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Title: E4@SU Summer REU


Description: The Biology Department at Syracuse University is sponsoring a SPUR fellow from May to August 2021. The selected fellow will have the opportunity to work with one of several biology faculty in ecology, evolution, and environmental biology (see below). Our faculty conduct research with a variety of organisms, including plants, microbes, and insects. Research activities may include controlled plant growth or animal behavior experiments; laboratory measurements of organismal traits and function, and field-based experiments in natural communities. The fellow will join a vibrant group of students, staff, and faculty working at the intersection of ecology, evolution, and environmental issues. In addition to attending the ESA conference in August, the SPUR fellow will have the opportunity to participate in professional development workshops and the SU summer research symposium with other student researchers at Syracuse University.

Research Focus:

The specific project will depend on the applicant’s interests and what lab they are matched with (please rank your preferred lab in your application). A brief description of potential faculty mentors and projects for summer 2022 are listed down below:

  • Dr. Katie Becklin is interested in questions at the nexus of plant ecophysiology, microbial ecology, and global change. Students paired with this lab will have the opportunity to participate in field research in the Rocky Mountains. Student projects may include characterizing spatial variation in plant and microbial communities and/or experiments looking at the effects of soil microbes on seed germination and plant growth.
  • Dr. Doug Frank studies the effects of elk and bison herbivores on grassland ecosystems. Students paired with this lab will spend two weeks in Yellowstone National Park collecting plant and soil samples from grazed and ungrazed grasslands. Samples will then be brought back to the laboratory at Syracuse University for analysis of N and C content will be determined.
  • Dr. Jamie Lamit explores ecological and evolutionary processes that affect microorganisms and the role of microbial life, especially fungi, in global change. Students paired with this lab may work on projects that examine the diversity of soil fungi in wetland and forest ecosystems as well as controlled experiments testing microbial effects on plant growth.
  • Drs. Steve Dorus, Yasir Ahmed-Braimah, and Scott Pitnick are members of the Center for Reproductive Evolution (CRE) where they collectively study the evolution of reproductive traits using model organisms. Students paired with CRE may work on experiments using molecular, behavioral, and functional assays to understand the connection between genetic diversity, reproductive phenotypes, and fitness.

Location: Department of Biology, 107 College Place, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY 13244

Start and End dates: 6/1/2022 – 8/19/2022

Fellowship positions available: 1

Are the dates flexible? Yes

Eligibility and Requirements: Applicant must be in good academic standing. 

Summer Stipend: $400.00/week for 12 weeks ($4800 total)

Other services provided: Housing is provided, Ground transportation on site is provided if needed, Research materials or equipment are provided, There are other weekly educational opportunities on-site for students e.g. seminars, We have career development / awareness activities in place. The student will live in on-campus housing and will have access to meals at the campus dining center.