About the Program
* Supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Division of Biological Infrastructure in the Directorate for Biological Sciences and the Division of Oceanic sciences in the Directorate for Geosciences.
Our REU program offers a unique collaboration between the renowned Mystic Aquarium and a leading institute of higher education, the University of Connecticut, Avery Point, located on Long Island Sound. In fact, we are the only aquarium in the U.S. to have an REU! With us, you will gain access to both Aquarium and University resources and expertise. In addition to the focus on cutting-edge marine research, we also give our students extensive training in professional development, teamwork, and a true view into the world of research. We ensure our students are given all the keys to be successful! All research projects will be carried out at UConn, while professional development activities, seminars and job shadows will take place at Mystic Aquarium. All students will be given access to Mystic Aquarium throughout the 10 week period from June 5-August 14, 2021.
All student projects will revolve around the central question of
How do environmental stressors affect the physiology, behavior, and ecology of phytoplankton and marine animals in relation to the marine ecosystem?
Each REU student, under the guidance of their mentor, will focus their research on an individual link in the food chain (see “Mentors and Research Projects” section and figure below). Each student will be expected to develop their own research question and project; be given independence but support to complete it. Throughout the program, students will come together to discuss how their results relate to those of their classmates in addressing the overarching question. Thus, students will gain an understanding not only of their individual research topic, but how a project contributes to the “big picture” of science as a whole.
Each week students will participate in a different professional development workshop. The topics range from ethics, scientific writing, to data analysis. The two culminating events for the REU students will be oral presentations of their research to a scientific audience composed of members from the Mystic Aquarium and UConn, Department of Marine Sciences Faculty/Staff and an interactive poster exhibit symposium at the Aquarium for the general public.
Mystic Aquarium Rotations
Each week, dedicated trips to the Aquarium will further reinforce the interrelatedness of each student’s project. Each trip (See below) will be led by a different mentor paired with an expert curator from the Aquarium, who will use the resources of the Aquarium to show how environmental changes can affect different systems. Students will visit animals and exhibits such as Beluga whales, penguins, and coral reef systems.
What costs are covered?
Roundtrip travel expenses to Groton/Mystic Connecticut (up to $500/student; $2500 for those students coming from Alaska/Hawaii). Housing for the 10 weeks and $100/week for meals. Van transportation daily to the research site at UConn Avery Point and to the REU site at Mystic Aquarium. A stipend of $550/week for the 10 weeks of the program.
What You Will Gain
- Access to both Mystic Aquarium and UConn’s Resources and expertise
- Training in cutting edge marine research (both field and laboratory opportunities)
- Professional development such as training in communicating science, data analysis, ethics, etc.
- Job shadows at the Aquarium
- One-on-one mentoring with experts in marine science
- Exploration of career opportunities