Students exploring the rocky intertidal at the Bodega Marine Lab


Professor and three students at Bodega Marine Lab
A look through our Wayback Machine: Professor Mary McKenna and Howard University alumnae Chandler Puritty PhD, DeAna Smalls PharmD, and Nia Johnson MS on a field trip to Bodega Marine Lab. Photo: UC Davis.

We've planned individual immersive research projects for EERREC scholars, with mutual engagement by scholars, faculty, postdoctoral researchers, and graduate students. Undergraduates in the EERREC program will gain intellectual independence and insight into what it means to be a scientist, and increase their experience in a particular area of ecology, evolutionary biology, or animal behavior.

“Working in a lab for two years previously I thought that I knew a good bit for an undergraduate. But working in this lab I realized that although I may know how to conduct a few experiments, I never knew how they worked or why we did them at my previous lab. But here I knew why we were doing everything that we did, and that helped me realize the difference between just going through the steps and being a true scientist… I feel more like a scientist...”

For each EERREC scholar, we strive for co-mentoring of their research by faculty at UC Davis and a faculty member at their home institution. This recognizes the key role that these faculty play in the intellectual development of scholars, provides scholars with additional post-program mentoring, and ideally will strengthen existing scientific connections between institutions and create new ones.

Studying Rapid Environmental Change


Snow on a distant ridge, with trees burned in recent wildfires
Burned trees along the Blue Ridge Trail in Stebbins Canyon, with snow-frosted hills in the background after a rare snowfall, February 2023. Graham Coop/UC Davis

Research in the EERREC REU lies within two themes.

These themes encompass important challenges that organisms and ecosystems face as a result of rapid environmental change. They also include specific research questions in urban, rural, agricultural, and natural systems and thus span the spectrum of effects of rapid environmental change that must be addressed by society.

We also recognize that scientific curiosity transcends subdisciplines and skills are transferrable between study systems and research questions. The research that you do in an REU (or as a senior thesis, or as a graduate student, or…) does not lock you into that line of inquiry for the rest of your career. 

Note: some projects are labelled not available in 2023. This is not negotiable; please don't ask.

Theme 1: Ecological and evolutionary effects of changing environmental regimes

California quail
California quail, Callipepla californica. Photo by Brooke Benson/UC Davis

Global climate change has influenced organismal ecology and evolution, with effects on animal behavior, ecological and evolutionary genomics, environmental physiology, and population biology. Research problems in this theme span levels of organization from the individual to community levels.

see all descriptions of research in this theme

Theme 2: The biology of organisms in human-dominated ecosystems

sunflowers at sunset in West Davis
Sunflowers at the edge of an agricultural field. Agroecosystems and other managed systems have become increasingly common in many parts of the world. Photo: J. Ross-Ibarra/UC Davis.

Human actions often have multiple unanticipated effects on the capacity of organisms to acclimatize and adapt to changing environments. Research problems in this theme explore these implications for organisms that live under human influence.

see all descriptions of research in this theme


What do research sites look like?

Browse the research projects above for specifics and check out some general settings in this photo gallery.