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


(979) 458-5099




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Paleobiology, Evolution, and Climate Laboratory
534 John Kimbrough
WFES Building, room 322
2120 TAMU
College Station, TX 77843

Dr. Lawing is an Assistant Professor 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 689 Quantitative Methods in Ecology, Evolution, and Biogeography

Selected Recent Publications

Castellanos, Adrian A., Jerry W. Huntley, Gary Voelker, A. Michelle Lawing. 2019. Environmental filtering improves ecological niche models across multiple scales. Methods in Ecology and Evolution 10: 481 – 492.

Casola, Claudio and A. Michelle Lawing. 2019. Nonrandom evolution of gene families. American Journal of Botany 106: 14 – 17.

Vermillion, Wesley A., P. David Polly, Jason J. Head, Jussi T. Eronen, and A. Michelle Lawing. 2018. Ecometrics: A trait-based approach to paleoclimate and paleoenvironmental reconstruction.  In D.A. Croft, S.W. Simpson, and D.F. Su (eds.), Methods in Paleoecology: Reconstructing Cenozoic Terrestrial Environments and Ecological Communities. Springer (Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology Series), Dordrecht.

Struminger, Rhonda, Jill Zarestky, Rachel Short, and A. Michelle Lawing. 2018. Informal STEM learning at biological field stations. Bioscience 68: 969 – 978.

Ryberg, Wade A. and A. Michelle Lawing. 2018. Genetic Consequences and management implications of climate change for the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis). pp. 123 – 153. In S. E. Henke and C. B. Eversole (eds.), American Alligators: Habitats, Behaviors, and Threats. Nova Science Publishers.

Barnosky, Anthony D., Elizabeth A. Hadly, Patrick Gonzalez, Jason Head, P. David Polly, A. Michelle Lawing, et al. 2017. Merging paleontology with conservation biology to guide the future of terrestrial ecosystems. Science 355: 6325, eaah4787.

Lawing, A. Michelleŧ, Jussi Eronenŧ, Jessica Bloisŧ, Catherine Graham, and P. David Polly. 2017. Community functional trait composition at the continental scale: the effects of non-ecological processes. Ecography 40: 651 – 663. ŧrepresents equal author contributions.

Lawing, A. Michelle, P. David Polly, Diana K. Hews, and Emília P. Martins. 2016. Miocene Climate and      Paleophylogeographic Models: A Deep Time Perspective on the Climatic Niche Evolution and Diversification of Spiny Lizards (Sceloporus). American Naturalist 188: 133 – 148.

Contact Us

We have moved! After a restructuring that occurred in January 2020, our department and the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences disbanded. From the restructuring, two new departments were formed. Visit the new departmental sites for up-to-date information. 

Learn More:
Ecology and Conservation Biology
Rangeland Wildlife and Fisheries Management

Advising for ESSM:
Advising for students in the legacy ESSM programs is now situated under AGLS Advising Center 7

Undergraduate Advising | Ann Pool
Graduate Advising | Amanda Ray

Department Resources

College of Ag and Life Sciences

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