We've planned individual immersive research projects for EERREC scholars, with mutual engagement by scholars, faculty, postdoctoral researchers, and graduate students. Undergraduates in the EERREC program will gain intellectual independence and insight into what it means to be a scientist, and increase their experience in a particular area of ecology, evolutionary biology, or animal behavior.
“Working in a lab for two years previously I thought that I knew a good bit for an undergraduate. But working in this lab I realized that although I may know how to conduct a few experiments, I never knew how they worked or why we did them at my previous lab. But here I knew why we were doing everything that we did, and that helped me realize the difference between just going through the steps and being a true scientist… I feel more like a scientist...”
In addition, for each EERREC scholar, we strive for co-mentoring of their research by faculty at UC Davis and a faculty member at their home institution. This recognizes the key role that these faculty play in the intellectual development of scholars, provides scholars with additional post-program mentoring, and ideally will strengthen existing scientific connections between institutions and create new ones.
Studying Rapid Environmental Change
Research in the EERREC REU lies within two themes.
These themes encompass important challenges that organisms and ecosystems face as a result of rapid environmental change. They also include specific research questions in urban, rural, agricultural, and natural systems and thus span the spectrum of effects of rapid environmental change that must be addressed by society.
Theme 1: Ecological and evolutionary effects of changing environmental regimes
Global climate change has influenced organismal ecology and evolution, with effects on animal behavior, ecological and evolutionary genomics, environmental physiology, and population biology. Research problems in this theme span levels of organization from the individual to community levels.
- Range limits in changing oceans
- Physiological stress in changing thermal and oxygen regimes
- Thermal stress on monarch butterfly caterpillars
- Phenology of plants under changing thermal regimes
- Plant traits and ecological processes under climate change
- Crop plants: a model for evolution in response to climate change
- Individual variation in behavioral plasticity
- Environmental, ecological, and evolutionary genomic responses to stress
- Mammal evolution and ecology under climate change
Theme 2: The biology of organisms in human-dominated ecosystems
Human actions often have multiple unanticipated effects on the capacity of organisms to acclimatize and adapt to changing environments. Research problems in this theme explore these implications for organisms that live under human influence.
- Ecological interactions in managed systems
- Human influences on bee pollinators
- Bird communication and traffic noise
- Urban birds as biomonitors of neurobehavioral disorders
- Restoration under rapid environmental change
- Effects of changing landscapes on biodiversity in vineyards
- Human influences on the evolution of maize