Rebecca Atkins

 Rebecca Atkins
Mentor: Dr. Brian Silliman
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
 
"I love the opportunity to explore my interests in greater depth. Working in a lab is crucial for professional development and obtaining valuable skills (critical thinking, technical experience, etc.) that will help you later in life. My research experiences thus far have given me unique insight into science, academia and the direction I would like to go in after graduation."

Major

Wildlife Ecology and Conservation

Minor

Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences

Research Interests

  • Biodiversity
  • Ecosystem Functioning
  • Fisheries Assessment

Academic Awards

  • College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Scholarship
  • UF Honors Program
  • CALS Upper Division Honors Program
  • Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation's Jennings Scholarship

Organizations

  • The Wildlife Society
  • The Office of Sustainability

Volunteer

  • N/A

Hobbies and Interests

  • Art
  • Piano
  • Running
  • Reading

Research Description

Factors Influences Biodiversity in Rock Pool Communities
Species richness, the number of species in a defined area, is a key aspect of community structure and can influence the stability and magnitude of ecosystem functions (e.g., overall productivity). Understanding the determinants of species richness is therefore a critical question in ecological research. The greater variety of environmental conditions (heterogeneity) incorporated within larger areas is thought to be a major driver of such species-area (S-A) relationships. Spatial heterogeneity promotes species richness by allowing species to express niche differences and reduce competitive exclusion. Using rock pools as a model system, I hope to identify physical and biotic factors that can be linked with species richness and evenness. Comparing these factors within a range of pools will then allow me to look at the interaction between physical structure and community composition within and between pools, something that has previously not been attempted on the rocky shores.