An International Integrative Undergraduate Research Program for Under-represented Students

Join us for an exiting summer research in the Coral Triangle. You'll experience a new part of the world, see the amazing biodiversity of coral reefs, learn to apply cutting edge genetic techniques to the understanding of the origins of marine biodiversity, and develop skills that will further your career development, no matter what your career path is. All that, and it doesn't cost a thing! Project locations include Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.

Our destination in 2013 is Bali, Indonesia! We'll be working at the Indonesian Biodiversity Research Center.

Participating Students will:
1. Be provided with transportation from your home to Bali.
2. Receive housing in Bali.
3. Have all field expenses covered while doing field collections in Indonesia.
4. A 10-week stipend

In summer 2013 we will be recruiting students directly from three partnering institutions, Morehouse College, Spelman College, and Hampton University. The Online Application will not be active for applications at large. Please look back next year.

Program Overview: The summer of 2005 marked the beginning of a new research opportunity for undergraduate students. Founded by Dr. Paul Barber at Boston University, the Diversity Project is a 10-week educational program is designed to increase participation of under- represented minority students in the biological sciences through an integrated research experience that combines field work on the colorful and diverse coral reefs of the Coral Triangle with cutting edge molecular genetic research. This program is supported by funding from the UC-HBCU initiative and the National Science Foundation.

Students will join a research team comprised of Dr. Paul Barber (UCLA), Dr. Forest Rohwer (SDSU), Dr. Jonathan Gellar (MLML) Dr .Chris Meyer (Smithsonian), Dr. Nancy Knowlton (Smithsonian), Dr. Allen Collins (Smithsonian) and Dr. Rusty Brainard (NOAA), and an international team of faculty, postdocs, and graduate students for research intensive courses and collaborative research. Students will attend lectures and will be trained in both field methods and genetic techniques required for modern biodiversity studies and will work collaboratively on projects designed to help improve our understanding of the origins of marine biodiversity in the Coral Triangle, as well as the conservation of this biodiversity hotspot. Hands-on field and laboratory research will be complemented by mentoring on career development, ranging from successfully applying to graduate school to choosing a career. Througha new grant from the NSF PIRE program, The Diversity Project will run through summer of 2017.

Project Summary: Understanding the origins of high marine biodiversity in the Coral Triangle. The Coral Triangle is the center of the world's marine biodiversity with an unprecedented wealth of marine species. However, scientists don't understand why diversity in this region is so high. Traditionally it is believed that speciation results from divergence of populations separated by a physical barrier to dispersal, such as a river or mountain range. Although this model of speciation works well in terrestrial ecosystems, it is unclear whether similar mechanisms operate in marine environments because most marine organisms have a pelagic dispersal stage, where larvae enter into the plankton, potentially dispersing great distances on ocean currents. Because of pelagic larval dispersal, it is believed that there should be limited barriers to dispersal in the oceans, and limited opportunities for the creation of new species. Thus, there is a paradox of high biodiversity in an environment that should have limited opportunities for speciation. Over the next five years, funded by a National Science Foundation grant, we will try to answer this paradox, integrating ecology, physical oceanography, and molecular genetic techniques to explore the evolution of marine biodiversity in the Indo-Pacific.

Sound interesting? Sound like fun? Would you like to joint the team? Go back to the top of the page and hit apply for the online application.

For more information, click here to email Paul Barber.

Funding provided by The National Science Foundation