Research Experiences For Undergraduates
About the Program
Our REU program offers a unique collaboration between the renowned Mystic Aquarium and a leading institute of higher education, the University of Connecticut, Avery Point, located on Long Island Sound. In fact, we are the only aquarium in the U.S. to have an REU! With us, you will gain access to both Aquarium and University resources and expertise. In addition to the focus on cutting-edge marine research, we also give our students extensive training in professional development, teamwork and a true view into the world of research. We ensure our students are given all the keys to be successful. All research projects will be carried out at UConn, while professional development activities, seminars and job shadows will take place at Mystic Aquarium. All students will be given access to Mystic Aquarium throughout the 10 week period from June 5 to August 11, 2023.
All student projects will revolve around the central question of
How do environmental stressors affect the physiology, behavior, and ecology of phytoplankton and marine animals in relation to the marine ecosystem?
Each REU student, under the guidance of their mentor, will focus their research on an individual link in the food chain (see “Mentors and Research Projects” section and figure below). Each student will be expected to develop their own research question and project; be given independence but support to complete it. Throughout the program, students will come together to discuss how their results relate to those of their classmates in addressing the overarching question. Thus, students will gain an understanding not only of their individual research topic, but how a project contributes to the “big picture” of science as a whole.
Each week students will participate in a different professional development workshop. The topics range from ethics, scientific writing, to data analysis. The two culminating events for the REU students will be oral presentations of their research to a scientific audience composed of members from the Mystic Aquarium and UConn, Department of Marine Sciences Faculty/Staff and an interactive poster exhibit symposium at the Aquarium for the general public.
Mystic Aquarium Rotations
Each week, dedicated trips to the Aquarium will further reinforce the interrelatedness of each student’s project. Each trip will be led by a different mentor paired with an expert curator from the Aquarium, who will use the resources of the Aquarium to show how environmental changes can affect different systems. Students will visit animals and exhibits such as Beluga whales, penguins, and coral reef systems.
Moreover, students will have an opportunity to “shadow” one of our Aquarium experts in an area of their choice to learn and gain more in-depth knowledge of the animals and the ecosystem. Career paths will also be explored.
Complete Applications will be accepted until 11:59PM EST March 15, 2023.
All students will be notified of final decisions a few weeks after the March 15th application deadline.
A complete application to the Mystic Aquarium REU Program includes the following:
- The online application form.
- An up-to-date unofficial college or university transcript.
- A 500 word maximum essay describing how this REU will help shape your career goals.
- Two letters of recommendation with at least one coming from a former or current academic instructor. References will not get an automated notice to submit their letter. It is up to you to ensure they mail the document directly to REU@MysticAquarium.org
Frequently Asked Questions
What costs are covered?
Roundtrip travel expenses to Groton/Mystic Connecticut (up to $600/student; $2000 for those students coming from Alaska/Hawaii). Housing is covered by the program. Further, each student gets a total stipend of $600 per week plus $175 (for living and food expenses). All program related transportation will be provided.
Housing and dining information
All REU students will be housed together at the nearby residence halls at Mitchell College in New London.
There are a number of local restaurants and eating establishments nearby.
Funding for this REU site is provided by the National Science Foundation’s Division of Biological Infrastructure in the Directorate for Biological Sciences and the Division of Ocean Sciences in the Directorate for Geosciences located in Arlington, VA (DBI-1950480). The NSF contact for these programs are Sally O’Connor and Elizabeth Rom. NSF does not handle REU applications; please contact each REU site directly for application information.
Questions? Please email us REU@MysticAquarium.org