*Applications will be reviewed on a rolling-basis.
A research opportunity is currently available with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), U.S. Forest Service (USFS), Center for Bottomland Hardwoods Research located in Stoneville, Mississippi.
The Center for Bottomland Hardwoods Research provides science-based information for managing southern bottomland hardwood and wetland forests, including their stream ecosystems, for a sustained yield of forest products and other ecological values. Bottomlands include a diverse set of forest types, found mostly in the floodplains of rivers and their streams on the broad coastal plain stretching from Virginia to Texas. Comprehensive knowledge of species biology and system ecology is needed to develop better tools to restore and manage bottomland hardwood forests, and their associated wetlands, if this valuable resource is to persist.
Throughout the course of this internship, the participant will have the opportunity to learn and develop skills and experience in plant physiology research. This research will help inform forest management and conservation decisions. The participant will receive training, gain knowledge, and acquire experience in various aspects of research focused on understanding how soil flooding influences growth and physiology of bottomland oak seedlings. This opportunity will also allow the participant to learn about and participate in various aspects of research including experimental design, treatment application, sampling methods, plant measurement, and data handling, as well as plant culture practices, greenhouse operation and control, and environmental/meteorological monitoring.
Under the guidance of a mentor, research activities will include:
- Oak seedling physiology - The student will learn fundamentals of oak seedling physiology, mechanisms of flood tolerance in bottomland oaks, and how plant physiology experimentation can advance our knowledge to inform sustainable management of bottomland hardwood forests.
- Experimental Design and Conduct - The student will have the opportunity to learn:
a) basic concepts and terminology in experimental design, such as randomization, replication, experimental unit, plot, block, and control;
b) how to implement an experimental design to conduct an experiment in a greenhouse setting;
c) how to sample for treatment responses; and,
d) how to document observations.
- Plant culture and maintenance - The student will have the opportunity to learn:
a) standard cultural practices for growing bottomland oak seedlings; b) techniques to identify the various stages of oak seedling ontogeny and seasonal phenology;
c) methods to monitor plant health and vigor;
d) practices to minimize plant pests in a greenhouse; and,
e) how to develop and implement irrigation and fertilization schedules.
- Plant physiology and growth sampling - The student will have the opportunity to learn:
a) how to sample oak seedling biomass;
b) how to prepare plant biomass samples for various laboratory analyses;
c) how to image and measure root system growth and development.
- Data handling - The student will have the opportunity to learn:
a) principles of data quality;
b) how to organize and build electronic data sets;
c) data-proofing practices; and,
d) how to summarize large data sets, properly annotate with meta-data, and properly archive.
- Greenhouse and laboratory safety - The student will receive training and will have the opportunity to learn:
a) potential safety hazards associated with conduct of research in a greenhouse and laboratory;
b) proper use of Personal Protective Equipment appropriate for use in greenhouse and laboratory settings; and,
c) practices that foster safety in the workplace.
Anticipated Appointment Start Date: October 19, 2020 (start date is flexible)
This program, administered by ORAU through its contract with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to manage the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), was established through an interagency agreement between DOE and USFS. The initial appointment is for one year, but may be renewed upon recommendation of USFS and is contingent on the availability of funds. The participant will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience. Proof of health insurance is required for participation in this program. The appointment will be part-time (20 hours per week) in the Stoneville, Mississippi area. Participants do not become employees of USDA, USFS, DOE or the program administrator, and there are no employment-related benefits.
This opportunity is available to U.S. citizens only.
For more information about the USFS Research Participation Program, please visit the Program Website.
The qualified candidate should be currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in one of the relevant fields.
- A keen sense of observation
- Ability to maintain comprehensive notes
- A willingness to learn and gain experience in a physically demanding greenhouse environment