This award renews funding for a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program at Rutgers University. Advances in remote sensing, ocean observatories, autonomous vehicles, numerical modeling, and molecular biology are changing oceanography. The faculty and research facilities at Rutgers allow undergraduates to explore how to use these, and other, technologies to understand marine ecosystems. The program brings ten students to Rutgers each summer for ten weeks. Some students will be housed at the main campus in New Brunswick, NJ and some will be housed at Rutgers University Marine Field Station in Tuckerton, NJ. Through independent projects and team research experiences, students focus on process-oriented concepts and techniques applicable in any marine ecosystem. Students are recruited through national and regional advertising. An initial four-day orientation introduces students to ongoing research, focusing on the Raritan River-Raritan Bay and the Mullica River-Great Bay systems. The two estuaries provide a sharp contrast in their human impacts on coastal ecosystems. The orientation includes two days at the Rutgers University Marine Field Station in Tuckerton, with hands-on experience in the coastal LEO-15 research area, and on the Mullica River. During the first week students also consult with mentors and attend workshops on how to formulate a research question and write a proposal. Other orientation activities include workshops on effective teamwork and an online course on responsible conduct of research. Ethics training will be supplemented by group discussions of case studies. Students make oral progress reports of their research in a mid-program workshop. Discussions of careers in ocean science and when and how to apply to graduate school take place towards the end of the program. All participants receive instruction on how to write up and analyze their data and how to prepare a poster for the final poster session. A total of thirty students will recieve an excellent summer research internship experience and career training via this award.
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