Rikke Kvist Preisler

Current Position: Post-Doc,  National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR)

Contact Information


Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve
1700 Elkhorn Road, Watsonville, CA 95076
phone: 831-728-2822 / fax: 831-728-1056



PhD University of California, Santa Cruz (2009)

BS University of California, Santa Cruz

AA biology, De Anza College, Cupertino, California

Research Interests

My interests are biogeographic variation in life history traits and species interactions of species with large geographic ranges. More specifically, I’m interested in how genetic diversity, lifehistory traits and behavior differ between invaded and native ranges of the European green crab, Carcinus maenas. The focus of my research is to develop and compare different indicators of invasion success and characterize variation in these indicators at a biogeographic scale. Results from crab monitoring in Elkhorn Slough, California have shown that while relative abundances of native crabs have been declining since 2001, relative abundance of the European green crab has been increasing. This intriguing pattern has brought to our attention that the invasion success of the European green crab is highly variable in different estuaries and bays. I am quantifying and comparing success of the green crab in estuaries and bays on the US West Coast, the US East Coast, and in Europe by measuring variation in abundance, morphology, and behavior of the European green crab. Many invasive species studies focus on one aspect of the invader or the invaded community, in one area. Instead of this depth of focus, I aim for breadth, both geographically and in rapid assessment of multiple attributes of the invasive species and the communities it is found in. From the results of this study we will enhance our understanding of the complex ecological interactions that drive invasion success or failure. I investigate whether behavioral traits and native/non-native crab interactions affect invasion success, and consequently will be able to provide coastal and reserve managers with key tools for predicting invasion patterns and identifying areas vulnerable to invasion.