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About Me

This is me! (And a small starfish, which is not me.)
My name is Rachel Hawkins. I'm from Tennessee and am a rising junior at Harvard, where I'm studying Organismic and Evolutionary Biology. My interests range broadly, from molecular biology and genetics to oceanography to human evolution. I didn't fully realize my love for biology until my final year of high school, so I am still wide-eyed and curious about everything the world has to offer in terms of biodiversity. I would like to study more about marine species and ecosystems, especially in the tropics.

At Harvard, you can usually find me, busy! I play percussion (snare drum and bass drum, occasionally cymbals) with the Harvard University Band, and I try to keep up with my flute playing and teach myself guitar. I live in Winthrop House, where I like to participate in IM sports like volleyball, rowing, and running. I have a job at Widener library, working in the stacks, so if you ever need an insider to help you with the ins and outs of the library system, I'm your girl. In my spare time, I like to draw, read, and sleep. Hiking, astronomy, and sewing are side hobbies of mine.

In the future, I would like to go on to further education and get a Ph.D in biology. I would ideally like to do some sort of research work or job where I can be outside and make a difference in my community and world. I have thought about medical school and becoming a doctor, but who knows what the future holds? Hopefully lots of biology.

Focal Taxon!

Scarabaeidae beetles! This is a large family of Coleoptera, the most diverse and abundant insect order.


At Lambir Hills National Park, Chris and I studied the correlation between nocturnal lizard presence and insect abundance in rainforest plots. We got to identify a lot of insects and also got some experience being in the forest at night. It's just as alive at night as during the day, if not more! We also found that the composition of insects seemed to matter more than insect abundance in correlation with lizard presence.

At Pulau Gaya, Anu, Kaz, and I examined color in fish. We were curious how strongly fish coloration, patterning, and general appearance were associated with different substrates of the areas in and around the reef at Padang Point. We found that substrate coloration did indeed play a role in association with fish coloration (as opposed to sexual selection or species recognition, for example). Patterning also strongly associated with certain types of substrates. And we got to look at lovely fish all day! ^_^

At the Maliau Basin, Nico and I studied the reproductive ecology and possible circadian rhythms of Ganoderma sp. bracket fungi which we had observed dispersing spores. While we were not able to find convincing evidence for any pattern of spore dispersal correlating with temperature or humidity during the daytime, we were able to give a rough estimate of the number of spores each fungus might be dispersing at different times of the day. We also learned a lot about fungi and spent a LOT of time counting spores.

Other Pages

Rachel's Fish Drawings from Gaya Island

Blog 1

Blog 2

Real Name: Rachel Hawkins
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