Research experiences for undergraduates (REU) and additional internships:  

REU programs available at PIE prepare students for graduate work, give expert instruction on a variety of sciences, and promote student driven colloborative research.  Undergraduate students from all universities can apply to spend a summer at PIE doing research under the mentoring of PIE scientists.  Students have the opportunity to develop their own project and present the results at the end of the summer during a formal symposium.  Most students also make a poster to present at their home institution and may continue their research as a student senior thesis working with both PIE scientists and those at their home institution.  Two REU internships are available each year and posted on the Careers at MBL web site under the seasonal/temporary category.  Additional REUs are offered through other universities including the Clark HERO program.  Additional undergraduates internships have also conducted research at PIE.

Examples of REU and Intern research projects:

  • Caitlin Bauer (2013) Bryn Mawr College. Effects of nitrogen fertilization on Spartina alterniflora morphology.
  • Nathan Andrews University of Rhode Island, David Behringer Washington & Jefferson College. (2013) The effects of salt marsh nutrient enrichment on Fundulus heteroclitus diet and growth rates, Plum Island, MA.
  • David Behringer, Washington & Jefferson College and Nathan Andrews, University of Rhode Island. (2013) The effects of nutrient enrichment on Fundulus heteroclitus demographics in northen Massachusetts salt marshes.
  • Wesley Clark (2013) Eckerd College. Great Egret and Snowy Egret population density and foraging habits in the Plum Island Sound and surrounding marsh ecosystems.
  • Anna Gordon (2012) Syracuse University. Temporal carbon flux dynamics in New England salt marsh ponds. (See photo)
  • Harriet S. Booth (2012) Brown University. Does chronic nutrient enrichment result in a trphic bottleneck in a salt marsh?
  • Timothy Krikorian (2012) Fitchburg State University. The effect of eutrophication on the growth and productivity of Fundulus heteroclitus.
  • Katherine Stout (2012) Clarkson University. The effects of eutrophication on the geomorphology of the Plum Island salt marshes.
  • Meghan Short, Brown University and Ashley Mui, University of North Carolina. (2010) Nutrient and detritivore effects on decomposition of Spartina patens litter in a salt marsh ecosystem.
  • Ashley Mui, University of North Carolina and Meghan Short, Brown University. (2010) Effects of biodiversity on detritus processing in salt marsh ecosystems.
  • Ariella Cohen and Eric Yando (2010) Connecticut College. An examination of creek bank deterioration in fertilized Plum Island Sound salt marsh creeks.
  • Eric Yando and Ariella Cohen (2010) Connecticut College. An examination of below ground biomass in fertilized Spartina alterniflora communities: Determining a mechanism for creek bank deterioration.


Semester in Environmental Sciences (SES) :

The SES program is a semester away program aimed for students interested in an emersion experience in environmental science.  During the last 5 weeks of the program students conduct an independent research project.  The course includes a field trip to PIE and many students base their projects at PIE.  For more information see http://ecosystems.mbl.edu/ses/.


Examples of SES research projects:

  • Patrick Doughty (2013) Lawrence University. The relationship between carbon, nitrogen and sulfur isotope composition and growth rate in ribbed mussels (Geukensia demissa) in New England salt marshes.
  • Joy Semian (2013) Dillard University. Are New England salt marshes keeping up with rising sea levels: comparing sediment accumulation with estimates of net carbon storage based on eddy flux tower measurements at the Plum Island Estuary.
  • Katherine Glover (2012) The University of the South (Sewannee).  Impacts of eutrophication on resource utilization by benthic invertebrates of salt marshes.
  • Julia Adams (2012) Wellesley College. The indirect effects of eutrophication on the diet and trophic position of mummichogs.
  • Arianna Goodman (2012) Oberlin College. Does nitrate change decomposition of salt marsh peats?
  • Jennifer Reeve (2012) Haverford College. Controls on nitrous oxide release  in salt marsh ecosystems.
  • Shelly Xia (2012) Franklin and Marshall. Changes in C and N cycling and greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural  soils after addition of synthetic and organic fertilizers.
  • JoHanna Burton (2011) Ripon College. The effect of parasitism on feeding preferences and litter decomposition rates of amphipods in the Plum Island Estuary.
  • David Dodge (2010) Middlebury College. The role of alternative respiration pathways and the effect of nutrient loading on peat decomposition in Plum Island marsh sediment.
  • Austin Ritter (2010) Middlebury College. Response of salt marsh ponds to eutrophication.
  • George Allen (2010) Oberlin College. Nutrient retention rates along productivity isoclines: Consequences of thermodynamics in algal microcosms.
  • Alice Carter (2010) Northwestern University. Microbial diversity, productivity and efficiency as responses to pH oscillation frequency.
  • Elizabeth Gomez (2009) Brown University. Effects of individual species on ecosystem processes; effects of eutrophication on Nereis in salt marshes.
  • Pam Moriarty (2009) Kenyon College. Biodiversity, Nutrient Enrichment and Ecosystem Function: The Effect of Melampus bidentata, Orchestia grillus and Philoscia vittata detritivores on litter decomposition in salt marshes.
  • Tim Ramnarine (2008) Dillard University. Observing the effects of increased availability of nitrogen on the salt marsh plant communities of the Plum Island Sound: A focused study on spartina alterniflora.
  • Stefanie Strebel (2008) Franklin & Marshall College. Effects of nitrogen loading on the structural and functional stability of the Plum Island Sound salt marsh ecosystem.