A Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Site award has been made to The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) that will provide research training for eight students for 10 weeks during summers of 2013 - 2015. The program focuses on Chihuahuan Desert Biodiversity (CEB), with emphasis on studies linked to interests of about 10 Department of Biological Sciences faculty members who will serve as mentors. Available research projects for students will include aspects of: genetics, ecology, and ecogeography of reptile populations; ecogeography of birds; symbiotic relationships of parasites and their animal hosts and vectors; systematic entomology; aquatic ecology of plants and invertebrate animals in permanent and temporary water sources; neurobiology of vertebrate structures and behavior, and ecology and distribution of native and invasive exotic plants. Field research will be performed at UTEP's 40,000 acre Indio Mountains Research Station (IMRS), or adjacent sites, and data processed and analyzed within two well-equipped bioscience research buildings and included core facilities on UTEP campus. Students are expected to do full-time field and lab research and participate in seminars and various workshops, such as ethics training and responsible conduct in research, professional communication skills, career opportunities in academia and industry, and graduate school application processes. REU students have access to well-equipped labs of mentors and interdepartmental research facilities, such as IMRS field laboratory, UTEP Biodiversity Collection, and departmental core venues supporting biomolecule analysis, cell culture and screening, analytical cytology, DNA analysis, and statistical consultation. The program's multi-phase recruitment effort consists of traditional -hard copy - formats, digital-based advertising, and personal recruiting trips to institutions and scientific meetings. Students are selected based on academic record, research potential, will normally be at junior or senior level, and by faculty recommendations. Students will be tracked to determine continued interests in their academic field, career paths, and lasting influence of the research experience. REU program will be assessed by various means, including use of the BIO REU common assessment tool. More information is available by visiting http://science.utep.edu/cdb-reu, or by contacting the PI (Dr. Jerry D. Johnson at jjohnson@utep.edu) or co-PI (Dr. Michael L. Moody at mlmoody@utep.edu).

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Biological Infrastructure (DBI)
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Amanda Simcox
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University of Texas at El Paso
El Paso
United States
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