Undergraduate Research in Plant Systematics, Conservation Biology, and Ethnobotany at the Missouri Botanical Garden
- Organization: Missouri Botanical Garden
- Duration: 10 weeks
- Paid? yes
The MBG program focuses on the areas of plant systematics, conservation biology, and ethnobotany. Potential projects include taxonomic description of new species and revisionary studies in Brassicaceae, Araceae, and Melastomataceae, DNA sequencing and phylogenetic analysis, DNA barcoding, pollen analysis, pollination biology of rare species, seed morphology and anatomy of Lythraceae and Passifloraceae, conservation biology of threatened species, ecology of invasive species, herbarium study of historically important collections, Native American ethnobotany, and revisionary studies of economically important plants. REU students have access to a herbarium of 6.2 million specimens, an excellent botanical library, rich garden collections, a 2,400 acre natural area, and a laboratory with facilities for plant anatomy, microscopy, digital imaging, SEM and DNA analysis.
Students will work closely with a PhD mentor from MBG or associated university on an independent research project. Past projects include taxonomic description of newly discovered plant species from the tropics, DNA sequencing and phylogenetic analysis, DNA barcoding, pollen analysis, pollination biology of rare species, seed morphology and anatomy, conservation biology of threatened species, ecology of invasive species, herbarium study of historically important collections, Native American ethnobotany, and revisionary studies of economically important plants. Students will be trained in all aspects of research, including project design, background research using library and electronic resources, methods, data collection and analysis, and presentation of results in a poster, public research symposium and possibly a published paper.
Students will also participate in professional enrichment sessions dedicated to improving writing skills, ethics in research, intellectual property rights, getting into graduate school, taking the GRE exam, graduate school options, conversation and sustainable living. Students will participate in twice-weekly Lunch and Learn sessions in which these subjects will be discussed. Students will also participate in field trips to local natural areas and cultural attractions. The REU program will be integrated in other ongoing MBG programs involving herbarium and garden support staff, high school students and undergraduates, graduate students, professional botanists, educators and visitors.
REU interns receive food and lodging, support for research, and a weekly $500 stipend.
Selection for the program is made on the basis of a combination of qualifications. Preference is given to participants who have a sincere interest in the featured programs (botany, systematics, conservation, ethnobotany). The program is also designed for well-qualified students who need minimal training. High academic achievement is not the only criterion for acceptance into the program. Demonstrated effort in learning about botany is viewed favorably, especially coursework in taxonomy and ecology. Mentors are notified of the applicants that have indicated interest in their projects and given a chance to participate in the selection process.
Students must be returning to an undergraduate degree program in the fall following the REU program. If you will be graduating in May or June in the year of the program, you are not eligible. To be eligible you must also be a U.S. Citizen or permanent resident.
All applicants (whether accepted or not) will be notified via e-mail as soon as possible (March or early April).
Questions / contact
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Link: Internship webpage
- Course code: