The Ecological Society of America's SEEDS program promotes opportunities to diversify and advance the profession of ecology.
To learn more about SEEDS, visit www.esa.org/seeds/
In this issue:
Upcoming Opportunities & Deadlines
March 6, 2006: SEEDS Konza Prairie Field Trip Application Deadline
March 6, 2006: SEEDS Konza Prairie Field Trip Application Deadline
The June 2006 SEEDS Field Trip application deadline is March 6, 2006. The June 4-9 field trip, hosted by the Konza Prairie Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) Program, will be an excellent opportunity for students to explore their interests in ecology, find out more about what ecologists do, and to network with students and professionals. The field trip will feature the research of the Konza Prairie LTER, a comprehensive, multidisciplinary program designed to address long-term research questions relevant to tallgrass prairie ecosystems, and the science of ecology in general. For more information and applications, please visit www.esa.org/seeds/activities/FieldtripsInfo.php.
March 13, 2006: 2006 ESA Annual Meeting SEEDS Travel Award Application Deadline
The SEEDS Program offers travel awards for students, faculty, and alumni to defray travel, lodging, meal, and registration expenses to attend the Ecological Society of America (ESA) Annual Meeting. The ESA Annual Meeting draws more than 4,000 professionals from around the world to participate in scientific presentations, symposia, workshops, field trips, and a trade show. It provides an excellent venue to engage students and faculty in one of the most important facets of science – communicating ideas and new knowledge with the scientific community. The 2006 ESA Annual Meeting will be held August 4-11 in Memphis, Tennessee. For more information and applications, http://www.esa.org/seeds/activities/AnnualMeetingInfo.php
March 1, 2006: 2006 ESA Annual Meeting Abstract Submission Deadline
Present your research at the ESA Annual Meeting. The ESA invites abstract submissions for: invited oral presentations as part of a symposium or organized oral session, or contributed oral or poster presentations at the 2006 ESA Annual Meeting. This is the 91st Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America. The meeting will be held August 6-11, 2006 in Memphis, Tennessee at the Cook Convention Center. More information and online abstract submission at http://esa.org/memphis/callAbstract.php
2005-06 Undergraduate Research Fellow Profile: Jorge Ramos mentored by Myra Schulman (Cornell University)
Since I was a child, I have always been interested in science. Being born in the US and raised in Mexico has given me the opportunity to view things with a different perspective. My dad, a dentist, always wanted to be a naturalist. Unfortunately, my dad had to follow my grandfather’s career as a dentist. I feel like my dad’s passion for the environment was passed on to me during my childhood. The things that I am pursuing now, for example a SCUBA diving certification, he did back in 1978.
I knew I wanted to study the environment; I just was not sure what part of it. I am still in the part of discovering my passion. I want to focus on one piece of this puzzle called planet Earth. I started college at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). I am majoring in Environmental Sciences with a Biological Sciences concentration. My first summer was not at all interesting. I had no idea about internships, fellowships, REU’s, conferences, summer jobs, etc. I was unaware of what was out there for undergraduate students. I ended up signing up for summer courses.
Before summer of 2004, encouraged by my professor Dr. Larry Jones and my advisor Cindy Edgar, I applied to an REU at the Environmental Science Institute at the University of Texas at Austin. I was selected and worked under great soil ecologists, Dr. Dick Richardson and his wife Dr. Patricia Richardson. I completed a research project that compared the differences in arthropod diversity in different environments.
After this experience, I felt like it was the end of my mentality of a student with the goal of just graduating. It was the beginning of a new goal, graduating with an exceptional resume. I wanted to graduate knowing great contacts, having field experience, an excellent academic record, and, of course, extensive research experience.
I discovered SEEDS the summer of 2004. I was selected to go to the ESA meeting in Portland, Oergon. After that meeting, I realized that SEEDS offered more than just travel scholarships for the meeting. I also participated in two SEEDS field trips: National Wetlands Resource Center in Lafayette, Louisiana, and the La Sevilleta LTER in New Mexico. Many students from UTEP were also very active with SEEDS so we decided to start a Campus Ecology Chapter at our university.
During the summer of 2005 I worked with the US and Fish and Wildlife Service on the Abnormal Amphibian Project at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge (KNWR). It was a great outdoors research experience where I gained new skills and strengthened others. I kept in touch with Mari Reeves, the PI of the project, and we are currently working with the PRESENCE software to model the proportion of area occupied by these amphibians in the KNWR. Later that summer I went to the ESA-INTECOL meeting in Montreal, Canada. At the meeting I received the ESA SEEDS Undergraduate Research Fellowship. I then flew to Barrow, Alaska, where I met with Dr. Craig Tweedie and his crew, who are part of BASC (Barrow Arctic Science Consortium). In Barrow, Alaska, 340 miles above the Arctic Circle, I helped different US and international scientists in their research projects: coastal erosion, hydrology, ornithology, biogeochemistry, small mammals, botany, etc.
Having received the SEEDS Undergraduate Research Fellowship, a very prestigious research opportunity, I decided to work on something that I have always wanted to experience: marine mammals. I decided to work with seals in the Gulf of Maine. My mentors for the fellowship are Dr. Myra Shulman from Cornell University, and Greg Early from the Marine Mammal Stranding Network. This research will examine two species of pinnipeds, gray seals (Halichoerus grypus) and harbor seals (Phoca vitulina), that use the Isles of Shoals as haul-out spaces. Currently there is very little knowledge to understand both of the seals at the Isles of Shoals. In order to get this baseline, we will conduct population censuses, monitor behavioral interactions, analyze male vocalization using bioacoustical analysis techniques, and their responses to human disturbances. This research will result in an extensive knowledge to understand the current behavior of pinnipeds and their potential responses to the changing environment in the Isles of Shoals.
I would like to give thanks to friends at SEEDS, Melissa, Katherine, Jason, and Jeramie. Thank you for believing in me, for all of your support over these years. I know that without SEEDS, I couldn't be where I am right now. It’s SEEDS that has made me mature and discover my potential.
My goal for next year…graduate school!
For more information on the SEEDS Undergraduate Research Fellowship, visit http://www.esa.org/seeds/activities/FellowshipsInfo.php
Campus Ecology Chapter Highlight: Livingstone College
A greenhouse has been built near the biology department of Livingstone College in Salisbury, North Carolina, under the supervision of Ecology Club advisor, Dr. Sashi Sabaratnam, a faculty member in the Biology department and SEEDS Campus Ecology Chapter advisor. The funds for this project were provided by the SEEDS Special Project Grant.
The greenhouse will be used for short-term student research training in the areas of botany and ecology and for instruction in classes taught by Dr. Sashi Sabaratnam. The greenhouse will be open to public school students and citizens on special occasions and will be used in community outreach activities of Livingstone College. The research activities will include monoculture and mixed culture of selected vegetable crops. The crops will be grown in pots with varying soil conditions (fertilizer rates and moisture levels) to study which crop combinations yield maximum productivity in terms of biomass and yields. The research will start this spring.
Students in the SEEDS Ecology club have been busy over the last year. They prepared soil to create a xeriscape/rock garden with several cacti species and other drought resistant plants. They also installed a bog garden that consisted of plants that thrive with their roots submerged in water. Plants included pitcher plants, venus fly traps, and sphagnum moss to cover the surface of the water as a mulch.
Students visited the Duke Marine Lab in Beaufort, North Carolina to explore marine life and careers in marine sciences. They studied the native fish, tropical fish, and other marine life in and around the area and had up-close encounters with dolphins, horse-shoe crabs, and stingrays.
A butterfly garden that was established last year is thriving and attracting butterflies. The gardens are maintained by the students to study the interactions between the plants, animals, and the environment.
SEEDS Students: What Are You Up To?
If you are a SEEDS student, past or present, we'd love to hear what you're up to. Please send an update of what's new in your life, career, etc. to firstname.lastname@example.org. With permission, we may highlight you in a future newsletter.
SEEDS Event Recaps
ESA International Conference, January 2006
The Ecological Society of America held an international conference, January 8-12, in Merida, Mexico and SEEDS sponsored sixteen students through travel awards.
The theme of the conference was "Ecology in an Era of Globalization: Challenges and Opportunities for Environmental Scientists in the Americas" and it was designed to develop strategies to increase collaboration among environmental scientists. Several events were planned specifically for SEEDS participants. These events included a lunch and orientation, field trip and dinner, and a wrap-up session. ESA President, Dr. Nancy Grimm joined the wrap-up session to get the students' feedback. In addition to attending SEEDS-sponsored events, SEEDS participants were actively involved in the International Conference by attending sessions, conference field trips, and seven students presented their research at poster sessions. Photos from the International Conference can be found at http://www.esa.org/seeds/albumPhotos/index.php.
Lewis Reed, SEEDS travel awardee, shares his reflection: Upon returning from the International Conference in Merida, Mexico I am overwhelmed with a sense of success! The program was a great success in many ways but success can only be measured in the context of goals so I will share with you how the experience met my personal expectations.
While I imagine that any ESA/SEEDS event would be of interest to me, the theme and location of this conference was of particular interest. Among my own objectives in attending this meeting were to learn more about ecology and human interactions with the environment, specifically to learn about contemporary issues and applications of ecology in regards to invasive species, to meet scientists who have encountered Taeniatherum caput-medusae in areas outside of California (an invasive species that I am interested in studying in California), to build my growing second language of Spanish, to share experiences with other students, and to further stimulate my interest in ecology.
During the week-long conference and associated activities, I learned about several ecological research areas that were formerly unfamiliar to me. I learned a great deal about the global problem of invasive species and participated in solution-oriented discussions. I met a researcher from Oregon and another from Chile who had both worked with Taeniatherum in their regions. I had ample opportunity to practice speaking Spanish, as always, I enjoyed sharing experiences with other students and researchers, and all of this has been tremendously stimulating to my interest in continuing a career in ecology.
In addition to all this success, I would like to share a brief story that relates to the importance of SEEDS and the conference in Mérida. On the way from Guadalajara, Mexico, to San José, California (during my return from Mérida) I sat next to a young woman named Rosabel. As so often during this week of traveling to Mexico, I took the opportunity to work on my Spanish by introducing myself, asking her where she was from, and explaining what I was doing in Mérida. My ability to carry out these sorts of simple conversations grew dramatically during that week.
Rosabel lives in Watsonville, an important farming community in California. She has worked there at a grocery store since she graduated from high school. Her parents had left their small farming community in Mexico to work the fields in Watsonville. “Both of my parents have always worked in the fields,” she said. They still had a small piece of land in Mexico but like many of their neighbors, they leased it out to Driscoll Berry Corporation, a huge berry producer based in California. “It’s all strawberry fields now” she said of the changes in the small Mexican farming community. She remarked on how she was astonished to see that the same Driscoll strawberry packages that were being sold in California grocery stores were beginning to show up in the markets in her family’s community in Mexico. She was very excited to hear that agricultural systems and human migration were a major part of the ESA conference in Mérida.
She asked me about what I study at San José State University. After I told her about some of the classes I had been taking in Biology, Environmental Studies, and Geography, she asked me one simple question that at once summarized the importance of SEEDS. “Are there many Mexicans in those classes?” she asked. I was a little surprised by the question and I had to stop and think before I answered. I had never thought about it before, but at San José State University, perhaps one of the must culturally and ethnically diverse campuses in the country, there were very few Latin American, African American, Asian American, or Native American students that I knew of in any of these ecology-oriented departments. This is particularly notable considering the great diversity of the campus as a whole. It was a perfect opportunity to explain that one of the main goals of SEEDS is to create opportunities for and encourage participation of under-represented groups in the field of ecology. I have always valued this aspect of SEEDS and I feel the program does an excellent job of meeting that goal, but this conversation seemed to put it into context perfectly.
Thank you again for giving me and so many other students this opportunity and inspiration.
Traditional Ecological Knowledge Education Workshop
Melissa Armstrong, SEEDS Coordinator, co-hosted a workshop with Robin Kimmerer at the ESA International Conference in Merida, Mexico on Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) education. The purpose of the workshop was to discuss and generate ideas from a community of people representing the Americas on how to include TEK into mainstream ecology education.
The workshop's purpose, to discuss and generate ideas from a community of people representing the Americas on how to include TEK into mainstream ecology education, was accomplished by having a small group of educators and students share what they have done and learned in TEK education. First, short presentations helped spark ideas among participants about possibilities for wide spread promotion of TEK education; presenters shared their stories, successes, and hopes. Workshop participants then discussed three different topics in smaller groups, based on specific interests. Group topics included (1) TEK education: what do students want? (2) Best ways to communicate knowledge, and (3) Concepts and principles to include in an ecology course.
Students wanted to learn more about the traditional knowledge of their own cultures, and practices of communicating knowledge from other cultures. Students wanted to be taught by people who were from their community or by someone who understood and respected their cultures. Students also wanted elders to be involved so they could confirm and monitor the knowledge that was being passed along. Finally, students wanted to learn how to collect oral history from elders so they could learn more about their culture.
Ideas that were generated about the best ways to communicate knowledge included: an observation notebook connecting students to their world; asking students to define the words traditional, ecological, knowledge, and science to demonstrate different world views – everyone will come up with different definitions; establishing a community knowledge transfer network; and sharing and building a resource list of indigenous knowledge public education.
When discussing principles and concepts to include in a course, participants approached the topic philosophically. Participants suggested that an instructor must first start with understanding how well an audience understands TEK to identify their starting point. The course should be grounded in philosophy and use practical examples to illustrate points. Courses should include case studies from traditional and scientific ecological knowledge to demonstrate how different ways come to the same understandings. The importance of narratives and stories should be discussed and used in the course.
While TEK is a relatively new part of ESA, it is an old form of knowledge that has stood the test of time. TEK does not need the validation of science for it to be believed. The success of this workshop was in demonstrating to participants, including four SEEDS students, the value of TEK to a community of ESA members, enough so that we would like to see it as part of mainstream ecology education. A network of people was formed during this workshop, dedicated to ensuring TEK is recognized as the valuable knowledge that it is. The momentum continues to gather.
Council for Environmental Deans & Directors Reception
On January 28th, SEEDS Student Coordinator Jeramie Strickland attended the 3rd Annual Council for Environmental Deans & Directors Reception in Washington, D.C. The reception was sponsored by the National Council for Science & the Environment and the National Environmental Education & Training Foundation EnvironMentors Project. Jeramie presented with an ESA/SEEDS table top exhibit and met students, mentors, parents, deans, and directors of college degree programs throughout the U.S. He shared opportunities about the wide variety of undergraduate and graduate programs and various career opportunities that are available in Ecology.
These opportunities are shared with the mission of promoting ecology. Inclusion of announcements does not indicate endorsement by SEEDS. Please direct questions to each individual program.
Humboldt State University REU
Humboldt State University (HSU) will host 10 students this summer in a NSF-funded “Research Experience for Undergraduates” program. Students will design and conduct their own research projects in collaboration with 1 of 17 faculty mentors. The mentors’ expertise runs the full gamut of Ecology and Evolution, ranging from the diversity of microbial communities in hot springs at Lassen Volcanic National Park to the evolutionary ecology of songbirds, the physiological ecology of bats, and the systematics and biogeography of flying squirrels and other Pacific Northwest mammals. HSU's approach to undergraduate education is incredibly successful; among public, non-PhD granting institutions, HSU ranks 1st in the nation in the proportion of undergraduates that go on to attain a PhD in biology. The program offers each student a $3500 stipend, plus money for room and board and travel to/from HSU. For further information and application materials, please visit http://www.humboldt.edu/~hsureu/ or contact Dr. Sean Craig at email@example.com or 707-826-3656. Applications are due March 1, 2006.
Institute of Ecosystem Studies REU
The Institute of Ecosystem Studies (IES) is pleased to announce its 19th summer of undergraduate research opportunities through our "Ecology in Context" program. In 2006, 10 students will join the unique IES research community to carry out cutting-edge investigations of their own design, working closely with a mentor scientist. The program emphasizes the community nature of the scientific enterprise. The twelve-week program for 2006 begins May 30 and runs through August 21. Undergraduate freshmen, sophomores, juniors or first semester seniors are eligible to apply. Participants receive a $4560 stipend for the twelve-week program, and free housing in an Institute dormitory. For more information and to apply (applications must be postmarked by 15 February 2006), see our website at: www.ecostudies.org/reu.html or contact Heather L. Dahl, Research Coordinator at DahlH@ecostudies.org.
Miami University Ecology and Environmental Science REU
Miami University (MU) is pleased to be accepting applications for our Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) site, funded by the National Science Foundation and MU. The REU site will provide support for 12 undergraduate students in summer 2006 to conduct research in ecology and environmental science. The site focuses on collaborative research on Ecology in Human-Dominated Landscapes. Thus, students will be immersed in research projects that relate to society's impact on ecosystems, and each student will conduct an individual research project within a team of other students and faculty. The program is based at MU's Ecology Research Center, located in the small college town of Oxford, Ohio, and within an hour's drive from downtown Cincinnati. Many habitats are available for research including old-growth and second-growth forest, old fields, agro-ecosystems, urban areas, lakes, ponds and streams. Each student will receive a competitive stipend, free housing, and funds to cover travel and research costs. In addition, each student will earn 12 credits, tuition-free, which are transferable to their home institution. Students will conduct field research during a 10-week summer program, and analyze their data and participate in web-based research presentations during the following academic year. Students will have financial support to attend and present their research at a national scientific conference. Undergraduates with interests in ecology and environmental science from any institution are eligible for this program; prior course work in ecology and/or the environmental sciences is recommended. Applications will be reviewed starting February 1, 2006. For more information visit http://www.muohio.edu/ecoreu; email firstname.lastname@example.org; call 513-529-3100; or write Ecology REU, Department of Zoology, Miami University, Oxford, OH.
Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory REU & Courses
Conducting independent research at the RMBL is a fabulous opportunity to learn how to conduct field research, meet a variety of scientists, and help you determine your future career path. This 10-week Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program, June 12 – August 20, 2006, funded by the National Science Foundation, is intended to give students experience in the design, analysis and presentation of an independent research project. All students will work closely with their research mentors in choosing a research topic, refining their questions, devising their methodology, analyzing their data, and presenting their findings in oral and written format. The awards provide $600 toward travel costs, pay a $3750 stipend, and cover all expenses at RMBL such as room, board, and tuition if the student wishes to receive credit for their research project. Students should have a sincere interest in a career in field biology research. Fieldwork is difficult, and often tedious. We are looking for students with the mental and intellectual maturity to commit to hard work. We will judge the application in part on financial need and on student motivation. We encourage participation by minorities currently underrepresented in biology. Any student who is a citizen and permanent resident of the United States and has not graduated from college is eligible. The REU program is for students who must work in the summer to pay for their education. Application deadline is February 15, 2006. For more information, visit http://www.rmbl.org/index.php?module=ContentExpress&func=display&ceid=3. Taking classes is an excellent way to decide if a career in field biology is right for you. RMBL’s summer coursework program offers intensive mountain field work and emphasize individual research projects. You will interact with a variety of scientists and their research projects at RMBL. Students may also earn up to $500 working in various jobs during the summer session. This year we offer a regular 8-week session and two 4-week sessions, including conservation biology/ecosystem management, field ecology, and introduction to animal behavior. There are a substantial number of full and partial scholarships, so financial need should not stop students from applying. Applications for the coursework program are accepted at any time until the beginning of the session, but classes are often full before April 1. For more information, visit http://www.rmbl.org/index.php?module=ContentExpress&func=display&ceid=2.
Sevilleta LTER Summer 2006 Student Intern Positions
The Sevilleta Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) Project is an ecological research project funded by the National Science Foundation, where scientists and students are conducting long term studies of ecological pattern, processes and dynamics in riparian, grassland, shrubland and woodland ecosystems. Our research site is located 80 km south of Albuquerque, NM, in and around the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge. Intern duties will include but are not limited to: Data Collection in the field, setting up/taking down/repairing/monitoring field experiments, data entry, sample collection/sorting. Housing is provided AT NO COST at the Sevilleta Field Station; interns are expected to live at the Sevilleta Field Station. Work weeks are typically 4 days a week, 10 hours each day with Friday, Saturday and Sunday off. Rate of pay is $9.50/hr. Employment begins June 5, 2006 and ends August 11, 2006. Applicants must be in excellent physical condition, willing to work long days in a hot and dry climate, and willing to live and work in close proximity with other interns. Preference will be given to applicants with undergraduate course work in ecology or biology and some prior experience conducting field research with minimal supervision. Applications are due by March 31, 2006 or until the positions are filled. To apply: Send a copy of resume, references and an unofficial transcript to: email@example.com or Jennifer E. Johnson, c/o U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, P.O. Box 1248Socorro, NM, 87801. For more information about the Sevilleta LTER please visit our website sev.lternet.edu or contact Jennifer E. Johnson by email.
University of Michigan Opportunities
For students who are searching for a learning adventure this spring or summer, the UM Biological Station (UMBS), is just four hours north of Ann Arbor on Douglas Lake, in the wild splendor of the Northern Michigan woods. We'd like to remind you of what UMBS has to offer. First, we have four great new classes (full listing at www.lsa.umich.edu/umbs): Spring semester (May 14-June 10): Field Training Course in Archaeology (6 credits) taught by Meghan Howey and Prof. John O’Shea; Summer term (June 17-August 12 -10 credits in 8 weeks): Rivers, Lakes, and Wetlands, Forest Ecosystems taught by Prof. Burton Barnes, and Environmental Writing & Great Lakes Literature taught by Keith Taylor (director of the UM Creative Writing Program and Bear River Writers’ Conference). UMBS has its own Scholarship and Financial Aid program, with monies allocated for both merit-based and need-based scholarships and grants (including non-MI residents). In addition to the pool of funds available through the UM Financial Aid office, students have the resources of UMBS’s generous alumni and supporters, who know how beneficial and enriching time spent learning at UMBS is. We understand that students give up summer employment to participate in our program and therefore we do whatever we can to make it possible for any student to attend, regardless of financial limitations. The Research Experiences for Undergraduate (REU) Program is designed to provide "hands-on" experience and training in field biology and atmospheric science with all phases of research, from hypothesis formulation, through data gathering, to analysis, interpretation and communication of scientific studies. Funded by the National Science Foundation, the program will run from June 17 to August 12th, 2006 at UMBS. A stipend of $3,750 is paid to each student participant. Room and board expenses for the eight-week period are covered and an allowance for travel and research supplies is provided. Students may receive up to 3 semester hours credit for an independent study project (Biology 400: Advanced Research in Biology) by advance arrangement with a mentor/professor & the UMBS Office. Tuition expenses will be the responsibility of the individual student. Students must be at least of junior status at the start of the summer program and a permanent resident of the US. Seniors with a graduation date before August are not eligible. For more information, visit www.lsa.umich.edu/umbs/umbs_detail/0,2529,11186%255Farticle%255F20657,00.html .
Help Support SEEDS
We invite you to contribute to ESA's SEEDS Program to help support and encourage greater diversity in the ecology profession. Contributions to the SEEDS program are tax deductible and are used to support special initiatives for underrepresented students. To contribute, visit www.esa.org/seeds/supportSEEDS.php
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Send mail to: SEEDS Program, Ecological Society of America, 1400 Spring Street, Suite 330, Silver Spring, MD, 20910.