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Undergrad Research Opportunities 12/21/16

1) Summer Research Fellowships at UVA Field Station

Blandy Experimental Farm at University of Virginia has some wonderful fellowship opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students and postdocs during summer 2017.  The opportunities are open to applicants from any college or university.

Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU): The program emphasizes experimental ecology and evolutionary biology including a wide variety of topics such as plant-animal interactions, pollinator behavior and ecology, insect population ecology, and ecosystem ecology. Successful applicants will receive a $5775 stipend, additional money for food, and free housing.  Each student picks a research mentor from our pool of faculty members and graduate students and then conducts an independent research project.  The students will gain experience in experimental design, data collection, analytical techniques, and written and oral presentation of findings.  REU students also benefit from several professional development workshops.

This is a wonderful opportunity for an undergraduate student contemplating a future in science. The application deadline is March 1, 2017. To apply:


2) Winter and Spring Sessions Open: Biological Research & Permaculture Internships in the Rainforest of Ecuador

Third Millennium Alliance (TMA) was founded in 2007 with the purchase of 100 acres and the establishment of the Jama-Coaque Reserve (JCR) in the western province of Manabí, Ecuador, between the cities of Jama and Pedernales, and four kilometers inland. Now encompassing over 1,200 acres, the Jama-Coaque Reserve actively protects one of the last remaining fragments of Pacific Equatorial Forest, which is considered to be one of the most threatened tropical forests in the world.  Learn more at

Internship Opportunities:

Interns are to take on high-impact and dynamic projects in the fields of biological field research and sustainable food production. There is a tremendous amount of work to be done and experience to be gained – for interns and for us. Above all, creativity, innovation, and self-motivation are the fuel of our internship program. Immediately surrounding the house we are designing/growing/building a living laboratory of sustainable resource management (i.e. permaculture), which also serves as our field headquarters for biological scientific research and forest monitoring.

Interns are to select a specific project focus for their time in the Reserve. Generally speaking, there are three project paths of personal projects: 1) flora & fauna research, 2) permaculture & land management, and 3) appropriate technology

The following is a list of some of the projects we’re looking to tackle during the upcoming sessions. Some are new projects and others are ongoing and multi- year projects. When applying please inform us which of the three project paths you would like to join and which specific project you are most interested in.

Flora & Fauna Research:

  • Primate Demography & Behavior Study (Howler & critically endangered White Fronted Capuchin)
  • Investigation of Endangered Avifauna – (Nesting ecology, habitat use study integrated with reforestation efforts)
  • Camera trapping of wildlife (birds; wild felids including ocelot, jaguarondi, etc)
  • Herpetofauna survey (reptile and amphibian diversity and abundance)
  • Seed bank and germination studies for reforestation plots
  • Inventory of Orchid species in the Reserve

Permaculture & Land Management:

  • Production Zone Intensive – Focused on increasing food production, crop zonification & rotation, plant propagation, care/maintenance, and integrated pest management.
  • Agroforestry – Maintenance and use of mixed-use forest. Development of cleaning and harvest system, use of products, and analysis of agroforestry systems in relation to the widespread use of slash and burn agriculture.
  • Reforestation – Last year we planted 6,500 trees in one portion of our re- forestation plot, and hope to plant another 8,000 next year. We want to keep this momentum going this year to plant even more trees and expand the project. Help manage tree propagation and planting efforts.
  • Green Building – Learn to use natural, recycled and sustainable building materials. Assist with construction projects of all forms as we continue to grow into the future.

Appropriate Technology:

  • Assist with development of alternative energy systems (ie. micro-hydro and
  • solar)
  • Design and build a solar or compost water heater.
  • Design and build a solar food dehydrator.

We also offer an optional Permaculture Design Certification (PDC) course with our internship, which is highly integrated with the real-life applications of permaculture in the Reserve.  If you are interested in becoming certified in Permaculture Design during your time in the Reserve please review our website for further details about how to apply


3) Temporary Field Technicians – multiple locations in US for the NEON Project

Battelle and its affiliate, Battelle Ecology, Inc. manage and operate the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEONTM), a 30-year long project, solely funded by the National Science Foundation.  During the life of the observatory a comprehensive set of ecological data will be collected on a continental scale at 20 eco-climatic domains across the US in order to understand how changes in climate, land use and invasive species impact ecosystem function.  Our team of scientist, engineers and field technicians use cutting-edge technology, including an airborne observation platform that captures images of regional landscapes and vegetation; mobile, relocatable, and fixed data collection sites with sensors to monitor soil and atmospheric variables; and trained field crews who observe and sample populations of diverse organisms and collect soil and water data.  A leading-edge cyberinfrastructure has been developed to calibrate, store and publish this information so that it is freely available to the public.  This first-of-its-kind Observatory includes more than 500+ personnel and is designed to detect and enable forecasting of ecological change at continental scales.


Reporting to the Manager Field Operations the Temporary Field Technicians assist with field observation; sample collection and handling; sample processing and sample shipment of a variety of taxa.

The Temporary Field technician will perform field and laboratory activities based on a set schedule under the guidance of a Lead Temporary Field Technician and permanent Field Technicians.

Field sampling activities include the following observation and specimen collection activities:

  • Plant diversity observations
  • Plant biomass and primary productivity measurements
  • Rodent live trapping
  • Invertebrate collections
  • Sediment, soil and water sample collection
  • Lake/stream bathymetry and morphology
  • Riparian mapping


  • High School diploma or equivalent.
  • Ability and willingness to work varied schedules (up to 12+ hours per day), including split-shift, part-time, pre-dawn early mornings, evening and weekends.
  • Ability to work safely in variable field conditions including:
  • Must possess a current and valid State issued driver’s license with insurable Department of Motor vehicle record (parking violations, minor driving offenses excluded) as determined by Battelle Ecology Inc.’s insurance provider.
  • Must have permanent authorization for US employment. Battelle Ecology, Inc. will not provide any kind of visa sponsorship.

To see the full job description and to apply go to:



Raven Adventures Marine Conservation Survey is an international effort to gather much needed scientific data regarding present environmental / biological conditions found in the Loreto area of the Sea of Cortez, Baja California Sur. We are looking for volunteers to assist our Mexican conservation partner GEA (Grupos Ecologistas Antares) with tasks such as marine transects, plankton pulls, and other biological investigations in an effort to better understand the fragile ecosystem of the Sea of Cortez. Additional tasks volunteers may wish to partake in include the recovery of cetacean, marine mammal and bird carcasses that will be cleaned, processed and reconstructed for use as educational displays in the GEA museum, as well as creating or improving museum dioramas, producing educational literature, labeling artifacts and making new displays. In addition, volunteers will also walk select shorelines documenting coastal conditions such as pollution, erosion and overuse issues. Volunteers may be exposed to an abundant variety of marine life, including whale species such as the blue, sperm, brydes, humpback, finback, orca and pilot whale. Dolphins and sea lions can also be found in high numbers throughout the study site.

The program cost is $950 per person for the 9-day session from January 26th – February 3rd, 2017 and is limited to 4 participants.  The cost includes food, base camp lodging/camping accommodations, camping gear, and research and safety equipment. Volunteers will be responsible for their flight/bus to/from Loreto, Baja Mexico. We have years of experience traveling to Baja and will be happy to share useful information on how best to arrange plane or bus tickets from your location.

For more information contact Sabrina Salome at:


5) Earth Science Summer Research Opportunity at Biosphere 2

The University of Arizona is holding a 10-week Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program this summer (June 5 – Aug 11, 2017): “Biosphere 2 Earth Systems Research for Environmental Solutions”

Selected students participate in a variety of activities that will help them pursue a career in environmental sciences. Students conduct their own research under a mentor, interact with other participants and scientists, and present research findings in a formal poster symposium setting. Unique components of the Biosphere 2 REU experience are interaction with the public visitors to Biosphere 2 and training in effective outreach related to student research topics. Additionally, students participate in professional development workshops, an ethics-in-science workshop, and field trips to local attractions. Undergraduate students from a wide range of disciplines and interests including biology, ecology, plant sciences, hydrology, soil science, geology, atmospheric science, mathematics, physics, chemistry, or computer science are encouraged to apply. Only U.S. citizens or permanent residents are eligible for this NSF (National Science Foundation) funded program.

Research at Biosphere 2 ( aims to catalyze interdisciplinary thinking and understanding about the Earth, its living systems, and its future. Students in the REU program conduct research in the Earth system and environmental sciences that examines some facet of soil-water-atmosphere-plant interactions. Improving understanding of these interactions is important for gaining insight into the impacts and causes of global environmental change and variation. Key to research at Biosphere 2 is the use of methods and techniques that allow linking across scales.

Additionally, some REU projects will be conducted in partnership with the southwestern Critical Zone Observatory ( Projects will focus on a variety of topics that include (but aren’t limited to): coupling ecohydrology and biogeochemistry, investigating abiotic and biotic contributions to ecosystem processes, integrating measurements across scales, using innovative tools to link climate and ecological function, and modeling of ecosystem and soil processes. Students work with several outreach organizations (e.g., Institute of the Environment, Water Resources Research Center, Native Nations Climate Adaptation Program) at the University of Arizona to link their research to addressing local and global environmental challenges.

REU Students receive: A competitive stipend, lodging at Biosphere 2’s student village, food allowance, and travel to and from Tucson, AZ, as well as support for travel to a professional meeting to present their work.

Applications for summer of 2017 are due March 1st, 2017, and application material can be found at: