Office of Undergraduate Research

The relative roles of competition and facilitation in structuring plant communities

We are looking for a full-time field assistant, from May to late August, 2011. The research project examines how both competition and facilitation operate in plant communities, and at what point each process is stronger than the other at different levels of plant diversity. Fieldwork will be conducted at the Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve  the field station of the University of Minnesota - located in Bethel, MN (just north of the twin cities). Interns will first be taught the important conceptual details of the research, which will be reinforced by in the field measurements. The field work portion of the internship will mostly consist of: (1) seedling growth measurements, (2) plot level soil moisture, temperature, humidity measurements, and (3) data entry. Results of this research will help us better understand how biodiversity is related to such community properties as competition, facilitation, and invasion, as well as such ecosystem properties as plant productivity, and carbon and nutrient cycling.

Tasks and responsibilities:

Fieldwork can be tedious and will be a large part of the job  so only the determined should apply. The schedule is somewhat flexible but may involve long hours in the sun on hot days where ticks and biting insects are common. Field experience in these conditions is preferred.