Project Details


Ecology is increasingly viewed as a global change science. Yet, most young ecologists are not aware of international approaches to studying ecological responses to global change, and likewise, they are not familiar with cultural differences that cause scientists and citizens of other countries to respond to climate change in diverse ways. This project will train U.S. students to meet future challenges in the field of global change ecology through a direct international research experience. Researchers from Penn State will collaborate with investigators at the Centro Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas and the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos in Madrid, Spain. Annually, two graduate students and two undergraduate students will join the Spanish teams and undertake research projects of their own design that integrate climate change, vegetation, and soils. These projects will take advantage of climate gradient experiments and climate manipulations taking place at the primary institutions involved in the project and will include measurements of plant composition, growth, reproduction, physiology, and soil moisture, nutrient cycling, and biological activity. We focus on diverse ecosystems (northeastern US temperate forest vs. Mediterranean) to identify mechanisms that may lead to a more generalizable understanding of ecological responses to climate change.

This US-Spain International Research Experiences for Students project will train a new generation of global change ecologists and catalyze international networks for the young scientists that will impact their entire careers. Participants will be recruited from Universidad Puerto Rico Mayagüez and Penn State University. Results will be disseminated through a Penn State general education class in Environmental Sustainability, peer reviewed publications co-authored by Spanish and US students, and presentations by students on campus and at national or international meetings. Ultimately, this project will provide international training for the students, broaden the participation of underrepresented groups, and integrate timely research activities with the education of the broader university community.

Effective start/end date9/1/108/31/13


  • National Science Foundation: $149,553.00


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