Rachel A. Racicot

Education

PhD Yale University, 2008–2014

MS San Diego State University, 2004–2007

BS The University of Texas at Austin, 1999–2002

Peer reviewed publications

Google Scholar

Other Publications

Scientific grants, Research Funding, and Awards

  • John E. Heyning Award, The Society for Marine Mammalogy, 2016–2017
  • John E. Heyning Award, American Cetacean Society – Los Angeles Chapter, 2016
  • Excellence in Science Communication Award, The Society for Marine Mammalogy, 2015
  • Arthur James Boucot Research Grant, Paleontological Society, 2015          
  • Small Equipment Grant for 3D laser scanner, Howard University, 2014 (co-PI Nathan Smith)
  • Bass Glass, Google Glass summer research usage – declined, 2014  
  • George Gaylord Simpson Prize, Yale Peabody Museum, 2014        
  • Travel Award, Graduate Student Association, Yale University, 2014 and 2012      
  • NSF East Asia and Pacific Summer Institute, for study in Japan summer of 2013  
  • Dissertation Enhancement Grant, Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies, 2012
  • Conference Travel Grant, Geological Society of America, 2011
  • NSF Student Travel Grant, International Congress of Vertebrate Morphology, 2010
  • Jackson School of Geosciences Student Member Travel Grant, Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, 2009
  • Lerner–Gray Fund for Marine Research, American Museum of Natural History, 2008
  • Travel Grant, American Ornithologists’ Union, 2007           
  • Student Research Grant, American Cetacean Society – Orange County Chapter, 2005
  • Mabel Myers Biology Scholarship, San Diego State University, 2005
  • Research, Scholarly, & Creative Activity Grant, San Diego State University, co–PI MS advisor Dr. Annalisa Berta, 2004
  • Central Texas College Foundation Scholarship (full scholarship covering tuition and expenses), 1998-1999, declined for 1999-2000

Research, professional, and Teaching experience

Vanderbilt University
Guest lecturer
Earth Systems Through Time (Fall 2017) – Two lectures, "Overview and basics of evolution" and "Rise of Marine Mammals"

Howard University
Guest lecturer (CT and imaging applications in biology and allied health professions)
Senior Seminar in Biology (Fall 2014)
Evolution (Fall 2014)

Yale University
Teaching Fellow:
Human Osteology (Spring 2014)
Mammalogy (Fall 2013, Spring 2012)
History of Life (Spring 2009–2010, Spring 2013)
Paleontology and Evolutionary Theory (Fall 2012)
Extraordinary Glimpses of Past Life (Fall 2010)

Free–lance CT imagery production
Produced publication-quality CT imagery (scan slices and movies) for Siveter et al., 2014

San Diego State University
Teaching Assistant/Lab Instructor
Ornithology, field component (Spring 2007)
Human Anatomy (2004–2007)

Other
Participated in numerous marine mammal dissections (2004–2008)

The University of Texas at Austin High–Resolution X–Ray Computed Tomography Facility
Research Engineer/Scientist Associate II (Aug 2007–May 2008)
CT data quality control, curating and accessioning specimens for CT scanning using internal database, running CT scanner, image processing, archiving CT data, communication with facility users, managing outgoing specimens to respective museums

Research Engineer/Scientist Assistant (Jan 2003–Aug 2004)
Receiving and accessioning specimens for CT scanning, CT data quality control, image processing

Undergraduate Research Engineer/Scientist Assistant (Sept 2001–Dec 2002)
Image processing for clients and online resources at digimorph.org

Other
Produced how–to manual and co–conducted workshops on acquisition and image processing of CT data

Invited Lectures and Seminars

  • February 16, 2018. Reconstructing novel sensory systems using “digital dolphins”. Murray State University, Department of Geosciences, Murray, KY.
  • November 27, 2017. “Rise of Marine Mammals”. Vanderbilt University, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, guest lecture for Earth Systems Through Time, Nashville, TN.
  • May 24, 2017. "Digital "dolphins" and the evolution of novel sensory adaptations". National Museum of Nature and Science Institute Seminar Series. Tsukuba, Japan. 
  • April 7, 2017. “Digital whales and the evolution of novel sensory adaptations”. Vanderbilt University, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences Seminar Series, Nashville, TN.
  • November 16, 2016. “Rise of Marine Mammals”. Vanderbilt University, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, guest lecture for Earth Systems Through Time, Nashville, TN.
  • October 14, 2016. “Digital dolphins and the evolution of novel sensory adaptations”. University of Southern California, Department of Earth Sciences, Paleoenvironmental Seminar Series, Los Angeles, CA.
  • October 3, 2016. “Digital dolphins and the evolution of novel sensory adaptations”. San Diego State University, Department of Biology Seminar Series, San Diego, CA.
  • September 24, 2016. “Fossil secrets revealed: X–ray CT scanning and applications in paleontology”. Paleontological Society Short Course 2016 “Virtual Paleontology”, Geological Society of America Annual Meeting, Denver, CO.
  • May 2016. “What goes on inside the heads of whales? Present and future applications of CT technology to understanding whale sensory evolution”. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, CA.
  • May 3, 2015. “Evolution of the porpoise (Cetacea: Phocoenidae) inner ear revealed by CT scans” Department of Anatomy Seminar Series, Howard University Medical School, Washington, D.C.
  • December 16, 2014. “What goes on inside the heads of porpoises? Internal anatomy in fossil and recent porpoises based on CT scans”. Paleobiology Seminar, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C.
  • November 2014. “A new porpoise from the Pliocene of California, Semirostrum ceruttii”. Department of Biology Seminar Series, Howard University, Washington, D.C.
  • July 16, 2014. “A new porpoise from the Pliocene of California, Semirostrum ceruttii”. University of Bristol, Bristol, UK.
  • August 2013. “What goes on inside the heads of porpoises? CT–based investigations of internal anatomy in fossil and recent porpoises and their relatives” National Museum of Nature and Science Institute, Tsukuba, Japan.
  • August 2009. “Phylogenetics of True Porpoises (Cetacea: Phocoenidae) and their position within Delphinoidea: A Preliminary Review.” Symposium on Cetacean Evolution and Morphology, Palæontologisk Klub and Dansk Havpattedyrforening Geological Museum, University of Copenhagen.

SErvice

Reviewer
Manuscript reviews of 36 papers in 13 journals including: Acta Palaeontologica Polonica (4), Biology Letters (2), Current Biology (4), Journal of the Acoustical Society of America (1), Journal of Anatomy (1), Journal of Morphology (5), Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology (4), Marine Mammal Science (4), Palaeontologica Electronica (2), Palaeontological Research (1), PLoSONE (2), Scientific Reports (2), Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society (4)

Scientific Consultant
Consulted on whale evolution and artistic renditions of dolphin head anatomy for “It’s time for a conversation”, article on dolphin intelligence, National Geographic, May 2015

 Moderator
“Evolutionary Patterns in the Fossil Record”, Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America, Baltimore, MD; 1–4 November 2015

Society Membership
Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, Society for Marine Mammalogy, Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, Paleontological Society, Geological Society of America

Volunteer

  • Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America, Minneapolis, MN; 9–12 October 2011
  • 16th Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals, San Diego, California; December 12–1, 2005

Outreach

Public engagement

  • Invited speaker for annual Women in Paleontology celebration at the Raymond M. Alf Museum  of Paleontology, February 11, 2017: hands-on activities and Q&A
  • Pterosaur Family Day at the Natural History Museum of LA County, July 16, 2016: hands-on activities and Q&A while presenting Dinosaur Institute specimens
  • National Biomechanics Day, April 7, 2016: presented Dinosaur Institute specimens of pterosaurs and birds to the public and led a discussion and Q&A on wing anatomy
  • “Ask a Paleontologist” at “The Good Dinosaur” premiere and regularly scheduled showings, El Capitan Theatre, November–December 2015: Q&A at the Natural History Museum of LA County temporary exhibit designed for the film

Editor
Palaeontology [online], international online outreach journal based in the United Kingdom

Public Lectures

  • October 25, 2016. “Digital dolphins and the evolution of novel sensory adaptations”. Los Angeles Chapter of the American Cetacean Society General Meeting, Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, San Pedro, CA.
  • May 14, 2016. “What goes on inside the heads of whales? Present and future applications of CT technology to understanding whale sensory evolution” Educator Workshop (K–12); Natural History Museum of LA County, Los Angeles, CA.
  • June 26, 2008. “Comparative anatomy of porpoise pterygoid sinuses.” American Cetacean Society, Orange County Chapter; Costa Mesa, CA.
  • February 17, 2008. “Sinuses in fossil and extant porpoises.” Austin Paleontological Society, Austin, TX.

Volunteer activities

  • Personalized and behind-the-scenes tours of the exhibit halls and collections at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
  • Personalized tours of the exhibit halls at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History, Washington DC
  • Girls Science Investigations – weekend science activities with girls in middle school, Yale University
  • Women in Science at Yale – member and mentoring program, mentoring Yale women undergraduates in sciences
  • Yale Peabody Museum Volunteer – “Night at the Museum”, “Meet the Scientist”, and “Paleoknowledge Bowl” activities

Mentorship

Undergraduate: CT, laser scanning and image processing methods and regular meetings about academia, research, and other matters: Madeleine Alberdi, Vanderbilt University ’19; Abigail Glass, Murray State University ’18; Proyecto Dinosaurios participants summer 2016–2017; Joshua Blockstein ’17, USC; Yah Kamei, Howard University ’17; Lorrane Kabert, Howard University ’17; Zachary Mills, Howard University ’17; Didi Okon, Howard University ’17; William Gearty, Yale University, ‘14; Robert Young, ’14; William Freedberg, Yale University; Aneesa Noorani, Yale University

Graduate/Postdoctoral Researchers: Training in CT scanning and image processing methods: Brandt Gibson, Vanderbilt University PhD Student ‘21, Nate Carroll, University of Southern California PhD Student ’21, Dr. Todd Harvey, Dr. Simon Darroch, Dr. Tory McCoy

Selected Coverage of Research in Scientific/Popular Press
See here.

Field Projects

  • Vanderbilt University, Johns Hopkins University – Ediacaran and Cambrian fieldwork in South Africa and Namibia, July–Aug 2017
  • Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Vanderbilt University, Harvard University, and Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History – Ediacaran/Cambrian boundary field work in Death Valley, CA, January 2017
  • Vanderbilt University, University of Toronto, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County – Ediacaran and Cambrian fieldwork in Namibia, July–Sept 2016
  • Yale University, University of Toronto, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History –Ediacaran and Cambrian fieldwork in Namibia, June–July 2014
  • Yale University, National Museum of Nature and Science, Tokyo – Paleontological field localities throughout Japan, June–July 2013
  • Yale University – General assistant for Global Tectonics field course, Barbados, March 2012
  • Yale University – Geology & Geophysics field trip, South Africa/Namibia, August 2011
  • Yale University – Paleontological field work in North Dakota/Montana, Hell Creek Formation (Upper Cretaceous) and Puercan (Lower Paleocene), Jun–July 2009–2012
  • Yale University – Vertebrate paleontological field excavation in Húsavík, Iceland, July 2011      
  • Yale University – Vertebrate paleontological field exploration in Ad–Dakhla, Western Sahara, March 2011   
  • Yale University – Invertebrate paleontological field work in the Fezuota Formation, Zagora, Morocco, Yale University, March 2011
  • Yale University – Assisted adult salamander collection in North Carolina for genome–based phylogenetic study, May 2010
  • San Diego State University – Black–chinned and Black–throated Sparrow surveys in San Diego and Imperial Counties, April 2007–July 2007 and July 2008
  • San Diego State University – Herpetological and ornithological field experience in San Diego, Imperial, and Los Angeles Counties; assisting MS research projects on Spea hammondi and Urosaurus graciosus, August 2004–August 2007
  • San Diego State University – Long–billed Curlew and Mountain Plover count at Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge, January 2007               
  • San Diego State University, The University of Texas at Austin – Salamander collection in San Marcos River for experimental research, San Marcos, Texas, August 2006            
  • National Park Service – Shorebird counts for Cabrillo National Monument, San Diego, California, August 2005–May 2006  
  • The University of Texas at Austin – Vertebrate paleontological fieldwork in the Triassic Chinle Formation, northern Arizona, May 2005

Selected Conference Presentations (*Student authors)
Glass, A.*, Darroch, S.A.F.D., Casey, M., Racicot, R. 2017. Comparing inner ear morphologies of globicephaline (Odontoceti: Delphinidae: Globicephalinae) dolphins. In: Abstracts of the 22nd Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals, Halifax, Nova Scotia; October 22–27.

Borce, B.*, Ekdale, E.G., Racicot, R.A., Darroch, S.A.F.D. 2017. Species delimitations within the extinct river dolphin genus Parapontoporia based on quantitative analysis of the periotic bones. In: Abstracts of the Annual Meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, Calgary, Alberta, CA, August 23–26.

Darroch, S.A.F., Rahman, I.A., Wagner, P.J., Racicot, R., Laflamme, M. 2015. How “complex” were Ediacaran ecosystems? In: Abstracts of the Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America, Baltimore, Maryland; November 1–4.

Racicot, R., Budd, A.F., Huang, D., Smith, N.D. 2015. Morphological data partitions possess different levels of phylogenetic signal for the evolutionary relationships of the reef coral families Merulinidae, Montastraeidae, Diploastraeidae, and Mussidae (Cnidaria: Anthozoa: Scleractinia). In: Abstracts of the Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America, Baltimore, Maryland; November 1–4.

Racicot, R., Ludtke, J.A., Smith, N.D. 2015. Testing for phylogenetic signal in morphological data using genotype–based phylogenies. In: Abstracts of the Annual Meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, Dallas, Texas; October 14–17.

Racicot, R., Budd, A.F., Huang, D., Smith, N.D. Morphological data partitions possess different levels of phylogenetic signal for the evolutionary relationships of the reef coral families Merulinidae, Montastraeidae, and Diploastraeidae (Cnidaria: Anthozoa: Scleractinia). In: Howard University Research Day Abstracts, Howard University, April.

Hsiang, A.Y., Field, D.J., Behlke, A., Davis, M.B., Racicot, R., Webster, T.H., Gauthier, J.A. 2014. On the origin of snakes: Inferring ecology, behavior, and evolutionary history of ancestral snakes. In: Abstracts of the Evolution Conference 2014, Raleigh, North Carolina; June 20–24.

Racicot, R. 2013. Phylogenetic and functional implications of inner ear morphology of fossil and extant porpoises (Cetacea: Phocoenidae). In: Abstracts of the Annual Meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, Los Angeles, California; October 30–November 2.

Ludtke J.A., Racicot, R. 2013. Examining the congruence between different sources of phylogenetic data from Artiodactyla. In: Abstracts of the Annual Meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, Los Angeles, California; October 30–November 2.

Racicot, R. 2012. Phylogenetic and functional implications of inner ear morphology of fossil and extant porpoises (Cetacea: Phocoenidae). In: Abstracts of the Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America, Charlotte, North Carolina; November 4–7.

Racicot, R. 2011. Ontogenetic Sequence Analysis of harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena):     Implications for evolution and development. In: Abstracts of the 19th Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals, Tampa, Florida; November 27–December 2.

Field, D., Racicot, R., Uhen, M. 2011. A new marine tetrapod assemblage from the Eocene of Western Sahara. In: Abstracts of the 71st Annual Meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology; Las Vegas, Nevada; November 2–5.

Racicot, R., Field, D., Vinther, J., Behlke, A., Jónasson, K., Asbjórndöttir, L. 2011. The first major vertebrate fossil from the Pliocene of Iceland: An odontocete (Cetacea: Odontoceti) from the Tjørnes formation. In: Abstracts of the Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America, Minneapolis, Minnesota; October 9–12.

Racicot, R. 2011. Ontogenetic Sequence Analysis of harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena): Implications for phylogenetics and development. In: Abstracts of the Sixth Triennial Conference on Secondary Adaptation of Tetrapods to Life in Water; San Diego, California; June 6–10.

Racicot, R. 2010. Phylogenetics of fossil and extant Delphinoidea using Bayesian Inference. In:    Abstracts of the 70th Annual Meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; October 10–13.

Racicot, R., Berta, A., Deméré, T. 2010. Comparative inner ear morphology of extant and fossil balaenopteroid mysticetes (Cetacea: Mysticeti). In: Abstracts of the 9th International Congress of Vertebrate Morphology, Punta del Este, Uruguay, July 26–31.

Racicot, R., Deméré, T., Rowe, T. 2009. A new fossil porpoise (Cetacea: Phocoenidae) from the Pliocene San Diego formation of Southern California, USA: Implications for changing porpoise diversity. In: Abstracts of the 18th Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals, Quebec City, Canada; October 12–16.

Racicot, R., Berta, A., Deméré, T. 2009. Inner ear morphology of balaenopteroid mysticetes (Cetacea: Mysticeti). In: Abstracts of the 69th Annual Meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology; Bristol, UK; September 22–26.

Berta, A., Racicot, R., Deméré, T. 2008. The comparative anatomy and evolution of the tympanoperiotic complex in balaenopteroid mysticetes: Adaptations for low frequency hearing. In: Abstracts of the 68th Annual Meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology; Cleveland, Ohio; October 15–18.

Racicot, R., Berta, A.B. 2007. Morphology of true porpoise (Odontoceti: Phocoenidae) pterygoid sinuses and their relationship to hearing. In: Abstracts of the 17th Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals, Cape Town, South Africa; November 29 November–December 3.

Racicot, R., Burns, K.B. 2007. Molecular phylogenetics of a radiation of lowland tanagers (genus Tachyphonus) and relatives. In: 125th Stated Meeting of the AOU, Laramie, Wyoming, August 8–11. 

Racicot, R., Berta, A.B. 2007. Variation in the morphology of true porpoise (Odontoceti: Phocoenidae) pterygoid sinuses. In: Abstracts of the 8th International Congress of Vertebrate Morphology, Paris, France, July 16–21.

Racicot, R., Berta, A.B. 2006. Inner ear morphology and its relationship with the pterygoid sinus in fossil and extant porpoises (Cetacea: Phocoenidae). In: Abstracts of the 66th Annual Meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology; Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; October 18–21.

Racicot, R., Berta, A.B. 2005. Comparative morphology of the pterygoid sinus among porpoises (Cetacea: Phocoenidae) using CT data. In: Abstracts of the 16th Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals, San Diego, California; December 12–16.

Racicot, R., Berta, A.B. 2005. Morphological details of the pterygoid sinus in extant and extinct porpoises (Cetacea: Phocoenidae) revealed by CT data. In: Abstracts of the 65th Annual Meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology; Mesa, Arizona; October 19–22.

Racicot, R., Berta, A.B., Deméré, T., and Cranford, T. 2005. The potential of CT data for revealing details of the pterygoid sinus complex in extant and extinct Phocoenids. In: Evolution of Aquatic Tetrapods, Fourth Triannual Convention Abstracts; Akron, Ohio; May 16–20.

Racicot, R., Colbert, M.W., and Rowe, T. 2004. Interpreting neural and circulatory anatomy from a digital endocast of Tursiops truncatus (Mammalia, Odontoceti). In: Abstracts of the 64th Annual Meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology; Denver, Colorado; November 3–6.