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program overview

Thank you for your interest in the REU Site: Warm-water aquatic ecology at Auburn University.  We are currently recruiting for our summer 2019 program now.  Click here to find a map of institutions associated with applicants to our 2019 program.  Given the competitiveness of REU Sites, we encourage you to consider applying to other REU programs, too. Click here to search for another REU Site.  Please follow us on Facebook to track our students' progress.  Also, please post our program flyer at your your institutioin to help with our recruiting efforts.  Lastly, click here to learn more about the publications produced by our REU students.    

Program Description

Having access to safe and abundant potable water is quickly becoming one of the most important global environmental issues.  Some models predict that 40% of the world's population will suffer water shortages by 2025 due to several mechanisms, such as climate change, species invasions, and eutrophication.  These issues have been especially challenging in the southeastern U.S. given the on-going explosive population growth and prolonged drought throughout the region.  Unfortunately, less emphasis has been placed on the study of warm-water ecology (in contrast to ecological research in cooler, more temperate regions), thus creating a significant need for broadly-trained scientists capable of exploring complex, context-dependent natural and anthropogenic processes threatening water resources in warm regions of the world. 

This REU Site is a novel, collaborative effort involving Auburn University faculty mentors specializing in diverse but complementary disciplines, including community ecology, fisheries management, aquaculture, evolution, limnology, molecular biology,  microbiology, invasive species, fish behavior, outreach, physiology, parasitology, and conservation.  Together these disciplines provide the education basis for undergraduate students to learn about techniques and tools to study aquatic communities, specifically warm-water systems such as reservoirs, farm ponds, streams, and brackish estuaries.  The primary objectives of this project include exposing participants to different scientific hypotheses, research techniques, and ecological habitats and conditions in an engaging, interdisciplinary atmosphere that fosters a strong interest in aquatic sciences by the next generation of water experts. 

All REU students are fully supported during their experiences at Auburn University, including a $5,500 stipend, travel support to and from Auburn University, research funds ($500), and food and lodging in Auburn University dorms for the entire 10 week program (May 19 to July 28, 2019).

Eligibility: All applicants who are interested in receiving NSF support must currently be a (1) U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or permanent resident and (2) an undergraduate freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior graduating no earlier than September 2019 or a high school senior that will start their undergraduate education the following fall semester after the REU program. We are especially encouraging students from traditionally under-represented groups in biology (i.e., African-Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, other Pacific Islanders, students with disabilities, first generation college students, and U.S. veterans) as well as students from institutions with limited research opportunities (e.g., community colleges) or students in financial need to apply.

International students: Although not financially supported by our REU Site, we are also open to including a few strongly motivated and self-funded international students in our REU Site research and professional development activities.

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2018 REU students

Caroline Cox - Young Harris College

Zachary Davenport - Gallaudet University

Andrew DeSana - Seton Hill University

Ravon House - Lander University

Sarah Leinbach - University of Maryland

Serra Martin - Gadsden State Community College

Bethany Pierce - Northwestern Oklahoma State University

Katherine Stonecypher - Humboldt State University

Emilia Torrellas - University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Emily Waller - Rochester Institute of Technology

REU 2018

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2013 REU students

Laura Alexander - University of Georgia (currently a PhD student at the Univ of Wisconsin)

Crystal Bishop - Young Harris College (currently working at the Jones Ecological Research Center as a lab technician for the Entomology and Microbiology lab)

Sarah Black - Valparaiso University (completed an MS at Southern Illinois Univ at Carbondale and currently a Junior Biologist for the US Army Corps of Engineers Regulatory Branch in the Detroit District)

Mallary Clay - Catawba College (completed MS at Auburn Univ and currently teaching biology at Christ School in Asheville, NC)

Laurel Low - Whitman College (currently an MS student at Yale University)

Brooke Merrill - Michigan State University (currently a lab technician at Koppert Biological Systems)

Jenae Olson - Minnesota State University - Moorhead (completed MS at Texas State Univ)

Leslie Pope - North Georgia College and State Univ

Miriam Schmid - Illinois Institute of Technology (completed an MS at Illinois Institute of Technology and currently teaching at Gwendolyn Brooks College Prep School)

Anthony Scott - Livingstone College (currently working as a wildlife removal specialist)

Deionta Sutton - North Carolina A&T University (currently working as a Quality Engineer)

Shanell Thomas - Tuskegee University (currently a vet student at Tuskegee Univ)

2013 REU group

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2012 REU students

Evelyn Boardman - University of Vermont (completed MS at the Univ of Minnesota-Twin Cities and currently working as  Watershed Scientist at an environmental consulting firm in Vermont)

Enrique Doster - Auburn University (currently a PhD/DVM student at Colorado State Univ)

Kaitlin Driscoll - Eastern Washington University (currently working as a technician in an ecology lab at Montana State University)

Kellie Fredette - Stetson University (currently an MS student at Auburn Univ)

Brittany Holt - Tuskegee University (completed MS at Univ of Alabama at Birmingham and is currently the Regional Healthy Homes and Lead Coordinator for the Georgia Healthy Homes and Lead Poisoning Prevention program)

Ryan Jiorle - William and Mary (completed MS at the Univ of Florida and currently working as a Fisheries Management Planner for the Virginia Marine Reources Commission in Newport News, Virginia)

Kevin Koenders - University of Rochester (completed an MS in Medical Sciences at the Univ of Florida and is currently at Weill Cornell Medicine working in their Physician Assistant Program)

Shirley Liao - Duke University (currently a PhD student at Harvard Univ)

Alex Neal - University of Dayton (completed MS at Bowling Green State Univ)

Trevor Starks - Kansas State University (completed MS at Oklahoma State Univ and currently a Stream Fisheries Technician for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation)

Rachel Zitomer - Humboldt State University (a recipient of an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship to attend Oregon State University for graduate school)

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2011 REU students

Vernon Anderson - Auburn University (currently a vet student at Auburn Univ)

Katie LeMay - University of West Alabama (completed MS at Texas A&M Univ at Corpus Christi and currently teaching in Port Lavaca, TX)

Aiden Simpson - Clarion University (currently a Joint Fisheries Biologist with Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and the Unassessed Waters Program Coordinator)

Michael Moore - University of Missouri - Columbia (completed MS at Virginia Tech University and currently a PhD student at the Univ of Missouri)

Michael Andrews - University of South Carolina (currently an MS student at Cal State - Monterey Bay)

Courtney Ellison - University of Georgia (currently a PhD student at the Indiana Univ and recipient of an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship)

Harlan Gough - Western Washington University (currently a PhD student at the Univ of Florida)

Kristen Carlisle - Jacksonville State University (currently working at the Southern Institute for Appropriate Technologyas the Clean Water and Nutrition Specialist)

Kate Kohlenberg - University of Alabama - Birmingham (completed an MS at the Univ of Alabama at Birmingham and heading to St. Louis University to attend Physician Assistant school)

Anthony Burger - Denison University (completed an MS student at Oklahomas State Univ and is currently working at the Career and Technology Education Center of Licking County as an instructor)

Andrew Stump - Eastern Kentucky University(completed MS student at Eastern Kentucky Univ and is currently a Fisheries Biologist with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources)

mentor spotlight

Tonia Schwartz

Dr. Tonia Schwartz