Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Volunteers needed for Prairie Ecology Field and Lab Work, Summer 2013

Announcement from colleagues at the University of Houston:
We are seeking volunteers for prairie ecology work looking at insect and plant communities. The goals of the various projects that volunteers will be working on are to: determine if old roads may be restored to functioning prairies, and determine how insect herbivores and their diversity affects how prairies function. We would like volunteers for both fieldwork that will take place off campus and lab work that will be conducted on campus.

Field volunteers. We are seeking 3-4 volunteers to help with fieldwork in a coastal tallgrass prairie south of Houston. Volunteers will gain valuable experience in ecological research and learn about plants and insects in native prairie systems.  We seek individuals that: enjoy being outside; want experience working in an ecology lab; can work at least 1-2 days per week; tolerate early mornings and strenuous / monotonous work in very hot conditions.  The research will occur at the University of Houston’s Coastal Center about 40 minutes south of campus, which contains one of the largest tracks of pristine coastal tallgrass prairie remaining. Volunteers would be determining the feeding preferences of grasshoppers, the major herbivore in these prairies, and other various projects that Dr. Prather is conducting at this prairie. Possible duties would include: collecting plants and insects in the field, setting up feeding trials in the lab and greenhouse, and collecting data on insect feeding.

Lab volunteers. We are also seeking 1-2 volunteers to help with lab work on campus grinding plant and insect material for nutrient and isotope analysis, and sorting insects to look at prairie insect community structure. We seek individuals that: want experience working in a biology lab; and tolerate monotonous and detail-oriented lab work. Working hours are very flexible once the volunteer is trained. Volunteers will gain experience in preparing plant and insect material for nutrient and isotope analyses, and in identifying insects.

If interested, please contact Dr. Chelse Prather, chelse.prather@gmail.com to set up a meeting.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013