summer REU positions in northern Alaska

We are seeking enthusiastic undergraduate researchers interested in summer field research in Alaska for two REU positions in the Bret-Harte and Ruess labs at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.  Our overall research objective is to understand the ecosystem and global consequences of potential future changes in arctic vegetation.  In this project, we are focusing on the mechanisms by which increasing abundance of large deciduous shrubs in tundra ecosystems may alter the near-surface cycling of C and N, and feedbacks to further vegetation change. You will assist with fieldwork in arctic tundra and laboratory work consisting of tasks such as plant sorting and data entry. You will collaborate closely with the principal investigator, graduate students, and technicians to develop an independent research project of your own that will build on the ongoing research, and will present your work at an informal symposium at the Toolik Field Station. In addition, you will attend weekly seminars on the research at the station.  One student will be based at the Toolik Field Station, north of the Brooks Range in arctic Alaska (, which is the focus of research by nearly >100 scientists who work on a variety of terrestrial and aquatic ecology projects.  The other student will be based in Fairbanks, Alaska, with frequent trips camping in the boreal forest, and some time at Toolik Field Station.  Both positions will last approximately 10 weeks, starting in mid-June, though there is some flexibility.

Class background in plant ecology, botany, ecosystem ecology, statistics, and computer science would be an advantage.  Experience in field or laboratory, experience with data analysis, and experience working in a remote field site is preferred.  You should have skills with plant identification, data collecting and recording, data manipulation in Excel, and data analysis. You must be willing to work in the field, occasionally under adverse weather conditions.  A valid U.S. drivers’s license is preferred.  Competent, careful, emotionally mature, and enthusiastic people desired!  We want the work to be both fun and challenging.  You must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and currently enrolled in an undergraduate degree program, with graduation expected no sooner than fall 2019.  You must provide a copy of your social security card at the time of employment.  Women and minorities are especially encouraged to apply.

If you are interested in this position, send 1) a copy of your resume, including the names and contact information for 3 references, 2) a list of your coursework in biology, ecology, chemistry, and math/statistics, and 3) a cover letter than explains why you are interested, describes your background and research experience, and includes anything that you think would convince us that you are the most appropriate person for this position, to Syndonia Bret-Harte, by March 29, 2019.  We will contact you to discuss the position.