REU Site: Great Lakes ecosystem research to build foundations for successful STEM futures

Grant Details


This REU Site award to Central Michigan University (CMU), located in Mount Pleasant MI, will support the training of 8 students for 10 weeks during the summers of 2019-2021. Research is conducted at CMU's Biological Station, Beaver Island, MI. The interdisciplinary research theme will document how unprecedented changes currently underway (e.g. invasive and non-native species and anthropogenic stress) in the Laurentian Great Lakes, one of the world's most important and threatened freshwater ecosystems, are affecting the structure, function, and ecosystem services of the nearshore environment. Students will develop research projects (ranging from limnology, fisheries biology, conservation and spatial ecology, molecular ecology, and microbial ecology) in collaboration with CMU faculty to gain hands-on experience in all parts of the scientific process, from experimental design through data dissemination and translation. Students will engage with multiple stakeholders (e.g. government, private, and cultural) who have interests in Great Lakes resources and will learn to relate their science to these groups.

It is anticipated that a total of 24 students, primarily from Tribal Colleges and Universities and schools with limited research opportunities, will be trained in the program. Students will learn how research is conducted, and many will present the results of their work at scientific conferences. The educational goal is to inspire, encourage, and prepare students to pursue careers in STEM via meaningful research experiences. Students will be exposed to, and prepared for, scientific careers and/or graduate education. Additionally, students will develop communication skills to convey scientific information to the general public and thereby learn how to become scientific leaders and environmental advocates in their communities.

A common web-based assessment tool used by all REU Site programs funded by the Division of Biological Infrastructure will be used to determine the effectiveness of the training program. Students will be tracked after the program in order to determine their career paths. Students will be asked to respond to an automatic email sent via the NSF reporting system. More information about the program is available by visiting or by contacting the PI (Dr. Deric Learman at or the co-PI (Dr. Kevin Pangel at

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

Effective start/end date01/15/1912/31/22


  • National Science Foundation: $288,273.00


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