REU Site: Ecosystem Restoration through Interdisciplinary Exchange
Alan Rabideau Principal Investigator
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The University at Buffalo (UB) REU site addresses the important topic of Ecosystem Restoration from an interdisciplinary perspective. Although ERIE-REU participants are drawn primarily from engineering undergraduate programs, the interdisciplinary program includes faculty participants from eight academic departments across two campuses. While diverse in scope and methods, the ERIE research projects share a place-based focus on the ecological recovery of the lower Great Lakes and Western New York regions. During the ten-week program, formal training in research methods supports individual projects organized into three interdisciplinary themes: lake and river restoration, groundwater restoration, and sustainable engineering applications. Biweekly group meetings and field trips allow students to share ideas and methods across disciplines, including discussions related to the ethics and values of ecological restoration. In a final culminating experience, ERIE-REU students present their projects to a diverse academic and professional audience. Students are also encouraged and supported to engage in post-REU conference presentations. ERIE-REU participants are recruited from a diverse set of partner institutions, including undergraduate colleges with a high proportion of underrepresented groups and regional Native American communities.