BIOS REU Program Debuts New Format

The 2021 NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program will return to BIOS this fall with an exciting new format for undergraduate students looking to gain hands-on research experience. Nine REU projects will be based around three broad research themes that will allow individual projects to be more collaborative. Harvey Castillo was a 2019 BIOS REU intern from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona, where he studied wildlife biology. At BIOS, Castillo worked with biological oceanographer Amy Maas researching the physiological responses of microscopic zooplankton to changing ocean temperature.

This fall, BIOS will again welcome U.S. undergraduate students to its campus as part of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program. But this year, there will be an exciting new twist to the internship experience.

Since 1991, the Institute has paired REU interns with faculty and research staff for 12-week independent research projects in a variety of topics in marine and atmospheric sciences, including marine microbiology, coral reef ecology, fish population dynamics, ocean currents, gliders, and genetics.

The nine REU projects this year will be based around three broad research themes: coral reef systems ecology; plastics in the marine environment; and biological production and exports: assessing the biological carbon pump in the Sargasso Sea. This new framework will allow the individual projects to be more collaborative, better reflecting how many ocean science research investigations are conducted.

In addition to hands-on experience in the laboratory and field, BIOS REU internships provide undergraduate students with a host of skills that are essential for success in the sciences, such as data management and analysis, scientific writing, and public speaking.

Alumni often translate their internships at BIOS into presentations at professional scientific conferences, publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals, and acceptance into graduate school. However, the best indicator of the program’s success is what past REU students have to say about their experiences:

Allison Doolittle was also a 2019 BIOS REU intern, a marine biology major at Los Angeles Harbor College in Los Angeles, California. During her internship at BIOS, she worked with marine benthic ecologist Yvonne Sawall investigating the impacts of oxybenzone, a common ingredient in sunscreen, on Bermuda’s corals.

“Joining the NSF-REU program was an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I gained practical research experience that better prepared me for graduate school and the mentors at BIOS went above and beyond my expectations. I would highly recommend this internship to anyone thinking of entering into a science field because you will gain hands-on research experience that will help guide you on your chosen career path.” Allison Doolittle, 2019

“Whether we were working together to troubleshoot a research problem, snorkeling by a pristine nature reserve, or celebrating holidays as a community, I am so grateful for the opportunity BIOS gave me to engage with marine biology in a hands-on way with such an incredible group of people!”  Adam Shaham, 2020

“My NSF-REU internship taught me what working in research is like. I never considered getting a PhD before this program and now I see it as a possibility for me. I would recommend the program to all students because it gave me an opportunity to discover if this is what I want to pursue as a career.” Michelle Diminuco, 2019

The deadline to apply for the 2021 BIOS REU program is May 31. Visit /education/reu/ for more information and to download an application.

Funding for this REU site is provided by the National Science Foundation’s Division of Ocean Sciences located in Arlington, VA. Award number OCE-2050858. The NSF contact for this program is Elizabeth Rom. NSF does not handle REU applications; please contact each REU site directly for application information.