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UH Hilo faculty receive $270,000 to develop undergraduate research

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Date: Wednesday, May 1, 2002
Contact: Dr. Donald Price (808) 974-7365

For Immediate Release

Two University of Hawai`i at Hilo faculty members recently received a grant to develop undergraduate research opportunities. Dr. Donald Price, associate professor of biology, and Sharon Ziegler-Chong, UH Sea Grant Extension Service, were recently awarded a National Science Foundation - Research Experiences for Undergraduate Site Program grant to provide research opportunities for undergraduate students in Tropical Ecology, Evolution and Natural Resources Management at UH Hilo. The $270,000 funding is for three years.

"The study and conservation of natural resources in insular areas are necessary for and critical to the preservation of the myriad, unique ecosystems present," said Price. "In order to continue and increase the number of future researchers focusing on these ecosystems, it is important to capture the interest of undergraduates."

The program is a collaboration between UH Hilo and state and federal research organizations conducting research on the Big Island. The idea is to develop an undergraduate research opportunity program focused on tropical conservation biology. In addition, the US Department of Agriculture Forest Service, the US Geological Service Biological Resources Division, the National Park and others will provide research opportunities for undergraduates.

UH Hilo faculty mentors will be available in Biology, Marine Science, Agriculture, Forestry, and Natural Resource Management. The mentors for this year's program are: Dr. Susan Cordell, US Forest Service; Dr. Marta DeMaintenon, UH Hilo-Marine Science; Dr. David Foote, USGS-BRD; Dr. Sue Jarvi, UH Hilo-Biology; Dr. Paul Haberstroh, UH Hilo-Marine Science; Dr. Maria Haws, UH Hilo-PACRC; Dr. Karla McDermid, UH Hilo-Marine Science; Dr. Cam Muir, UH Hilo-Biology; Dr. Rebecca Ostertag, UH Hilo-Biology; Dr. Mike Parsons, UH Hilo-Marine Science; and Dr. Michael Tanabe, UH Hilo-Agriculture.

Nine students will be selected for 10-week research experiences during the summer. This year, over 70 students applied to the program from UH Hilo, UH Manoa, and throughout the US mainland. Following a one-week orientation, students will work side by side with researchers on conservation biology projects located on the Big Island. Students will also give oral presentations on the progress of their individual projects and submit written sections of their final report in progressive pieces throughout the summer, which will be edited, compiled and incorporated into a final report at the end of summer. UH Hilo students who have shown promise in developing a publishable research project will have the opportunity to continue their research during the following academic year.

For more information, please contact Price at (808) 974-7365.

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