Many of the students were part of the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program, an effort sponsored by the National Science Foundation to support active research participation by students. The REU students came from universities nationwide, including William and Mary, University of Florida, and the University of Minnesota.
“Many REU students have not had the opportunity to extend their education beyond the classroom or a structured laboratory and have little research experience before coming to our program,” said Josephine Aller, coordinator of the REU Program at SoMAS, “Our mentors provide a ‘hands-on’ experience in the field a variety of sampling methods and in the laboratory with basic analytical instruments and techniques.”
Under the direction of faculty mentors Brian Colle, Edmund Chang, Marat Khairoutdinov, Daniel Knopf, Steve Munch, Brad Peterson, Joe Warren, Chris Gobler, David Black, Roger Flood, Bob Wilson, Charlie Flagg, and Kamazima Lwiza, visiting undergraduates participated in research into coastal ocean and atmospheric processes. They engaged in projects such as interpretting patterns in Southold Bay, constructing a heat budget for The Great South Bay, studying the influence of atmospheric conditions on salt concentrations over Long Island, examining the relationship between early growth rate and fecundity among silversides, and searching for evidence of human pathogens in Port Jefferson harbor waters, sediments, and air.
“The summer mentorship programs enable us to combine the two major things we do here at SoMAS: research and instructing young people,” said Bill Wise, associate director of SoMAS, “It’s a chance to introduce young people to the practice of research, the design of research, and how to communicate the results of research.”
Besides REU student presentations, the research symposium also featured talks from an SBU student who studied water quality issues in Tanzania as part of an international academic program; a student from the University of Puerto Rico, who was part of the Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) Summer Research Institute; and three students from France who spent their summer working with SoMAS faculty, thanks to sponsorship form the Alfred and Jane Ross Foundation.
“Our program demonstrates the importance of teamwork in gathering and sharing data, and will illustrate the usefulness of scientific research for understanding real-world problems,” said Dr. Aller.