REU opportunity in terrestrial ecosystem ecology

REU Opportunity in Terrestrial Ecosystem Ecology

University of Georgia

I am seeking an undergraduate with a strong interest in terrestrial ecosystem ecology for a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) position this summer. This is a 10-week program (mid May-July) where a student would work on a project in forests of the southern Appalachian mountains studying the nitrogen cycle and legacies of disturbance (more details on the project below). The REU position is full time (40 hrs/week) and pays $7500 for the summer. The position will be based in Athens, GA but several 1-day and overnight field trips to the Coweeta Hydrologic Lab and neighboring forests will be required.

Interested students can apply by sending Dr. Nina Wurzburger ( the following documents by April 1st, 2019:

1)    A cover letter stating their interest and qualifications

2)    A CV or resume with contact information of 2 references

Project Description:

The REU student will assist with an ongoing project focused on long-term patterns in forest recovery from disturbance. Specifically, we are interested in the fate of nitrogen fixed by Robinina pseudoacacia (black locust) after the disturbances of the early 20th century (logging and the demise of chestnut). The primary goal of the REU student will be to quantify the fate of historically-fixed nitrogen and how it has changed nitrogen cycling over decades of forest recovery. The student will also be encouraged to develop an independent research project that fits within our broader project goals of understanding historical legacies of nitrogen fixation, including: soil microbial activities, N isotopes in soils and vegetation and relationships with mycorrhizal symbioses. For more information on lab research interests, see Wurzburger lab webpage.

Student Activities:

1)    Training in field-based research including sampling plants and soils, which requires substantial off-trail hiking.

2)    Training in lab-based research techniques including analyzing soils for available nitrogen, quantifying potential denitrification and extracellular enzyme activities, grinding soil and plant samples and preparing tin capsules for elemental and isotopic analysis.

3)    Data analysis and interpretation includes reading relevant literature, lab group discussions and organizing a research presentation that summarizes the findings from this work.

4)    Present research at REU symposium at Coweeta at the end of the summer.

Nina Wurzburger

Associate Professor

Odum School of Ecology

University of Georgia