Jessie Rack

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In my "free time" I run, hike, and play roller derby with the [http://www.hartfordarearollerderby.com Hartford Area Roller Derby].
 
In my "free time" I run, hike, and play roller derby with the [http://www.hartfordarearollerderby.com Hartford Area Roller Derby].
 
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I'm also on [http://www.facebook.com/jessie.rack Facebook]
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I'm also on [http://www.facebook.com/jessie.rack Facebook] and have a [http://www.jessierack.wordpress.com blog] about the interface between science and language. 
  
  

Revision as of 16:01, 21 February 2013

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Contents

Contact Information

Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
University of Connecticut
75 North Eagleville Road
Storrs, CT 06269

Office: Pharmacy/Biology 211
Phone: 860-486-6154
E-mail: jessica.rack@uconn.edu


About Me

I am currently a doctoral student at the University of Connecticut, working for Dr. Mark Urban. My research interests are broadly centered around predator-prey interactions of amphibians, specifically with respect to chemical signalling.
In my "free time" I run, hike, and play roller derby with the Hartford Area Roller Derby.
I'm also on Facebook and have a blog about the interface between science and language.


Education

Ph.D. Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
2010-present
University of Connecticut, Storrs CT

B.S. Biology
2007-2010
Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania
Research Experience: (1) Behavioral Response to Olfactory Cues in the Convict Cichlid, Amatitlania nigrofasciatum, with Dr. Simon Beeching. (2) Sexual dimorphism of electrocommunication signals across populations of weakly electric fish, Apteronotus albifrons, with Dr. Troy Smith.

B.A. Music
2000-2005
West Virginia University


Dissertation Research

My dissertation research focuses on answering questions regarding the behavioral responses of spotted salamander larvae (Ambystoma maculatum) to chemical cues from one of its natural predators, the red-spotted newt, Notophthalmus viridescens. First, I will determine (1) if prey behavior differs in response to local predator chemical cues versus cues from a series of geographically stratified populations of the same predator species and (2) whether larvae can distinguish among predator chemical cues when predator origin is held constant and origin of predator diet (spotted salamander larvae) is varied. I also will (3) take a closer look at the identity of the red-spotted newt chemical cue, with the prediction that it will be the endogenous toxin tetrodotoxin (TTX) or a TTX analogue. Other newt species are known to use TTX as an intraspecific signal of cannibalistic predation risk, and though TTX is found in the red-spotted newt, it has not been tested as a chemical signal. Finally, I plan to (4) separate the effects of environment from genetics in red-spotted newts by performing a predator transplant experiment, in which predators will be raised in environments other than their natal environment, and effects on cue production tested with spotted salamander behavioral experiments. This research will examine whether prey can evolve to recognize the specific chemical cues released by the local predator population, which, if it conveyed higher relative fitness in the prey animal’s local environment, would be evidence for local adaptation. This work will add to an understanding of the evolution of predator-prey interactions in an aquatic environment.

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Teaching Experience

EEB 3247 - Limnology: Fall 2011
BIO 1102 - Foundations of Biology: Fall 2010 and Spring 2011


Publications

Ho, WW, JM Rack and GT Smith. Divergence in androgen sensitivity contributes to population differences in sexual dimorphism of electrocommunication behavior. Hormones and Behavior 63(1):49-53.

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