REU Site: Restricted Scope for Participant Support Costs: Suburban Ecology and Invasive Species

Grants and Contracts Details


Intellectual Merit: We propose to imbed 30 talented undergraduates within an active and novel research environment that engages them in authentic scientific practices through timely explorations of ecological processes. Students will learn the context, design, execution, and analysis of original data. Students, under mentorship of science faculty, graduate students, and education experts will explore the phenomenon of invasive species in suburban and rural (managed) habitat and will develop mastery regarding ecological core concepts, mathematical models, an array of taxa, and integrating knowledge of several levels of biological organization. Specific attention will be given to students’ participation in original theory generation (computer simulations), hypothesis construction, and empirical tests in the field. Student participants will function as a dynamic learning community, collectively seeking understanding of the causes and consequences of successful invasions and possible intervention strategies. Acting as a community of scientists, students will communicate their original findings to a public audience, thereby gaining experience in the methods for disseminating scientific results. Broader Impact: Our goal for this REU site is to create a sustainable mentoring program that produces the next generation of quality researchers and educators able to effectively engage with the greater public about ecology. This project will enhance an actively developing suburban ecological research and outreach facility, expand basic understanding of the ecology of invasive species, build capacity of recruitment of students from groups underrepresented in science, and interactively train students interested in either advanced research or science teaching. Through response to rigorous project evaluation, we will develop an effective model for linking a physical research site and facility with associated programs that integrate basic research, development of learning communities, and science education at multiple levels. These elements will provide data on effective mentoring and outreach programs to educational research communities and expand greater awareness of science and science education.
Effective start/end date9/15/118/31/14


  • National Science Foundation


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