The goal of this NSF funded program is to provide undergraduate students with experience in hypothesis-driven collaborative research utilizing field based and/or laboratory methods every summer and fully engage them in projects associated with the ecology and evolution influencing Chihuahuan Desert biodiversity.

In their application, students will have the opportunity to select from more than 10 faculty driven projects/topics, each focusing on a biological discipline related to Chihuahuan Desert biodiversity. Students will receive meaningful exposure to research methodology as described in each of the project summaries:

  • Anthony Darrouzet-Nardi - Plant ecophysiology and soil biogeochemistry in the context of global change.

  • Eli Greenbaum - Associate Professor, Biology  - Herpetology and Molecular Systematics.

  • Jerry D. Johnson - Population and Community Ecology, ecogeography, reptiles, birds 

  • Arshad M. Khan - Brain and motivated behaviors, comparative neurobiology, neural imaging, circuit mapping, functional neuroanatomy.

  • Carl S. Lieb - Ecology and Biosystematics, relationships between lizards and arthropods as hosts and vectors of the malaria (Plasmodium) parasite

  • Vanessa L. Lougheed - Aquatic Ecology, ecological roles of ephemeral water bodies at IMRS.

  • Rosa A. Maldonado - Ecology of disease. 

  • Jennie McLaren - Plant community and ecosystem ecology.

  • Manuel Miranda - Characterize the architecture of retinal glycinergic cells from reptile retinas obtained on or adjacent to IMRS.

  • Michael L. Moody - Plant Evolution, plant phylogeography, ecogeography. 

  • Elizabeth J. Walsh - Evolution and ecology of freshwater invertebrates.   

  • Camilo Khatchikian- Assistant professor, Biology - Ecology of Infectious Disease

  • Philip Lavretsky - Assistant Professor, Biology – Population Genetics

The program will provide a cohort of summer participants with a high quality experience that combines education and novel research projects utilizing the 40,000 acre Indio Mountain Research Station and surrounding Chihuahuan Desert as well as the state-of-the-art facilities at UTEP.  Participants will also receive training in bioethics, one-on-one and group mentoring, and training in other relevant professional skills (e.g. writing and oral presentations).

Each participant will be guided directly by different members of the CDB faculty team, but they will participate in a number of activities that will keep them as a cooperative summer cohort that shares research interests in biodiversity studies and thus will benefit by understanding each other's work and contributing to each other’s growth as practicing scientists.
The major emphasis of this program is developing skills for performing independent and collaborative research.  Participants will be integrated into the research groups of individual faculty mentors. However, given that the program has a unifying theme, participants will be sharing common research interests as well as goals for academic and professional development. Consequently, participants will meet as a group for discussions, training, formal presentations, workshops and seminars. At the end of the program, students will present the results of their summer’s efforts at a symposium.
Deadline for application: February 26, 2018
Program Duration: 10 weeks
Start Date: May 29, 2018
End Date: August 4, 2018
Note: Students are expected to arrive in El Paso on Monday, May 28 and depart on Sunday, August 5.
Undergraduate Students admitted to the program will receive:
  • $5,500 for 10 weeks
  • Housing in shared apartments
  • Travel reimbursement to/from El Paso of up to $600