NSF funds a large number of research opportunities for undergraduate students through its Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Sites Program. The REU program allows for active research participation by undergraduate students in any of the areas of research funded by the National Science Foundation. Each student is associated with a specific research project, where he/she works closely with the faculty and other researchers. So if you are an undergraduate student interested in gaining meaningful research experience, consider applying for a summer REU opportunity.

In addition to the REU program, students also have the opportunity to gain research experience through the Partnerships for Undergraduate Research (SPUR) Fellowship. SPUR Fellowships are sponsored by SEEDS, a program of the Ecological Society of America, with the goal of broadening participation in ecology. The award supports the undergraduate student in designing and conducting an ecology research project of interest. SEEDS has established partnerships with field stations and mentors to offer exciting summer opportunities that will be tailored to meet student interests, career objectives, and growth as a scientist. For most opportunities, no prior research experience is necessary.

Check out our video featuring members of the LTER community giving advice on how to get involved in undergrad research:

Current REU Opportunities

Below is a list of summer research opportunities associated with the Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network.

Examples of REU opportunities at LTER sites (for application details and dates, see links to current opportunities above):

Baltimore Ecosystems Study

During the Baltimore Ecosystems Study summer experience, students will gain knowledge, skills, and appreciation for both ecological scholarship and translational ecology, and develop identities as scholars and translators of ecology.

California Current Ecosystem

REU students at the California Current Ecosystem LTER seek to understand and communicate the effects of long-term climate variability and climate change on the California Current pelagic ecosystem.

Hubbard Brook

At Hubbard Brook, students will work with diverse research teams, and develop and conduct an independent research project.

Harvard Forest

The Harvard Forest Summer Research Program in Ecology is an opportunity for students to participate in mentored, paid, independent research focusing on the effects of natural and human disturbances on forest ecosystems, including global climate change, hurricanes, forest harvest, and pest and pathogens.


The Sevilleta LTER summer program includes an independently led research project, a seminar series, a weekly journal club, an annual symposium, professional development workshops, public speaking, ethics training, field trips, and opportunities to interact with a multitude of scientists conducting research in the area

Northern Gulf of Alaska

Students will participate in oceanographic research related to the Northern Gulf of Alaska LTER site, which includes water column characterization measurements, zooplankton studies, particle dynamics studies, data analysis, and numerical oceanographic modeling.

W.K. Kellogg Biological Station

Undergraduate students will have an opportunity to conduct full time research in collaboration with faculty, postdocs, and graduate students on the NSF funded KBS REU Site ‘Ecological and Evolutionary Dynamics in Changing World’.


Undergraduate students typically conduct a small independent project related to larger studies of lakes, streams, tundra, or land-water interactions. Participants are expected to collect and analyze data and to produce a poster describing their project near the end of the field season.

Plum Island Sound

This position involves participation in a large-scale, multi-disciplinary project examining the effects of sea-level, climate change, and changes in human land use of the marshes, estuaries and watersheds surrounding Plum Island Sound, Massachusetts. Students will work closely with mentors to develop and conduct independent projects within these research areas.

Northeast U.S. Shelf

Students will join a team of scientists studying the food web of the Northeast U.S. Shelf (NES) marine environment as part of Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER).

Virginia Coast Reserve

National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) positions are available with the Virginia Coast Reserve Long-Term Ecological Research (VCR-LTER) program for summer 2022. VCR-LTER researchers study patterns and mechanisms of ecosystem function, connectivity, and state changes in the coastal barrier system – from mainland marshes to intertidal and subtidal bay habitats and barrier islands. Along with focusing on one of the specific projects, REUs also help collect data for ongoing long-term field projects.