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Meredith Faculty Member & Team Earn NSF Grant

Erin Lindquist, Meredith College assistant professor of biological sciences, is part of a team that has received a $494,980 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to establish an ecological research and education network among 12 primarily undergraduate institutions (PUIs), with the network expanding over time to include additional partners.
Lindquist is a co-author on the grant, and will serve on the leadership working group. Laurel Anderson, Ohio Wesleyan University associate professor of botany-microbiology, is the network coordinator and will chair the leadership working group.

Along with Anderson and Lindquist, other co-authors and leaders on this effort include Tracy Gartner (Carthage College, Wis.), Karen Kuers (Sewanee: The University of the South, Tenn.), Jose-Luis Machado (Swarthmore College, Pa.), Bob Pohlad and Carolyn Thomas (Ferrum College, Va.), and Jeffrey Simmons (Mount St. Mary’s University, Md.). The Ecological Research as Education Network (EREN) also will include faculty members from Elizabethtown College, Penn., Union College, N.Y., Mount Holyoke College, Mass., Bard College, N.Y., and St. Olaf College, Minn.

The EREN will develop collaborative research projects focused on regional to continental-scale ecological issues, engage students in authentic science while teaching them basic ecology, create a continental-scale ecology course module using research data that will be team-taught by scientist-educators from the participating institutions, and establish an online database of collaborative data sets collected during the project. The EREN also will encourage scientists at PUIs to participate in existing research networks, such as the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON).

The EREN project began in March 2009 when Anderson received a NSF workshop grant, which funded meetings to bring scientists from PUIs together to brainstorm. The new award provides full funding for the project for five years. The EREN group will meet in June at Sewanee to develop a carbon accumulation in trees project and to establish administrative aspects of the network.

A permanent plot initiated by Lindquist and her research students in the Meredith Forest will be used as one of the models for this project.

The National Science Foundation is an independent federal agency created to promote the progress of science. With an annual budget of about $6.9 billion, the NSF provides funding for approximately 20 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America\'s colleges and universities.

Date Submitted: 2010-05-27

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