Featured Image Credit: Lillian Africano
By Shelby Hoover
The Mystic Aquarium, located in Mystic, Connecticut, received a federal grant of $241,030 from the National Science Foundation to support a joint program with the University of Connecticut’s Department of Marine Sciences at Avery Point.
The grant was announced in early May by Congressman Joe Courtney. The Mystic Aquarium and UConn- Avery Point have a history of working together towards marine conservation.
The partnership will allow a select group of undergraduate students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in marine biology and ocean conservation in a 10-week REU (Research Experience for Undergraduate) summer session. These summer sessions will be held annually from 2017-2019.
During the 10 week REU session, students will focus on the effects of climate change and ocean acidification. The central question for all student research projects will be:
“How do environmental stressors affect the physiology, behavior, and ecology of phytoplankton and marine animals in relation to the marine ecosystem?”
This question will be the central focus as students use aquarium resources to show how the environment effects different systems.
Mystic Aquarium is the first aquarium to be chosen for a NSF Grant in the United States.
Tracy Romano, chief scientist at the aquarium, who will lead the program with Michael Finiguerra, assistant professor in ecology and evolutionary biology at UConn.
In addition, the aquarium provides selected students with housing, meals and a weekly stipend.
The fight against climate change and other environmental stressors to our planet is vital and there is still so much to learn. Together, Mystic Aquarium and UConn- Avery Point will continue to help train the next the generation of marine biologists and conservationists!
This is a fantastic opportunity for undergraduate students to be at the forefront of cutting edge research. If you are interested in applying to the Mystic Aquarium REU Program, check out the link below!
The aquarium is no longer accepting applications for summer 2017; however, applications for summer 2018 will be accepted at the beginning of September 2017!