SUMMER 2021 UPDATE: Although things remain uncertain, at this time we are planning for a Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program at KBS in summer 2021. Please explore information below on Participating Faculty Laboratories and Past Student Blogs. Applications are open!
The NSF funded KBS REU Site “Ecological & Evolutionary Dynamics in a Changing World” gives students an opportunity to conduct full-time research in collaboration with our outstanding faculty, postdocs and graduate students.
All REU participants will receive a generous stipend, room and board at KBS, funding towards travel costs, and funding for research supplies.
What are the benefits of an REU at KBS?
- Join a dynamic group of students and faculty for an authentic field research experience
- Learn the process of research: reading literature, formulating questions and hypotheses, designing a study, collecting and analyzing data, and presenting your results as a research poster
- Explore if a career in research is a good choice for you
- Build references for your application to graduate school or other professional programs
- Participate in professional development seminars that will prepare you to think broadly about STEM career options
If you have questions about the program or application process, please email KBSsummer@msu.edu.
REU Timeline and Expectations
If you need an accommodation of any kind that is not supported in what we have provided, please do not hesitate to contact us.
This program is 10 weeks long and will run from May 30 – Aug 7, 2021 (students are expected to arrive on-site by 5 p.m. Monday, May 31 and depart Saturday, August 7).
This is a full-time (40+hrs/week) research experience. Specific hours will be arranged with your research mentor.
Summer 2020 REU Awards
Updates for 2021:
We are currently unaware what MSU’s requirements for being on campus will be in 2021. It very likely will include wearing a mask and social distancing. It may include a COVID-19 vaccine and testing. You will be expected to follow all regulations.
Housing will not be shared this year.
It is likely that our dining hall will not be open. We are working to develop alternative options such as carry out lunch or a grocery stipend for students.
- $6325 stipend + room & board at KBS (which includes Breakfast: M-F, Lunch: M-F, Dinner: M-Th, Brunch: Sat-Sun)
- Up to $550 to cover transportation to and from KBS (note MSU can only reimburse drivers up to $500 in mileage)
- Up to $250 for research expenses
Learning Plan and Professional Development:
REUs will work with their mentor to create a custom learning plan and work to develop an independent research project, collaborate to write a research proposal, attend weekly professional development seminars, develop an “elevator speech” about your research, write a research abstract and present a professional research poster at the KBS Summer Undergraduate Symposium, plus write a professional blog post about your research experience. ***Attendance of Professional Development seminars is required as part of the REU Program.
Participating Faculty Labs
Conner Lab – KBS & MSU Dept. of Plant Biology: We study the mechanisms by which natural selection on weeds and native plants produces (sometimes very rapid) adaptation to a variable environment, and constraints on this adaptation. Our approach is to combine laboratory, greenhouse, and field studies integrating evolution, genetics, genomics, and ecology to address questions at the interface of these areas. Students working in our lab will be involved in research that focuses on floral adaptations to pollinators, floral trait loss after the evolution of selfing, fitness effects of gene knockouts, and rapid adaptation of weeds to agricultural environments.
Evans Lab – KBS & MSU Dept. of Integrative Biology: Research in the Evans lab focuses on how microscopic organisms – bacteria, fungi, and archaea – function and respond to their environment. We are interested in how microbes respond to disturbances and stress, particularly factors associated with climate change such as increasing drought and unpredictable rainfall. Students working in our lab will be involved in both field and laboratory studies focusing on what factors alter the diversity of microbial communities and the important ecosystem functions that microbes carry out, like cycling nutrients and facilitating plant growth.
Fitzpatrick Lab – KBS & MSU Dept. of Integrative Biology: We are interested in fundamental and applied questions in evolution, ecology, and conservation biology. A primary focus of our research is on understanding how evolutionary and ecological processes lead to patterns of adaptation, fitness, and ultimately persistence in small populations. We work on organisms (mostly fish, but also amphibians, reptiles, and birds) in the wild and in the lab using field, experimental, and molecular approaches.
Haddad Lab – KBS & Dept of Integrative Biology: We study how landscape diversity in the Midwestern USA affects the diversity of species, primarily insects including butterflies, bees, ants, and beetles. Our work focuses on managed ecosystems from conventional agriculture to restored prairies and focuses on how landscape diversity, including planting prairie strips – small areas of restored prairie adjacent to agricultural fields – affects the diversity and abundance of insects in the agricultural fields and how theses ecosystems work. Students working in our lab will be involved in field research that addresses questions such as: How do different bees and butterflies affect pollination success? Do ants affect predation of pest species? How do beetles affect decomposition and nutrient cycling?
Janzen Lab – KBS and Dept. Fisheries & Wildlife: Research in our lab focuses on determining the molecular and physiological mechanisms underlying adaptation to environmental variation in reptiles, particularly turtles. We are particularly interested in how environmental variation associated with climate change affects the ecology and evolution of these species and can be applied to support the conservation of these species. Students working in our lab, will learn how to integrate molecular and quantitative genetic techniques with experimental studies in the lab and field.
Klausmeier & Litchman Lab – KBS & MSU Depts. of Plant Biology & Integrative Biology: We study microbial, freshwater and marine phytoplankton ecology, using a combination of theoretical and empirical approaches such as analytical and simulation modeling, laboratory experiments, field sampling, and long-term and large-scale data analysis to answer fundamental questions about what determines community composition and species diversity and how ecological communities would re-organize under anthropogenic global change. Students working our labs will have the opportunity to conduct laboratory and field studies focused on determinants of community composition in algae and to learn how modeling can be an important tool in this process.
Lowry Lab – MSU Dept. of Plant Biology: Research in the Lowry lab is centered on identifying the genetic and genomic mechanisms of ecological adaptations and how those adaptations contribute to the formation of new species. Much of our work is with switchgrass, Panicum virgatum, a native species with widespread distribution in North American and an important potential bioenergy crop. Students working in our lab will be involved in long-term field experiments established at KBS to determine the genetic basis of physiological traits associated with adaptation to productivity and adaptation to changing environmental factors.
Robertson Lab – KBS & MSU Dept. of Plant Soil & Microbial Science: Research in my lab broadly addresses issues of agricultural sustainability. We study the biogeochemistry and productivity of field crop ecosystems and landscapes. Our focus is on interactions between crop plants, soils and microbes that affect the delivery of important ecosystem services such as climate stability, water quality, and yield. Students working in my lab will be involved in field and laboratory studies to better understand what controls the sustainability of different agricultural systems.
Wetzel Lab – MSU Dept. of Entomology & Dept. of Integrative Biology: The Wetzel Lab studies how variability—including biological diversity and climate variability—influences interactions among plants, insect herbivores, and predators. We work in natural and agricultural ecosystems and strive to answer fundamental questions that have relevance for agricultural sustainability or global change biology. Our study species range from milkweed and monarchs to tomato and aphids. We do experiments and observational studies in the field and greenhouse and use statistical and mathematical modeling to link ecological processes and patterns across scales from individuals to communities. Students working in our lab will be involved in field experiments based at KBS that include manipulating temperatures using heaters and manipulating plant diversity, and quantifying the effects of these treatments on plant-insect interactions.
Zarnetske Lab – MSU Dept. of Integrative Biology: The Zarnetske Spatial and Community Ecology Lab (SpaCE Lab) investigates how the composition and geographic distribution of ecological communities are affected by biotic interactions, species invasions, biophysical feedbacks, geodiversity, and climate change. Students in our lab would be involved with experimental studies established at KBS to determine how changes in temperature, precipitation, and insect herbivores affect different plant species in successional and restored grasslands. These studies inform our spatial modeling research on how biodiversity responds to environmental change from local to global scales.
***KBS is excited to partner with the Ecological Society of America (ESA) SEEDS program to offer one (1) of our KBS REU positions through the ESA SEEDS SPUR Fellowship Program. The position must be applied for directly through the ESA SEEDS SPUR Fellowship Program.
How to Apply
Applications are open for Summer 2021 REUs!
What will you need?
- Ability to participate the entire 10-week program (May 30-Aug 7, 2020)
- A PDF of your current resume
- A PDF of your transcripts (unofficial is fine)
- Contact information for at least one (1) reference (we will contact references with a simple form once an application has made it past tier 1 application review)
- A statement of interest that highlights how this experience will enhance your learning and career goals
Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis starting January 15 until March 15. However, we encourage students to apply as early as possible!
We strongly encourage applications from underrepresented groups in the sciences, first-generation college students, students that attend colleges with limited research opportunities (e.g., community colleges and small colleges without graduate programs), and US military veterans currently enrolled as undergraduates.
You must be a U.S. citizen, or permanent U.S. resident, currently enrolled with undergraduate status to participate in the NSF REU program.
Please contact the KBS Academic Programs Coordinator, Lindsey Kemmerling (KBSsummer@msu.edu), if you have a specific question about the KBS REU program for Summer 2021. She can provide you with the most up to date information as things continue to change.
Thinking about applying to the program? Check out these student blog posts!