogs
Sylvatic plague vaccine (SPV) is a virally vectored bait-delivered vaccine expressing Yersinia pestis antigens that can protect prairie dogs (Cynomys spp.) from plague and has potential utility as a management tool. In a large-scale 3-year field trial, SPV-laden baits containing the biomarker rhodamine B (used to determine bait consumption) were...Abbott, Rachel C.; Russell, Robin E.; Richgels, Katherine; Tripp, Daniel W.; Matchett, Marc R.; Biggins, Dean E.; Rocke, Tonie E.
Field efficacy trials with sylvatic plague vaccine
These data were collected as part of a field trial to test the efficacy of a sylvatic plague vaccine. Treatment and control sites were selected randomly from the available sites at each location. Site pairs were a minimum of 20 acres, (with a few exceptions). Prairie dog trapping took place a minimum of two weeks post-baiting and trapping...Richgels, Katherine; Russell, Robin E.; Rocke, Tonie E.
Sylvatic plague vaccine partially protects prairie dogs (Cynomys spp.) in field trials
Sylvatic plague, caused by Yersinia pestis, frequently afflicts prairie dogs (Cynomys spp.), causing population declines and local extirpations. We tested the effectiveness of bait-delivered sylvatic plague vaccine (SPV) in prairie dog colonies on 29 paired placebo and treatment plots (1–59 ha in size; average 16.9 ha) in 7 western...Rocke, Tonie E.; Tripp, Daniel W.; Russell, Robin E.; Abbott, Rachel C.; Richgels, Katherine; Matchett, Marc R.; Biggins, Dean E.; Griebel, Randall; Schroeder, Greg; Grassel, Shaun M.; Pipkin, David R.; Cordova, Jennifer; Kavalunas, Adam; Maxfield, Brian; Boulerice, Jesse T.; Miller, Michael W.
Using decision analysis to support proactive management of emerging infectious wildlife diseases
Despite calls for improved responses to emerging infectious diseases in wildlife, management is seldom considered until a disease has been detected in affected populations. Reactive approaches may limit the potential for control and increase total response costs. An alternative, proactive management framework can identify immediate actions that...Grant, Evan H. Campbell; Muths, Erin L.; Katz, Rachel A.; Canessa, Stefano; Adams, M.J.; Ballard, Jennifer R.; Berger, Lee; Briggs, Cheryl J.; Coleman, Jeremy; Gray, Matthew J.; Harris, M. Camille; Harris, Reid N.; Hossack, Blake R.; Huyvaert, Kathryn P.; Kolby, Jonathan E.; Lips, Karen R.; Lovich, Robert E.; McCallum, Hamish I.; Mendelson, Joseph R.; Nanjappa, Priya; Olson, Deanna H.; Powers, Jenny G.; Richgels, Katherine L. D.; Russell, Robin E.; Schmidt, Benedikt R.; Spitzen-van der Sluijs, Annemarieke; Watry, Mary Kay; Woodhams, Douglas C.; White, C. LeAnn
A framework for modeling emerging diseases to inform management
The rapid emergence and reemergence of zoonotic diseases requires the ability to rapidly evaluate and implement optimal management decisions. Actions to control or mitigate the effects of emerging pathogens are commonly delayed because of uncertainty in the estimates and the predicted outcomes of the control tactics. The development of models that...Russell, Robin E.; Katz, Rachel A.; Richgels, Katherine L. D.; Walsh, Daniel P.; Grant, Evan H. Campbell
Amphibian: A case definition for Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans chytridiomycosis
No abstract available.White, C. LeAnn; Forzan, Maria J.; Pessier, Allan P.; Allender, Matthew C.; Ballard, Jennifer R.; Catenazzi, Allesandro; Fenton, Heather; Martel, An; Pasmans, Frank; Miller, Debra L.; Ossiboff, Robert J.; Richgels, Katherine
Evaluation of Yersinia pestis transmission pathways for sylvatic plague in prairie dog populations in the western U.S.
Sylvatic plague, caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis, is periodically responsible for large die-offs in rodent populations that can spillover and cause human mortalities. In the western US, prairie dog populations experience nearly 100% mortality during plague outbreaks, suggesting that multiple transmission pathways combine to amplify...Richgels, Katherine L. D.; Russell, Robin E.; Bron, Gebbiena; Rocke, Tonie E.
Spatial variation in risk and consequence of Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans introduction in the USA
A newly identified fungal pathogen, Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal), is responsible for mass mortality events and severe population declines in European salamanders. The eastern USA has the highest diversity of salamanders in the world and the introduction of this pathogen is likely to be devastating. Although data are...Richgels, Katherine L. D.; Russell, Robin E.; Adams, M.J.; White, C. LeAnn; Campbell Grant, Evan H.
Salamander chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans) in the United States—Developing research, monitoring, and management strategies
The recently (2013) identified pathogenic chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal), poses a severe threat to the distribution and abundance of salamanders within the United States and Europe. Development of a response strategy for the potential, and likely, invasion of Bsal into the United States is crucial to protect global...Campbell Grant, Evan H.; Muths, Erin L.; Katz, Rachel A.; Canessa, Stefano; Adams, M.J.; Ballard, Jennifer R.; Berger, Lee; Briggs, Cheryl J.; Coleman, Jeremy; Gray, Matthew J.; Harris, M. Camille; Harris, Reid N.; Hossack, Blake R.; Huyvaert, Kathryn P.; Kolby, Jonathan E.; Lips, Karen R.; Lovich, Robert E.; McCallum, Hamish I.; Mendelson, Joseph R.; Nanjappa, Priya; Olson, Deanna H.; Powers, Jenny G.; Richgels, Katherine L. D.; Russell, Robin E.; Schmidt, Benedikt R.; Spitzen-van der Sluijs, Annemarieke; Watry, Mary Kay; Woodhams, Douglas C.; White, C. LeAnn
As wildlife diseases increase globally, an understanding of host-pathogen relationships can elucidate avenues for management and improve conservation efficacy. Amphibians are among the most threatened groups of wildlife, and disease is a major factor in global amphibian declines.