Rachel Correll - Common Wombat skulls

Research Assistant
Rachel Correll

My main area of interest is mammalian evolutionary ecology, I’m particularly interested in exploring how biotic and abiotic factors interact to determine differences in body size within Australian mammal species.

I completed my BSc at Flinders University in 1998, majoring in animal, plant, and environmental biology. The following year, I undertook an Honours degree in southern California under the Flinders Study Abroad Program. My project examined foraging theory using kangaroo rats, a small North American rodent, as a model species. After a long break from study, I returned to do a PhD at Flinders, which I completed in 2016. This examined determinants of body-size variation within several exemplar Australian mammal species. I assessed geographic body-size patterns (e.g., Bergmann’s rule), temporal body-size trends in species of kangaroo post-European arrival in Australia (human-induced body-size evolution), as well as supposedly ubiquitous features of the island rule, e.g., do ‘small’ mammals get larger and ‘large’ mammals get smaller when isolated on islands?

Currently, I am involved with projects that use fossils to look at body-size changes in Australian mammal species throughout the past million years. This is aimed at exploring how such changes track with climate change and human presence. I am also interested in generating more accurate body-size (mass) estimates for some of Australia’s extinct mammalian megafaunal species. I also enjoy teaching in undergraduate biology courses and guiding postgraduates with course tasks, as well as managing modern and fossil collections and processing fossil samples.