Rachel Krauss

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Undergraduate researcher

BioPharm 323


Rachel Krauss (BS/MS May 2009) was trained by Co-PI John Cooley to geo-reference historic cicada collections during the Fall of 2008 and her work contributed to the publication of a detailed map of the distribution of 17-year cicada Brood X. In the spring of 2009, technician Kathy Hill taught Rachel to extract, amplify and sequence DNA. In addition, she taught Rachel to use MacClade to align sequence data, and PAUP* to conduct phylogenetic analyses. During her time in the lab, Rachel learned molecular systematics theory from PI Chris Simon in weekly meetings in the fall of 2008 and the second half of the spring semester of 2009. For her undergraduate research project, Rachel examined the phylogeny of the Australian genus Gudanga. She sequenced 21 Gudanga for the nuclear gene EF1a and the mtDNA genes COI and COII, and then constructed phylogenetic trees from these data. She learned to clear cicada genitalia and photograph them using the Automontage camera system. She prepared tentative species descriptions for the three putative new species from Western Australia revealed by song and/or DNA phylogenetic analysis and created a key to the species of the genus. Rachel presented her work at the UConn Frontiers in Undergraduate Research poster session and submitted a research report as part of her BSMS degree requiremets. Her research will also contribute towards papers on the genus Gudanga in prep. After graduation, Rachel accepted a research internship in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park with Dr. David Foote studying the impact of invasive species on the native biota. Following the successful completion of that project she undertook 6-week research internships working for Lynn Alder and Paige Warren from UMass-Amherst to study the effects of suburbanization on plant-insect interactions in the Carolina Yellow Jasmine. Her next 6-week internship focused on Red Knot migration research along the Virginia Shore, including mist-netting, banding, and radio telemetry. Finally she moved to Carlsbad, New Mexico to work for the BLM as a land management intern studying sand lizard management, and was lured away to work as a technician with the National Park Service at Carlsbad Caverns to complete a Hymenoptera survey. In the summer of 2012, Rachel starting working as field validation specialist with NSFs NEON project in Boulder, CO. Rachel is using remote sensing imagery and field site visits to determine plot locations for sampling.
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