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Rachel Short

Rachel Short


Assistant Professor and Wizipan Program Coordinator

Office Building


Mailing Address

SDSU Extension Rapid City Regional Center
711 N Creek Dr
Rapid City, SD 57703


2020-2022, NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Biology
2020, Ph.D., Ecosystem Science and Management, Texas A&M University
2016, M.S.T, Secondary Earth and Life Sciences Teaching, University of Maine
2013, M.S., Geosciences, East Tennessee State University
2009, B.A., Biology, Illinois Wesleyan University

Academic Responsibilities

NRM 110 - People and the Environment
AIS 498 - Undergraduate Research and Scholarship
RANG 750 - Grazing Ecology and Management
NRM 492/592 - Community Ecology

Area(s) of Research

My research integrates ecology, biogeography, and paleontology to generate a more complete temporal and spatial understanding of ecosystems, their evolution, their functions, and the services they provide. The primary focus of my research program is on understanding how community structure arises over evolutionary time scales and how functional traits, such as locomotor morphology and dental characteristics, respond. By understanding past and current patterns, and the underpinning processes, I aim to leverage the data to support informed projections about the future of Earth’s threatened biodiversity. An additional aspect of my research focuses on facilitating rich place-based, informal STEM learning opportunities designed around ongoing scientific research. This work often merges quantitative and qualitative data focused on learner experiences and public understanding of science.



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