A Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Sites award has been made to the Smithsonian Institution Environmental Research Center (SERC) on the Chesapeake Bay, Maryland that will provide research training for 10 students for 12 weeks during the summers of 2012-2016. Over the last few centuries, human activities have dramatically altered the planet's biota through habitat fragmentation, increased greenhouse gases, species introductions, excess nutrient loading, and native species extirpation. Determining and ultimately mitigating the consequences of these global transformations is a major goal in ecology and evolution and the primary focus of this REU Site. SERC is one of the Smithsonian Institution's largest research and education-based facilities and has an overall mission of revealing the biological and physical processes that sustain life on earth. The REU program focuses on how aspects of global change, including climate change, biological invasions, altered biogeochemical cycling, and native biodiversity loss, are altering the ecological goods and services provided by natural ecosystems. Particular attention is paid to the Chesapeake Bay, the nation's largest and most commercially valuable estuary. The program includes field research, laboratory work, and educational training to: (1) identify an unanswered question in global change biology, (2) devise a testable hypothesis, (3) conduct a research project, and (4) share the discovery with the professional community. Interns also take a series of short courses describing scientific methods, ethics, and careers, participate in graduate-level discussion groups, attend seminars by visiting scientists, and take field trips to affiliated research institutions. At the end of their internship, each intern will present a formal research seminar describing their project to the SERC science community, and many will present their research at conferences and publish their results in peer-reviewed journals. Information about the program will be assessed by various means, including use of a common REU assessment tool. More information on the SERC REU program is available by visiting https://serc.si.edu/pro_training/internships/projectmenu.aspx or by contacting the REU Fellowship Coordinator (Mr. Dan Gustafson at gustafsond@si.edu).

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Biological Infrastructure (DBI)
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Amanda Simcox
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Smithsonian Institution
United States
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