Dr. Michelle Lawing



Assistant Professor


Climate change biology, paleobiogeography, morphometrics


Ph.D. Indiana University, Double Major
-Evolution, Ecology & Behavior
-Geological Sciences
M.S. University of Texas, Arlington - Biology
B.S. University of Texas, Arlington - Biology






Spatial Sciences Laboratory
534 John Kimbrough
WFES Building, room 322
2120 TAMU
College Station, TX 77843

Dr. Lawing is an Assistant Professor in Spatial Sciences in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management. She uses methods and models from modern ecology and evolutionary biology combined with evidence from the fossil record to inform our understanding of how species and communities respond to environmental change through time. Her work includes the investigation of geographic, evolutionary, and morphological responses of species and communities to environmental changes in the Late Pleistocene and throughout the Miocene to present. She is involved in developing species distribution models (SDM), geometric morphometric methods (GMM), and phylogenetic comparative methods (PCM). Before becoming an Assistant Professor in Spatial Sciences, Dr. Lawing was a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS).

ESSM 462 Advanced GIS Analysis for Natural Resource Management.
ESSM 464 Spatial Project Management
ESSM 6XX Modeling Ecological Niches and Species Distributions

Selected Publications

-Lawing, A. Michelle and Nicholas Matzke. In review. Conservation paleobiology needs phylogenetic methods. Ecography

-Rödder, Dennis*, A. Michelle Lawing*, Morris Flecks, Faraham Ahmadzadeh, Johannes Dambach, Jan O. Engler, Jan Christian Habel, Timo Hartmann, David Hörnes, Flora Ihlow, Kathrin Schidelko, Darius Stiels, and P. David Polly. 2013. Evaluating the significance of paleophylogeographic species distribution models in reconstructing Quaternary range-shifts of Nearctic Chelonians. PLoS ONE 8:e72855. *indicates co-first author

-Polly, P. David, A. Michelle Lawing, Anne-Claire Fabre, and Anjali Goswami. 2013. Phylogenetic principal components analysis and geometric morphometrics. Hystrix, the Italian Journal of Mammalogy 24 (Online first) doi:10.4404/hystrix-24.1-9.

-Lawing, A. Michelle, Jason J. Head, and P. David Polly. 2012. The ecology of morphology: the ecometrics of locomotion and macroenvironment in North American snakes. Pp. 117-146 in J. Louys (ed.), Palaeontology in Ecology and Conservation. Springer-Verlag, Berlin and Heidelberg.

-Lawing, A. Michelle and P. David Polly. 2011. Pleistocene climate and phylogeny predict 21st century changes in rattlesnake distributions. PLoS ONE 6: e28554.

-Lawing, A. Michelle and P. David Polly. 2010. Geometric morphometrics: Recent applications to the study of evolution and development. Journal of Zoology 280: 1-7.

-Lawing, A. Michelle, Jesse M. Meik, and Walter Schargel. 2008. Coding meristic characters for phylogenetic analysis: a comparison of step-matrix gap-weighting and generalized frequency coding. Systematic Biology 57: 167–173.

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College of Ag and Life Sciences

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