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Aquaculture & Fisheries Science Mentors: • Dr. Marta Gomez-Chiarri • Dr. David Bengston

Opportunities 2013


Mechanisms for prevention of shellfish diseases The goal of this project is to develop tools for disease management in oyster aquaculture. We are focusing on two different major prevention tools: probiotics and disease resistance. The fellow will be involved in the performance of disease challenge experiments testing the effectiveness of these two approaches. Mentor: Marta Gomez-Chiarri Email: Phone: 874-2917

Opportunities 2013


Optimization of a plant-based diet for summer flounder (Paralichthys dentatus) aquaculture Researchers in the Fisheries, Animal and Veterinary Sciences department have investigated replacing fish meal in summer flounder diets with planbased protein sources through many feed trials, over a period of many years. At this point the research is focusing on the impact of probiotic substances found naturally in soy products on growth and immunological health. The Coastal Fellow will collaborate with faculty and graduate students to design, produce and evaluate diets for summer flounder; participate in feed trials; assist in post-trial analysis, and help determine future research directions in this line of investigation. The Coastal Fellow will be primarily mentored by graduate student Dan Ward, in collaboration with Drs. Marta Gomez-Chiarri and David Bengtson. The student must have their own vehicle.

Mentor: Marta Gomez-Chiarri Email: Phone: 874-2917

Opportunities 2013


Animal Science Mentors: • Dr. Becky Sartini

Opportunities 2013


Function of the Sperm Transcriptome This project involves a functional analysis of the sperm transcriptome. Recently, our laboratory has use high-RNA-Sequencing to identify the transcriptome of sperm and we are currently conducting studies to determine the function of this sperm RNA. One hypothesis is that sperm RNA regulates sperm changes, called capacitation, that are necessary for fertilization. The Coastal Fellow will be learning to conduct the sperm capacitation assay, RNA isolation and qPCR to determine if there are quantitative changes in RNA amount during this process. No previous molecular biology experience is required although helpful. Mentor: Dr. Becky Sartini Email: Phone: 874-2667

Opportunities 2013


Regulation of Gene Expression in Male Germ Cells This project is a continuation of research involved in regulation of mRNA in male germ cells and related to male fertility. The Coastal Fellow will work on an NIH funded project to isolate male germ cells and conduct RACE PCR and qPCR to prepare samples for highthroughput RNA-Sequencing No previous molecular biology experience is required although helpful. Mentor: Dr. Becky Sartini Email: Phone: 874-2667

Opportunities 2013


Biological Sciences Mentors: • Dr. Steven Irvine • Dr. Evan Preisser • Drs. Alison Roberts & Joanna Norris • Dr. Serena Moseman-Valtierra

Opportunities 2013


Asexual development in the invasive tunicate Didemnum Didemnum vixellum is an invasive colonial tunicate that is spreading in coastal ecosystems at an alarming rate. This animal can reproduce asexually by a unique process called pyloric budding. This unusual developmental mode may explain its prodigious invasive properties, but very little is known about it. The Coastal fellow would participate in studies of both the asexual developmental process itself, and studies of gene expression looking for candidate proteins that might be involved in the early stages of asexual development. The fellow will be involved in histology and microscopy, as well as molecular biology techniques, such as nucleic acid purification, PCR, and cloning, but does not need prior experience. Mentor: Dr. Steven Irvine Email: Phone: 874-9204

Opportunities 2013


Heterochrony in developmental gene expression in ascidians. Some ascidians (sea squirts) develop larvae with only functional somatic systems (locomotory and sensory) while visceral systems (circulatory and digestive) only form at metamorphosis. Other, mostly colonial species, have larvae which are much larger, and in which both somatic and visceral organs develop in the larva. This project is aimed at studying this difference in developmental timing, termed heterochrony, by looking for genes that might control development of the different systems, and determining their expression patterns. The work will involve basic molecular techniques, such as cloning, PCR, and in-situ hybridization. It will also include field collection of animals, and extraction of larvae and nucleic acids. No specific previous experience is required. Mentor: Dr. Steven Irvine Email: Phone: 874-9204

Opportunities 2013


Exploring the impact of the hemlock woolly adelgid on eastern hemlock This project involve s working with graduate students on a variety of research projects centered on the impact of the invasive hemlock woolly adelgid on eastern hemlock trees. There will be a mix of laboratory and field work; students should expect to spent a lot of time outside doing adelgid counts on potentially-adelgid-resistant eastern hemlocks and control trees, but there will also be laboratory work on hemlock physiological responses to adelgid feeding. Interested students may also get the chance to help on other lab projects , including research on predator-prey interactions between Chinese mantids and chemically-defended caterpillars. Mentor: Dr. Evan Preisser Email: Phone: 874-2120

Opportunities 2013


Mutation Analysis of Cellulose Synthase The cellulose synthase genes encode the enzyme complex responsible for synthesis of cellulose, an important component of plant cell walls and many products made from wood and other plant fibers. We are knocking out cellulose synthase genes in a model moss species to investigate how the cellulose synthase proteins come together to form a functional complex. This will pave the way for genetically altering cellulose for enhanced strength, absorbency, or processing for biofuels. Coastal Fellows will learn how to amplify DNA by PCR and clone it into plasmid vectors. They will use these vectors to genetically transform moss in order to knock out the cellulose synthase genes. They will also learn how to analyze the genotype and development of the transformed moss plants. Coastal Fellows will be members of a research team that includes two professors and two graduate students. We meet regularly to share data, troubleshoot procedures, and discuss the newest work in the field. Previous lab experience is helpful, but not essential. We are looking for students who are interested in learning molecular research methods and becoming involved in an active research group. Mentors: Drs. Alison Roberts & Joanna Norris Email: Phone: 874-4098

Opportunities 2013


Greenhouse gas fluxes and sea level rise: How might drowning marshes influence global climate change? Up to two undergraduate assistants will be invited to help with a collaborative research project, on Nitrogen and Coastal Blue Carbon in salt marshes between Dr. Moseman-Valtierra and scientists in the US Geological Survey and Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole, MA. Our research will test how two major elements of climate change (sea level rise and greenhouse gases) may affect the function and structure of coastal marshes. An overview of the project is found at Student(s) will participate into a team that is measuring greenhouse gas emissions and plant productivity in coastal salt marshes in Waquoit Bay, MA (southern Cape Cod) . Students will learn to deploy static flux chambers in connection with state-of-the-art gas analyzers (in situ cavity ring down spectroscopy) that yield real time data on computers in the field. Techniques for porewater and soil sampling and surveys of vascular salt marsh plant communities. The fellowship is based at URI. Lab activities at URI will include gas chromatography and processing of soil, water, and plant samples. For field work on Cape Cod, transportation or mileage can be provided, and on a few occasions where multiple field days are required, housing will be available free-of-charge at the reserve. Independent work related to any aspect of this project will be encouraged, including parallel work in marshes of Narragansett Bay. Relevant primary literature will be assigned for reading and discussed to guide development of original research questions.

Mentor: Serena Moseman-Valtierra Email: Opportunities 2013 Phone: 401-874-7474


Cell & Molecular Biology Mentors: • Dr. Carey Mendin • Dr. Linda Hufnagel

Opportunities 2013


Reporter constructs for live-cell analysis of dengue virus infection The overall objective of this project is to study dengue virus (DENV)-host cell interactions through live-cell analysis of infected cells. DENV is a mosquito-borne flavivirus of global importance, which predominantly infects hematopoietic cells of the myeloid lineage. DENV infection is known to induce significant changes in cellular function, but most in vitro studies have either used unsorted cultures, reflecting both direct and indirect effects of viral infection, or have destroyed cell integrity by permeabilization and fixation to identify DENV-infected cells by immunostaining. This project will differentiate direct and indirect (bystander) effects of DENV infection in vitro non-destructively by developing novel technology to identify DENV-infected cells, and will apply this technology to investigate the interaction of DENV with vesicular pathways. The goal of this fellowship will be to develop and evaluate modified constructs for labeling of DENV-infected cells- We will build on promising preliminary data showing cleavage of a synthetic target for the DENV protease to a) develop reporter constructs for all four DENV serotypes, b) develop reporter constructs that permit sorting of DENV-infected cells, and c) develop lentiviral reporter constructs for transduction of primary human cells. The fellowship will be wet lab work in the Laboratory for Viral Immunity and Pathogenesis in Providence, RI. The fellow should have classroom laboratory experience in biological sciences such as labs associated with BIO 101, MIC 201 and/or MIC 211. BIO 341 and BIO 437 will be helpful but not necessary.

Mentor: Dr. Carey Mendin Email: Phone: 401-277-5252 Opportunities 2013


Evolution, diversity and ecology of sand-dwelling, interstitial microorganisms belonging to the Phylum Ciliophora: DNA barcoding for identification and evolutionary analysis. A major goal during the summer and fall of 2013 will be to continue a project now in progress to set up the procedures for DNA bar-coding of ciliates. Barcodes are gene-derived sequences that have been demonstrated to be species-specific. The project involves the extraction of DNA from single cells or small numbers of cells, PCR amplification of small subunit ribosomal DNA, and sequence analysis of the amplified DNA. In addition, other potential DNA barcodes will be explored, such as the mitochondrial Cox 1 gene, and the gene for a conserved ribosomal protein, phosphoprotein P0.

Mentor: Dr. Linda Hufnagel Email: Phone: 401-742-5358

Opportunities 2013


Geosciences Mentors: • Dr. Dawn Cardace • Dr. Tom Boving

Opportunities 2013


Mineralogy, Geochemistry, and Geobiology of Ultramafic Rocks In this research internship, the goal is to evaluate samples of variably weathered peridotite, or tectonically uplifted mantle rocks of ultramafic composition, primarily from northern California. These rocks are naturally high in metals such as Ni, Cr, Co, Fe, and may release biologically toxic levels to area water bodies. This position involves laboratory work (use of x-ray diffraction analyses to document mineralogy, x-ray fluorescence to document geochemistry, and assembly of small bioreactors to evaluate microbial geo-ecology) and may involve travel to northern CA pending successful field grant requests. Skills required: organization, self-motivation, two semesters of chemistry, B or better in GEO320. Preferred skills: experience keeping high quality laboratory and field records.

Mentors: Dawn Cardace and T. Julie Scott Email: Phone: 874 - 9384 Opportunities 2013


Human Occupied Modular Environment (HOME) Shelter Project Natural and manmade disasters displace hundreds of thousands of people every year. Currently, there are about 100 million IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons ) and refugees living on this planet. More every year are forced from their homes through war or natural disaster. The HOME (Human Occupied Modular Environment) Shelter provides people with basic necessities like clean water, vegetables and herbs, electrical power, and protection from the disease vectors (mosquitoes, rodents, and flies). It integrates simple technologies into a total usable system. By providing opportunities to connect with each other using sustainable electrical energy, good food for sale or trade, lighting to enable work and play after dark, plus human waste containment, the HOME Shelter provides a safe and secure environment. It creates jobs for women and children who are the majority of refugee camp residents. If a person is sick with cholera from unclean water, hungry from lack of healthy food, isolated because she can't communicate with her family or friends using a cell phone, that person is neither safe nor secure. The HOME Shelter gives families the opportunity to connect, eat, drink, play and work in a safe environment. This Project seeks a student who is creative and willing to work on optimizing and improving the HOME shelter design using tools and possibly computer skills. Particularly, the Coastal Fellow might enjoy working on any one or all of the following Design/Build/Test (DBT) challenges: 1. Design, build and test a waste water filtration system that provides bacteria-free drinkable water for less than $100. 2. Design, build and test a composting 'port-o-potty' using commercially available materials for less than $100. 3. Design, build and test an affordable, lightweight transportation cart out of PVC for the HOME Shelter. 4. Design, build and test a solar panel power system that would power several small electronic devices, including LED lighting. 5. Using Solidworks, document and test all structural interfaces of the HOME Shelter design, including investigating 3D printing, if possible. We will provide petty cash funds to purchase materials for their chosen project(s) once we approve the design approach. The student will be mentored by Dr. Boving and Mr. Davids, who is a retired engineer and the inventor of the HOME project.

Mentor: Tom Boving Email: Phone: 874-7053

Opportunities 2013


Marine Affairs Mentor: • Dr. Tracey Dalton

Opportunities 2013


Developing a case study to investigate economic trade-offs in coastal and marine spatial planning (CMSP) The overall project (funded by the Northeast Regional Sea Grant) involves researchers at the University of Rhode Island, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Bowdoin College, Tufts University and the New England Aquarium. The primary objective of the overall project is to develop a decision-support tool for evaluating socio-economic tradeoffs in coastal and marine spatial planning (CMSP). The tool will be used to assess changes in the spatial and temporal distribution of human uses and activities in three case studies in New England: spatial fisheries management in the Gulf of Maine, siting of wind farms in the Gulf of Maine, and siting of wind farms in federal waters off the coasts of Rhode Island and Massachusetts. This URI Coastal Fellows project will contribute to the overall research project by assisting with the development of the case study off the coasts of Rhode Island and Massachusetts. This case involves potential offshore wind energy projects within a designated area (Area of Mutual Interest [AMI]) of Rhode Island Sound (Fig. 1). Primary tasks of this fellowship will include (1) using government documents, management plans, policies, newspaper articles, websites, and other relevant materials to research the history and progress of offshore wind energy projects in the AMI; (2) identifying relevant human activities in and around the AMI; (3) compiling and mapping spatial data on uses in the study area; and (4) helping to characterize the uses in physical and economic terms. The majority of this project will be conducted at URI at the library and in an office space. The Coastal Fellow will be encouraged to attend team meetings that involve all participants of the overall project. The Coastal Fellow will have to communicate with relevant stakeholders in order to compile spatial data on human uses in and around the AMI. Good written and oral communication skills and familiarity with GIS are important skills for this project.

Mentor: Dr. Tracey Dalton Email: Phone: 874-2434

Opportunities 2013


Marine Biology Mentors: • Dr. Brad Wetherbee • Dr. Carol Thornber • Drs. Jason Kolbe & Carol Thornber

Opportunities 2013


Conservation of sand tiger sharks in Delaware Bay Sand tiger sharks have suffered population declines but have very low reproductive potential and there is concern about continued declines in their US East Coast population and about their ability to recover from overexploitation. Inherent in recovery efforts is knowledge of population demographics and identification of patterns of migration and habitat use of individuals within the population. The Coastal Fellow will work as part of a team conducting research on sand tiger sharks in Delaware Bay. Duties will include fishing for sharks from boats using long lines as well as shore fishing with rod and reel and interviewing fishermen at docks and marinas. A research component of the fellowship will include analyzing demographics of sand tigers returning to Delaware Bay, quantifying movements along the US East Coast and assessing attitudes of fishermen that target sharks. The work will require extended hours in boats and outdoors at the beach, occasionally at night and during inclement weather. The fellow should be physically fit and capable of fieldwork on boats and handling of large sharks. The work will be conducted in Delaware Bay and the fellow will be responsible for their own housing in southern Delaware, although assistance may be provided through Delaware State University of the University of Delaware. Mentor: Dr. Brad Wetherbee Email: Phone: 874-2335 Opportunities 2013


Conservation of exploited elasmobranchs Shark and stingray populations around the world are exploited in various ways for the benefit of humans. However, life history characteristics such as slow growth, late maturity and few offspring limit the ability of elasmobranchs (sharks, skates and rays) to support elevated levels of exploitation. Basic biological information such as movement patterns, habitat requirements and population demographics is required to adequately manage elasmobranch populations effectively. For this project the Coastal Fellow will characterize behavior and demographics for two populations of elasmobranchs: tiger sharks and southern stingrays, with the goal of providing information useful for effective management of their populations. Movements of tiger sharks tagged with satellite transmitters will be analyzed using statistical software and demographics of a population of southern stingrays at a tourist site in the Cayman Islands will be assessed using tag and recapture methods. The work will be conducted at URI on data gathered remotely, although the fellowship may include a week-long stingray survey in the Cayman Islands in July pending funding. The ideal candidate will be detail oriented, capable of handling large data bases and will possess keen analytical skills and a capacity for learning new software applications. Mentor: Dr. Brad Wetherbee Email: Phone: 874-2335 Opportunities 2013


Seabird Reproductive Performance A Coastal Fellow is needed to investigate the reproductive performance of seabirds (Roseate Terns and Common Terns) on islands in Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts. These islands support nearly half of the North American population of the federally endangered Roseate Tern. This project will involve traveling by small boat to several islands within Buzzards Bay for work in tern nesting colonies sampling nests from egg-laying through chick-fledging stages. The work includes careful handling of eggs, chicks and adult birds with further duties of entering and analyzing field data to estimate tern productivity. Terns nest on the ground in dense colonies; eggs and chicks are highly vulnerable to trampling. Field work conditions may be rustic and messy and the Fellow should be very detail-oriented, careful, have a strong work ethic, and be able to live and work cooperatively with others. Experience with motorboats is desirable. Housing in the Buzzards Bay area will be provided by the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife during the fieldwork portion of the project (May to mid-July). Mentor: Dr. Brad Wetherbee Email: Opportunities 2013 Phone: 874-2335


SCUBA research on invasive seaweed For this project, the Coastal Fellow (s) must be a URI Research Certified SCUBA divers (not just open water/advanced certification) and have a driver’s license and use of a car. This project requires a little labwork but is primarily fieldwork (SCUBA diving in a variety RI/CT/MA locations) performing marine ecological experiments on a newly invasive seaweed. Ability to identify marine seaweeds/knowledge of using dichotomous taxonomy keys is definitely a plus. Student may have to work some weekend/irregular hours to accommodate diving schedules.

Mentor: Dr. Carol Thornber Email: Phone: 874-4495

Opportunities 2013


Ecological research on macroalgal blooms For this project, the Coastal Fellow must be a have a driver’s license and use of a car. This project requires a a mixture of lab work and fieldwork in Narragansett Bay, URI, and at Salve Regina University. The student will be performing marine ecological experiments on bloom-forming macroalgae in Narragansett Bay. Ability to identify marine seaweeds/knowledge of using dichotomous taxonomy keys is definitely a plus. Student may have to work some weekend/irregular hours to accommodate low tide schedules. Mentor: Dr. Carol Thornber Email: Phone: 874-4495

Opportunities 2013


Evolutionary adaptation of marine organisms to climate change For this project, the Coastal Fellow must be a have a driver’s license and use of a car. This project requires a a mixture of labwork and fieldwork in Narragansett Bay, URI, and at the US EPA facility in Narragansett, RI. The student will be performing marine evolutionary laboratory experiments at the EPA facility working directly with a graduate student. Students have attention to detail, tolerance of repetitive and ability to work with a team. Ability to identify marine invertebrates/knowledge of using dichotomous taxonomy keys is definitely a plus. Student may have to work some weekend/irregular hours to accommodate low tide schedules, but this research is primarily lab based. Mentor: Drs. Jason Kolbe & Carol Thornber Email: Phone: 874-9731

Opportunities 2013


Natural Resources Science Mentors: • Dr. Mark Stolt • Dr. Art Gold • Denise Poyer, Wood-Pawcatuck Watershed Association • Dr. Laura Meyerson • RI Natural History Survey • Dr. Nancy Karraker • Dr. Graham Forrester Opportunities 2013


Subaqueous soils Subaqueous soils: student should be able to swim and be comfortable working in a small boat. There will be both field and laboratory work. Someone that is interested in soils is preferred. Mentor: Mark Stolt Phone: 874-2915

Opportunities 2013


Soils and ecological site descriptions Soil and ecological site descriptions: There will be both field and laboratory work. Someone that is interested in soils is preferred. Students that can identify plants would also receive preference. Mentor: Mark Stolt Phone: 874-2915

Opportunities 2013


Greenhouse gas emissions from aquatic ecosystems It is critical to understand greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from a variety of aquatic ecosystems during both average conditions and extreme events (floods and droughts) to mitigate climate change. Our coastal fellow will collect gas samples from floating chambers in intermittent streams and beaver ponds. The student will also learn how to run samples on a gas chromatograph in the lab. Water samples will also be collected for nutrient analysis. The coastal fellow will also learn to describe stream and pond features. Approximately ½ of the time our Fellow will be in the field. Some general laboratory work and data entry will be required. We need someone who enjoys being outdoors (even in inclement weather), can swim, can learn to locate remote field sites with maps and GPS while carrying field equipment, and is detail-oriented. Our Fellow will work alongside other undergraduate students, graduate students and a Research Associate. Mentors: Kelly Addy & Art Gold Email: Phone: 874-7532 /874-2903 Opportunities 2013


Wood -Pawcatuck Watershed Habitat Studies WPWA will be conducting a variety of water quality assessment projects this summer, including stream temperature monitoring, water quality monitoring through URI Watershed Watch, aquatic invasive plant species survey, monitoring and control, fish community assessments and macroinvertebrates sampling. The coastal fellow may also assist with WPWA’s recreational programs and routine functions. Skills preferred, but not necessary, are: familiar with water quality issues, aquatic plant ID, and or aquatic insects; good computer skills and familiar with GIS. The position will be primarily field work and data collection. We will be looking for someone who can work both independently and as part of a team. Must have their own transportation to our office in Hope Valley. Must be comfortable working outside; canoeing or kayaking skills a plus. This is a great position that will give the Coastal Fellow a chance to learn many aspects of water quality monitoring and research. Mentor: Denise Poyer Email: Phone: 401-539-9017

Opportunities 2013


Genetic and Ecological Effects of Invasive Turtles in an Ecosystem This project focuses on collecting, screening, and evaluating the genetic and ecological effects invasive pet store turtles have on an ecosystem. For this research, I will use both laboratory and field techniques and focus on the species Trachemys scripta elegans, a highly successful globally distributed turtle species. Commonly known as the Red-eared slider, this species is an excellent model system for ecology, evolution, and invasions and is particularly appropriate for studying plant and animal community dynamics. I am beginning my collection of Red-eared sliders, and potential hybrids, in Rhode Island and throughout New England. Field sites include ponds, rivers, lakes, and wetlands. Laboratory work will be conducted on the URI Kingston campus. This project may also include the establishment of mesocosms to conduct manipulative experiments with these turtles, and has potential for collaboration with other researchers locally, nationally and internationally. Students on this project will work in the field and in the laboratory. Students with particular interests and skills in genetics, herpetology and field work are encouraged to apply. Mentor: Jenny Gubler Email: Phone: 586-925-1615 Opportunities 2013


Matching commercial propagation of native plants with ecological restoration science This Coastal Fellow would be a vital part of a joint project being planned by David Gregg and Hope Leeson, at the Rhode Island Natural History Survey, and Laura Meyerson, associate professor in URI's department of natural resources science. The purpose of the joint project is to investigate the integration of ecological restoration science with the commercial plant propagation market. On the one hand, ecologists such as Meyerson know a lot about designing restoration projects to achieve various ecological goals but easily accessible commercial sources for genotypically appropriate plants to use in them are limited or non-existent. On the other hand RINHS, through its Rhody Native native plant project is developing the capacity of the state's commercial plant propagators to produce native plants from local seed sources but without the benefit of the expertise of restoration scientists. To understand how the science and commercial experiences can best contribute to each other, Gregg and Leeson, with the help of a Coastal Fellow, with assist Meyerson and her fall 2013 Restoration Ecology class (NRS 401/501) with the development of a trial grassland restoration on URI land off of Plains Road. The Coastal Fellow will be supervised by Leeson, with assistance of other RINHS staff and additional input from Meyerson. During the summer, the Coastal Fellow will assist in harvesting seed, propagating plants, developing planting protocols, and preparing the restoration area. In the fall the Coastal Fellow will work with the restoration ecology students to install and establish plantings and gather data. The Coastal Fellow should have interest in botany, ecology, natural resource management, and/or horticulture. Pre-existing experience with any of these is a bonus. A drivers license and vehicle is a bonus. This position involves a lot of fieldwork, outdoors in all weather, as well as some lab and library work.

Mentor: David Gregg & Hope Leeson, RINHS Email: & Phone: 874-5800 Opportunities 2013


Identifying and surveying potential new nesting sites for the state-endangered diamondback terrapin, Malaclemys terrapin, along the Rhode Island south shore A URI Coastal Fellow would be a critical part of a new pilot project at the R.I. Natural History Survey (RINHS) to survey and identify recently confirmed eastern diamondback terrapins, Malaclemys terrapin terrapin, nesting along Rhode Island’s south shore. M. t. terrapin currently is listed as State Endangered and protected. A single nesting population at the Doug Raynor Wildlife Refuge (DRWR) at Knockum Hill in Barrington, R.I., is the only breeding population in the state. Individual terrapins— mostly mature females—have been marked and monitored at the DRWR since 1990. Until recently, M. t. terrapin was thought only to reside at the Barrington site; however, a documented sighting in 2007 of hatchlings found on Rhode Island’s south shore, as well as several individual reports since, peaked the interest of scientists and natural resource managers alike, with the possibility that the terrapins might exist elsewhere in the state. Malia Schwartz, URI adjunct assistant professor of fisheries, animal and veterinary science (FAVS) and a RINHS research fellow, was successful in garnering funding from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) Coastal Program to RINHS for a pilot project to survey and document terrapins along Rhode Island’s south shore. RINHS (David Gregg) is an enthusiastic partner in this effort as is the Roger Williams Park Zoo (Lou Perrotti) and USFWS Coastal Program (Suzanne Paton). Summer 2013 will be our first full field survey season. We anticipate that the Coastal Fellow will assist with beach patrols to search for nesting female terrapins (June-July), documenting individuals and nesting activity, and help survey for hatchling emergence (August-September). She/he will also assist with data input and analysis. The Coastal Fellow will be supervised by Schwartz, with assistance of other RINHS staff. The Coastal Fellow should have interest in zoology, herpetology, marine ecology, and/or natural resource management. Previous experience with any of these is a bonus. A driver’s license and vehicle is a plus. This position primarily consists of fieldwork, outdoors in all weather, as well as some data processing and library work.

Mentor: David Gregg & Malia Schwartz, RINHS Email: & Opportunities 2013 Phone: 874-5800


Effects of Forest Fragmentation and Creation of Earlysuccessional Habitat on Turtles in Rhode Island Two Coastal Fellows will work with my PhD student and me on a study of the effects of forest fragmentation on turtles in Rhode Island. Fellows will assist with trapping wetlands for turtles, removing turtles from traps, and weighing, measuring , and marking turtles before releasing them back into the wetlands. Species trapped will include painted, snapping, musk, wood, and spotted turtles, and wetlands trapped will range from vernal pools to 1 acre permanent wetlands. Fellows will also assist with radio-telemetry (tracking) of spotted turtles within wetlands and in the surrounding forest. Most of the work will be in the field (75%), but other tasks will include cleaning and maintenance of field equipment and data entry. Students selected for this project will: gain extensive field experience and confidence handling wildlife, learn about study design and data collection, be introduced to methods for marking wildlife and tracking their movements, and gain knowledge about forest management and its effects on wildlife. Fellows selected for these positions must be confident in the field, physically fit, able to lift 30 pounds, and capable of wading in wetlands and moving through dense forest brush. Students selected will also have to be safety-minded, as snapping turtles can be dangerous, working in forests and wetlands can be challenging, and there is the ever-present risk of deer ticks and Lyme disease where we will work. Students will be trained in safety procedures specific to this position and will be expected to adhere to them at all times. We are looking for easy-going, friendly students who are excited about field research.

Mentor: Nancy E. Karraker Email: Phone: 874-2916 Opportunities 2013


Testing the response of fish to coral reef declines in the Caribbean corals Corals have progressively declined in abundance over the past three decades on Caribbean reefs. Lagged behind this coral decline, many species of reef-associated fish have also steadily decreased in abundance. For those fish species not harvested by fishers, loss of coral habitat is a potential cause of declines. The coastal fellow will work as part of a project to test this hypothesis using a common reef fish, the 3-spot damselfish, Stegastes planifrons. So far, we have compared sites occupied by juvenile 3-spots to randomly selected sites, and these small fishes were found to be strongly associated with massive colonies of the coral Montastraea annularis, and showed a weaker association with other corals having “fingerlike� morphology (Madracis mirabilis and Porites spp.). These coral species declined to varying degrees from 1992-2012 depending on the severity of bleaching, disease outbreaks and damage form boat anchoring. Site-specific declines in 3-spot abundance were predictable based on the extent to which strongly and weakly preferred corals declined. We will design and perform a field experiment to test whether the cause of three-spot declines is reduced survival due to a loss of preferred corals (M. annularis). I am looking for a coastal fellow who has the following qualifications: 1) A passport and willingness to spend 4-6 weeks of the summer at a Caribbean field site 2) The ability to obtain AAUS research diver certification by June 2013. See for diving requirements. Applicants with current AAUS research diving certification and some experience (e.g. > 50 logged dives) may be preferred. 3) A strong academic background in ecology and marine biology, and an interest in marine conservation. Willingness to read primary scientific literature and contribute to project design. 4) Familiarity with the animals and plants that occupy Caribbean coral reefs is a plus but not essential. The ability to recognize coral and fish species visually may be preferred. 5) The ability to perform physically demanding field work for long hours each day in a team setting under sometimes stressful field conditions 6) An understanding of basic statistical principles and familiarity with MS Excel is preferable

Mentor: Dr. Graham Forrester Email: Phone: 874-7054 Opportunities 2013


Genome to population approaches for invasive weeds This project focuses on screening, identification, and quantification of traits that contribute to plan “weediness� and potential to become invasive. For this research, I use both laboratory and field techniques and focus on the genus Phragmites with a particular emphasis on P. australis, a highly successful globally distributed grass species. Phragmites is an excellent model system for plant ecology, evolution and invasions and is particularly appropriate for studying plant and animal community dynamics. My collection of different Phragmites lineages and hybrids in my common garden at the RH Gardener Research Facility on the Kingston campus of URI has been built over the last seven years and forms the basis of a significant portion of my funded research and the funded research of my students. The common garden serves as the core of my field research both in North America and Europe and is central to the ongoing global collaborations that my students and I have formed with faculty and researchers at Louisiana State University, the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, Institute of Botany in the Czech Republic, and at Aarhus University in Denmark. Students on this project will work in the field, greenhouse and in the laboratory. Students with particular interests and skills in genetics, insects and plant chemistry as encouraged to apply. Mentor: Laura A. Meyerson Email: Opportunities 2013 Phone: 874-7058


Plant Sciences & Entomology Mentors: • Dr. Rebecca Brown • Dr. Tom Mather • Drs. Howard Ginsberg & Roger LeBrun

Opportunities 2013


Sustainable Vegetable Production I am seeking students to assist with vegetable production trials at the URI Agronomy farm. These are field positions. Students will be involved in all aspects of vegetable production, from planting to harvest. They will also be involved in collection of data on yield, disease and insect damage, and fruit quality. Some prior experience growing plants is preferred. We require that students have a good attitude and a strong work ethic, and be willing to work hard. A strong interest in food production and local food systems is a plus! Mentor: Dr. Rebecca Brown Email: Phone: 874-2755

Opportunities 2013


Testing alternative hypotheses for gradients in Lyme diseases in the eastern U.S.: climate, host community and vector genetic structure We propose to work with the Coastal Fellow to perform several experiments to characterize the variability of this survivorship phenomenon within and among clades of I. scapularis. The first experiment will look at variability within clades by assessing survival of larval ticks from three separate mothers of each clade, under both northern and southern environmental conditions. The second experiment will assess survival of American Clade I ticks (the northern genotype, which also extends into the south) collected at different sites in the north (we collected engorged adults from deer in Wisconsin and Massachusetts last year to provide larvae for these experiments). Finally, we will look at variation in survival among southern genotypes, using larvae of at least three of the southern clades. Preliminary analyses show three common southern clades, along with a southern branch of American Clade I, which could be used for this study, depending on availability. Mentors: Drs. Howard Ginsberg and Roger Lebrun Email: & Phone: 874-2934 7 874-4537 Opportunities 2013


Tick-borne disease research, surveillance, and outreach Our nationally prominent tick control research and surveillance program applies tick control and disease prevention strategies to empower individuals and communities to take action against tick-borne disease. Coastal Fellows in this program will contribute to building tick-bite prevention education tools and programs through fieldwork (90%) that includes assessing risk statewide using tick surveillance and participating in outreach programming. Students should be interested in conducting intensive fieldwork, have a valid driver’s license, pay close attention to details, and be comfortable working in small teams. Special note: Position requires working up to 40 hours per week Mentor: Dr. Thomas Mather Email: Phone: 874-5616

Opportunities 2013


Outreach Mentors: • Kate Venturini

Opportunities 2013


Urban Community-Building and Sustainable Food System Development -

Manage Roger Williams Park (RWP) Edible Forest Garden project and coordinate volunteers Manage the shift of RWP Community Garden governance from University staff to community gardeners Co-manage the RWP Community Garden with the RWP Botanical Center Office Manager Manage 3 seasonal urban agriculture outreach events at Roger Williams Park GardenBreaking Day, Harvest Festival and Holiday Open House Participate and publicize educational programming in and around the RWP Botanical Center and food garden peninsula Support Outreach Center environmental camp programs during summer months as needed Strong organizational, leadership and communication skills required; self-starter; experience with horticulture desired but not required.

Mentor: Kate Venturini Email: Phone:874-4096

Opportunities 2013


2013 Coastal Fellowship Opportunities  

Opportunities available to 2013 Coastal and Environmental Fellows