Tag Archives: Plants

Removing Invasive Plants (RIP) Team

Want to give back to your local community?

Want to boost your resume?

Love being outdoors?

The Removing Invasive Plants Team will be removing introduced species in the JAMES RIVER PARK SYSTEM.

We will be working on multiple occasions, so you can participate as much or as little as you want. Transportation to and from the park will be provided.

If interested please contact April Harris at harrisal22@mymail.vcu.edu

Click here to view the flyer

REU Opportunities: Mountain Lake Biological Station

Mountain Lake Biological Station (University of Virginia) announces its 2016 summer program of field-based undergraduate and graduate-level credit courses offered by nationally recruited faculty, and its NSF REU undergraduate research internship program, now in its 24th year.


Summer Courses:      mlbs.org/summercourses

·         Plant Diversity and Conservation

·         Field Herpetology

·         Science Writing

·         Field Biology of Fishes

·         Field Biology of Fungi

Financial aid available for undergraduate and graduate students.


Summer REU Internships:      mlbs.org/reuprogram

REU participants are recruited from around the country for a unique 10-week learning and living research experience in the southern Appalachian Mountains. Students conduct independent research in field ecology, evolution, behavior and physiology under the supervision of station scientists. REUs are paid internships that include room and board, travel, and a $5,250 stipend.

Program dates: May 23 – July 29

Application deadline February 20

Undergraduate Opportunity for Field Research working on plants or insects

The Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory (RMBL) is now taking applications
for its summer independent research program.  We are especially interested
in attracting students interested in conducting independent research with
plants, soils, fungi, and insects.  Interested undergrads and recent
graduates can find more information at rmbl.org   Follow the link for
‘students’.  REU application deadline is Feb.15.  Rolling deadline for all
other applicants.  Questions should be directed to the RMBL Science
Director at sd@rmbl.org

Dr. Jennie Reithel
Science Director
Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory
PO Box 519
Crested Butte, CO 81224

Potomac Gorge Internship

We are hiring three interns to work in the Globally rare plant communities
of the spectacular Potomac Gorge. This amazing natural resource is located
minutes from Washington DC. SCA members will be mentored by an NPS Exotic
Plant Management Team staff person.

Please spread the word.


Mark Frey
Exotic Plant Management Team Liaison
National Capital Region

Assistant Naturalists at the Highlands Nature Center

Assistant Naturalists at the Highlands Nature Center

Wage:   $300/week ($7.50/hr), free group housing, and possible college internship credit.

Hours:   Seasonal full-time (40 hours per week, no overtime available, Saturdays and some
evenings required), position dates are May 12 – Aug 16, but some flexibility is possible.

Description:    Two Assistant Naturalists help with daily operations of the Highlands Nature Center.
Primary duties include working with the public to interpret the natural history of the southern Appalachians and related Nature Center exhibits, answering questions about local natural areas and recreational opportunities, actively developing and presenting several environmentally-based educational programs for diverse audiences, and serving as co-counselor for a series of Nature Day Camps for children ages 4 to 14.  Staff will also assist with the implementation of weekly special evening programs for the public.  Work also involves the feeding, cleaning, general care, and interpretation of live animal exhibits (mainly reptiles and amphibians).  Other general duties include word processing; maintaining program schedules; participant registration; handling money; and cleaning and maintaining exhibits, the Nature Center, and animal enclosures on a daily basis.  Summer staff may also be occasionally asked to assist other Station employees in the office, maintenance shop, or Botanical Garden.  These jobs may include heavy lifting (≤ 50 lbs).  Assistant Naturalists work a 40-hour week, but the schedule will require flexibility including weekend and
some evening work.

Qualifications:    Applicants should be students (or recent graduates) with a major in biology, zoology, botany, environmental science, science education, outdoor recreation, or other related fields.  Proficiency in dealing with the public is a must.  Ideal candidates should have experience working with children; familiarity with a variety of environmental education programs such as Project WILD; experience in a museum, visitor’s center, camp, or similar setting; and experience handling and caring for animals.  Knowledge of the flora and fauna of the southern Appalachians is very desirable.  Applicants must be U.S. citizens and have a valid driver’s license, and be in good physical condition to lead hikes.  Willingness to work a flexible schedule is a must.  Non-smokers
are preferred.

To apply:  A State of North Carolina job application (PD107) MUST be completed (available on
website).  Send application, cover letter, resume, and a list of 3 references to Dr. Jim Costa,
Highlands Biological Station, 265 N. Sixth Street, Highlands NC 28741.
Applications must be received by March 13, 2015.

Botanical Garden Assistants

Wage: $300 per week ($7.50 /hr), free group housing, and possible college internship credit.

Hours: Full-time, temporary (40 hours per week, no overtime or benefits available), position is from mid-May through mid-August, with specific dates to be determined.

Description: Supervised by the HBS Botanical Garden horticulturist, the two Botanical Garden Assistants will assist in identification, labeling, and maintenance of more than 450 native plant
species and will help to maintain the grounds and gardens, trails, boardwalks, and bridges throughout the 22-acre campus. This position will include working with the HBS Botanical Garden
Committee, a volunteer group, and working with the public to interpret the natural history of local plants and identify native plant species within the garden. Interns will develop and lead weekly
garden tours. Interns will identify a project of special interest, work with the staff to accomplish the project, and give a presentation on his/her project at the end of the internship. Interns will spend 10 hours/week on the garden tours and their projects, and 30 hours/week on garden maintenance. This job may involve heavy lifting (no more than 50 lbs.) and will sometimes involve
working without supervision and in rainy weather. Occasionally, the individual may be asked to assist other Station employees in the office, library, or Nature Center or with special events.

The successful applicant must be able to trim, cut, and pile brush; use a shovel, hoe, and wheel barrow; do general gardening and trail repairs; help with lawn mowing and lawn maintenance on
the campus; learn to identify wildflowers; collect and mount plant specimens; learn to make plant labels; and assist others as required.

Qualifications: Applicants should be students (or recent graduates) with a major in biology, botany, horticulture, or some other environmental science. The ideal candidate should have
training and/or experience in field botany, landscaping, and working with the public. Familiarity with southern Appalachian plant species and with horticultural practices is desirable. Applicants
must be U.S. citizens and have a valid driver’s license. Non-smokers are preferred.

To apply: A State of North Carolina job application (PD107) MUST be completed (available on
website). Send application, cover letter, resume, and a list of 3 references to Dr. Jim Costa,
Highlands Biological Station, 265 N. Sixth Street, Highlands NC 28741.
Applications must be received by March 13, 2015.
For additional information about the Botanical Garden and Highlands Biological Station, please call

Summer research internships 2015: Plants and plant-animal interactions in fragmented prairies

Summer research internships 2015

Are you interested in field research experience and learning about the ecology and evolution of plants and plant-animal interactions in fragmented prairies? We are looking for 3-6 summer researchers for an NSF-funded project investigating how habitat fragmentation influences inbreeding, pollination, herbivory, and demography in purple coneflower, Echinacea angustifolia, populations in western Minnesota. We anticipate hiring 2-3 REUs, 2-3 summer field assistants, and one or two 12-month research interns. This is a great opportunity for aspiring ecologists, conservation biologists, and evolutionary biologists to gain research experience and learn about the ecology and evolution of plants in fragmented prairies!

No experience is necessary, but you must be enthusiastic and hard-working. During the summer, you will monitor natural plant populations, measure plant traits in experimental plots, and assist in all aspects of research. Undergraduate students will have the opportunity to pursue an independent project as an REU participant. Potential projects could involve hand-pollinating plants, observing & collecting insects, monitoring flowering phenology, conducting statistical analyses, or computer programming.

If you would like more information or wish to apply, please visit this
website http://echinaceaProject.org/opportunities/ or contact Stuart Wagenius. Applications will be reviewed starting 27 February 2014 for REU positions and 6 March for other positions.

Study Aboard Summer 2015: Plants of China

China flyer

Course description:
This program offers 6 credits in biology and humanities. The course will introduce students to the various research areas in the plant sciences. From basic plant morphology, plant taxonomy, and botanical illustration, to advanced lectures on the frontiers of plant sciences, students will explore the study of plants in the modern facilities of one of the leading botanical institutions in China. Students will study the flora of northeastern China through fieldwork to several mountains, including Xiaowutai Shan, the tallest mountain in Hebei Province and one of the Five Great Mountains in China. The complex ecological environment of  iaowutai Shan supports steppe vegetation, boreal forests and alpine meadows and provides students with a natural laboratory for the study of plants. The flora of Xiaowutai Shan includes 615 species, including many spring wildflowers, belonging to 325 genera and
83 plant families. One of many unique aspects of the course is that it provides an opportunity for students to experience both modern
and ancient Chinese culture through the importance of plants. The course will include visits to ancient temples, the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, Ming tombs, traditional pharmacies and open fruit and vegetable markets to experience firsthand the significance of plants in Chinese religion, food, medicine and ornament. The course will take students from Beijing, the capital and center of politics, to Suzhou, a famous city of gardens and culture and now China’s Silicon Valley, to Shanghai, an economic powerhouse and the most populous city along the east coast of China. The course will expose students to the great diversity and long history of Chinese culture, precipitated through more than 5000 years.
Airfare: Airfare is not included. Participants are responsible for making their own round-trip travel arrangements.
Eligibility: This program is open to all students, regardless of major, who have at least a 2.0 GPA.

Accommodations: Students will be housed in dormitories and hotels during their stay in China. There will be visits to ancient temples, the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, Ming tombs, traditional pharmacies and open fruit and vegetable markets. Participants will also travel from Beijing, the capital and center of politics, to Suzhou, a famous
city of gardens and culture, to Shanghai, an economic powerhouse.
Financial aid: Financial aid will apply to the program and tuition costs prior to student billing. Eligible students may apply for need-based financial aid in order to participate in this program. For more information about the financial aid application and process, please contact VCU Financial Aid by phone at 804-828-6669, by email at faidmail@vcu.edu or in person on the first floor of Grace E. Harris Hall (1015 Floyd Ave.).

Program Director: The program will be led by Dr. Wenheng Zhang, an Assistant Professor of Biology in the Department of Biology at VCU. Dr. Zhang’s research interests are in the field of plant evolutionary biology, focusing on plant systematics, biogeography and the floral developmental evolution with extensive experience in analysis of phylogeny, biogeographic patterns, molecular evolution, and comparative studies of floral development and gene expression. Dr. Zhang also has extensive experience in field studies on three continents. Before her appointment at VCU, Dr. Zhang received her B.S. and M.S from Beijing Medical University and Peking University in China, respectively, and her Ph.D. in Botany from North Carolina State University. Her postdoctoral studies were at Harvard University.

China flyer

Virginia State Parks Youth Conservation Corps (VSPYCC) Summer 2015 Program

Hey Students!

Please see the message below from the Office of Community Engagement and Volunteerism for the Virginia State Parks.  Students may be eligible to register for 1 credit of Biology Internship at the same time they get paid for this program – and seniors can use it for Capstone experience.  But it is still an awesome {paid!} opportunity even if you do not want to do it for credit.


Do you want the opportunity to work with youth?

Do you want to make a difference in Virginia State Parks?

Do you have good leadership skills?

Do you like making money?


If you answered yes to these four questions then you may be interested in applying to be a crew supervisor for the 2015 Virginia State Parks Youth Conservation Corps (VSPYCC) Program.

Please see the pdf flier linked at the bottom for more information regarding this program. If you are interested in applying, you can find more information on the webpage at http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/youth-conservation-corps.shtml  where you can also find the link to fill out the supervisor application. If the above link does not work copy and paste the following into your browser.


If you have any further questions feel free to contact them by email at vspycc@dcr.virginia.gov or by telephone at 804-625-3984.

YCC Supervisor Flier

Joseph Morina: Curtin University- Perth, Australia

Joseph Morina:
Curtin University- Perth, Australia

What led you to make the decision to study abroad?

I first learned about the study abroad opportunities by attending a study abroad information session.  After working closely with Stephanie Tignor, I was able to contact Dr. Richard Oliver at Curtin University for a possible study abroad research opportunity. He willingly accepted, and soon enough I was buying my plane ticket for Australia.

What classes did you take while abroad and how would you compare them to taking courses on campus at VCU?

Typically, students are enrolled in multiple classes during their study abroad. However, I spent all of my academic time performing research at the Australian Centre for Necrotrophic Fungal Pathogens (ACNFP) located at Curtin University. Under the guidance of an incredible post-doc, I ran experiments ranging from gene knockout to growing wheat cultivars.

Elaborate on your research experience.

Pathenogenisis of Pyrenophora tritici-repentis (PTR)

Plant-pathogen interactions are of extreme importance when dealing with economic crops and ultimately national food stores. Tan spot disease of wheat causes significant economic losses worldwide, and is the most widespread and damaging wheat disease in Australia. The disease is caused by the necrotrophic fungal pathogen Pyrenophora tritici-repentis (Ptr), costing upwards of 212 million dollars in lost yield each year.  The ACNFP at Curtin University has decided to tackle this problem using advanced genetic and molecular biology techniques to study the pathogenicity mechanisms of this fungus. During my study abroad semester, I aided in the identification of novel host-specific toxins produced by different Ptr isolates.


Figure 1 Example of a single cultivar treated with culture filtrate to determine susceptibility.

Other avenues of my research included testing new wheat cultivars with fungal toxins to determine cultivar sensitivity, as well as generating fungal gene knockouts that will be used to characterize candidate toxin genes. The goal of this research project, as with all other research projects undertaken by the ACNFP, is to gain fundamental knowledge of necrotrophic fungal pathosystems in order to reduce the incidence and severity of fungal crop diseases, to help guide growers in cultivar selection, and to develop molecular tools to ultimately breed out disease susceptibility. I thoroughly enjoyed being at the interface of practical and applied science, seeing research results make a direct impact on crop yields was a very rewarding experience.

What were your most memorable experiences while studying abroad?

While in Australia, I traveled up and down the west coast, drinking in the beauty and warmth of the sunburned nation. I got to spend many nights in the Australian outback, falling asleep under the stars. I also got travel to Indonesia, where I dove coral reefs, climbed volcanoes, and visited Hindu temples. I was fortunate to meet people from a multitude of cultures. Many languages were new to my ears. More importantly, I got to try foods that hid flavors I had never tasted before. I still keep in contact with many of the people I met in Perth to this day. I will be traveling with friends from Australia this summer.

What would you say to a student who is considering studying abroad?

Go talk to someone at the GEO today. Take a risk!