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program overview

Thank you for your interest in the REU Site: Warm-water aquatic ecology at Auburn University.  We are excited to report that our renewal proposal has been funded!  Our deadline has passed for the summer 2018 program.  We will begin recruiting for summer 2019 this fall.  Click here to find a map of institutions associated with current applicants.  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 (6/3/18-8/12/18).

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 2018 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.


2013 REU students

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

Crystal Bishop - Young Harris College (currently an MS student at Liberty Univ)

Sarah Black - Valparaiso University (currently an MS student at Southern Illinois Univ at Carbondale)

Mallary Clay - Catawba College (completed MS at Auburn Univ)

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

Brooke Merrill - Michigan State University

Jenae Olson - Minnesota State University - Moorhead (currently an MS student at Texas State Univ)

Leslie Pope - North Georgia College and State Univ

Miriam Schmid - Illinois Institute of Technology (currently an MS student at Illinois Institute of Technology)

Anthony Scott - Livingstone College

Deionta Sutton - North Carolina A&T University

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

2013 REU group


2012 REU students

Evelyn Boardman - University of Vermont (completed MS at the Univ of Minnesota-Twin Cities)

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

Kaitlin Driscoll - Eastern Washington University

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

Brittany Holt - Tuskegee University (completed MS at Univ of Alabama at Birmingham)

Ryan Jiorle - William and Mary (completed MS at the Univ of Florida)

Kevin Koenders - University of Rochester (currently an MS student at the Univ of Florida)

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

Alex Neal - University of Dayton (completed MS at Bowling Green State Univ and currently a PhD student at Bowling Green State Univ)

Trevor Starks - Kansas State University (currently an MS student at Oklahoma State Univ)

Rachel Zitomer - Humboldt State University


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)

Aiden Simpson - Clarion University

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

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

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

Kristen Carlisle - Jacksonville State University (currently an MS student at the Univ of Alabama at Birmingham)

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 (currently an MS student at Oklahomas State Univ)

Andrew Stump - Eastern Kentucky University(currently an MS student at Eastern Kentucky Univ)

mentor spotlight

Tonia Schwartz

Dr. Tonia Schwartz