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Rachel is a 2nd-year PhD student, studying grasshoppers in the Australian Alps. Before starting her PhD, Rachel completed a BSc at the Australian National University in 2010, with an Honours thesis on the fascinating mating behaviour of tropical fiddler crabs. Despite thoroughly enjoying the tropics, her long-held interest in alpine ecosystems drew her back to the mountains. She is interested in range limits and population connectivity, and the role that thermal tolerance plays in defining distributions. She also hopes to examine the effects of snow cover and soil temperature on egg survival. This will be an important step in tying together predictions that snow cover will decrease under climate change, studies showing that reduced snow cover increases soil freezing, and ecological impacts of changing soil temperature. Her results will assist in understanding what capacity grasshoppers have to buffer or adapt to the effects of global warming, and whether these species might serve as useful indicators of ecosystem trends.
Awards / Achievements:
Georgina Sweet Award 2013
Hermon Slade Foundation grant (with Nik Tatarnic and Hojun Song) 2013-2016
Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment student grant 2012-2014
Orthopterists’ Society student research grant
VEAC Bill Borthwick Scholarship
Schoville, S. D, Slatyer, R. A., Bergdahl, J. C., Valdez, G. A. (2015) Conserved and narrow temperature limits in alpine insects: thermal tolerance and supercooling points of the ice-crawlers, Grylloblatta (Insecta: Grylloblattodea: Grylloblattidae), Journal of Insect Physiology, 78: 55-61.
Endo, Y., Nash, M.A., Hoffmann, A.A., Slatyer, R.A., Miller, A.D (2015) Comparative phylogeography of alpine invertebrates indicates deep lineage diversification and historical refugia in the Australian Alps, Journal of Biogeography, 42(1): 89-102.
Slatyer, R. A., Nash, M. A., Miller, A. D., Endo, Y., Umbers, D. L., Hoffmann, A.A. (2014) Strong genetic structure corresponds to small-scale geographic breaks in the Australian alpine grasshopper Kosciuscola tristis, BMC Evolutionary Biology, 14(1), 204.
Slatyer, R.A., Hirst, M., Sexton, J.P. (2013) Niche breadth predicts range size: a general ecological pattern, Ecology Letters, 16:1104-1114
Slatyer, R.A., Jennions, M.D., Backwell, P.R.Y. (2012) Polyandry occurs because females initially trade sex for protection, Animal Behaviour, 83:1203-1206
Slatyer, R.A., Mautz, B., Backwell, P.R.Y., & Jennions, M.D. (2012) Estimating the genetic benefits of cryptic female choice: a meta-analysis of polyandry experiments, Biological Reviews, 87: 1-33
Slatyer, R.A., Fok, E.S.Y., Hocking, R. & Backwell, P.R.Y. (2008) Why do fiddler crabs build chimneys, Biology Letters, 4(6): 616-618