REU Opportunity Summer 2017: “Long-Term Resilience of the Chihuahua Desert Ecosystem”

Curious about how human related disturbance impacts vegetation and soil in a fragile desert ecosystem? The Jornada Basin LTER in collaboration with New Mexico State University invites applications for a NSF sponsored Research Experience for Undergraduate (REU) in summer 2017. This 10-week experience enables you to investigate long-term impacts of different disturbance types on the resistance and resilience of desert vegetation, biological soil crusts and soil properties. As an REU you will complete final (20th year) measurements on a unique study designed to determine how resilience is affected by disturbance type, frequency, intensity, and soil/geomorphic surface/plant and biological soil crust community. The study is replicated at 5 locations in southern New Mexico on and near the Jornada Basin LTER. You will work as part of a team collecting data on plant and biological soil crust community composition, soil aggregate stability and carbon flux rates. Additional measurements of soil hydrology may be included depending on time and interest. You may have the opportunity to serve as a co-author on one or more publications resulting from this 20-year dataset.

This REU experience provides you with:

=95 High quality research experience in desert ecology

=95 Skills in field biology and laboratory methodologies

=95 Opportunity to work alongside researchers from interdisciplinary fields at a NSF funded LTER facility

=95 Participation in the 1-day Desert Ecology short course taught by Jornada LTER scientists

=95 Opportunity to disseminate results in presentations and scientific publications

=95 A stipend of $8000 for 10 weeks


=95 You must be enrolled as an undergraduate at an approved university for spring and fall of 2017.

=95 Valid US driver=92s license is required.

=95 Ability to work full days outside in the sun, wind, and low humidity.

=95 Interest and ability to stay overnight in field station lodging. Accommodations will be provided on-site with other researchers at the remote Jornada field station located 40 miles north of Las Cruces, NM.

=95 Your travel to and from Las Cruces from your home will need to be paid from your stipend

Your application should include:

=95 Letter of intent including statement of interest and previous research experience

=95 Resume or Curriculum Vitae

=95 Unofficial undergraduate transcripts

For more information on the Jornada Basin LTER please visit You can find information on the research mentors here:

Nicole Pietrasiak; and

Jeff Herrick

Applications due: March 1, 2017. Please send your applications to Nicole Pietrasiak (<>) and Jeff Herrick (<>