Rebecca Rundell

Rebecca received her Ph.D. in Evolutionary Biology in 2008.

Current Position: George Gaylord Simpson Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona

Rebecca Rundell’s research focuses on the conservation, evolution and biogeography of Pacific island land snails. Land snails are undergoing a global decline, and land snails from Pacific islands are among the most threatened animals on Earth. Despite tremendous species richness within Pacific land snail faunas, and the large number of species awaiting description, few Pacific land snail experts exist. Rebecca’s research is therefore aimed at enumerating and understanding land snail species richness within Micronesia, focusing on the island nation of Palau, which comprises 586 islands. She is elucidating relationships among species, and exploring the determinants of diversity using ecological and biogeographical data. Rebecca has discovered nearly 100 species that are new to science, and is working with local agencies (including the Palau Conservation Society; the Palau Office of the President’s Office of Environmental Response and Coordination; and Belau Cares, Inc.) to manage Palau’s land snail diversity and figure out how these animals may be used as ecological indicators to monitor forest health.