Hello all, my name is Rachel Wells and I am a PhD student working in Dr. Stephen Yanoviak’s tropical canopy lab. I am broadly interested in how organisms shape their communities and I use ants as my focal system. Arboreal ants are an abundant, diverse, and conspicuous part of the forest canopy and my research seeks to better understand the roles that they play in maintaining this system. I have a special interest in evaluating the influence of ecologically dominant species and am currently studying the carton building species Azteca trigona on Barro Colorado Island in Panama.
Outside of my research, I am especially passionate about teaching and sharing my love of ants with students of all ages. My undergraduate experience at Hendrix College taught me the importance of having teachers that are excited about not only their work, but also education in general. Thus, I am constantly seeking opportunities to exchange my excitement for knowledge with others. When you cannot find me geeking out about ants and science, I am probably in a ballet class or curled up in bed with a good book. Please feel free to contact me if you want to know more about my work or have any questions!