REU investigating forest fragmentation effects in Connecticut

We invite applications for an NSF funded Research Experience for Undergraduates position to work on a project investigating the effects of forest fragmentation on species interactions in a plant-caterpillar-bird network in deciduous forests in Connecticut. The successful candidate will be trained in a variety of ecological field techniques, plant and insect identification and community ecology. The student will also develop and complete an individual project under the direction of the senior investigators.

Application due date: We will begin reviewing applications on April 3rd 2017 and continue until the positions are filled.

Position details: The student will participate in field surveys and experiments involving caterpillars, plants, birds and deer in forests of Eastern Connecticut, data entry, management and analysis and project planning. The student will attend lab and project meetings and will be expected to present their results to the group. Applicants should be prepared to work long days in the field, including through hot and wet weather.

A written project proposal (~2 pages) is due at the start of the position, which will be expanded to an interim report (3-4 pages, due in week 6 of the position) and a final report (10 – 12 pages, due at the end of the position). The student will be encouraged and funded to present their individual project at a local conference.

Minimum Qualifications: GPA of 3.5 or greater; Completion of BIOL 1107 or 1108 by start of position.

Preferred Qualifications: Evidence of active interest in biology and the natural environment through stated career goals, formal coursework or extra-curricular activities.

Appointment Terms: This is a 10-week appointment (May 8th –  July 14th, 2017) with a stipend of $500 per week.

How to Apply: Interested students should email Dr. Robert Bagchi ( with a cover letter that includes an explanation of interest in the project and statement of career goals, a ½ page outline of potential topics for the individual project, an up-to-date CV and the contact information for two references (names, telephone numbers and email addresses).

Example topics for individual projects: Quantification of deer abundance and its impact on lepidopteran community structure; nocturnal moth trapping to compare adult moth community composition to that of the caterpillar community; predation experiments using clay caterpillars; use of camera traps to quantify bird predation on caterpillars; measurement of parasitoid attack rates on caterpillars; sampling caterpillar and parasitoid communities on invasive plants; harnessing molecular methods (CO1 barcoding) to make caterpillar identifications.