The Ecosystems Center is actively involved in education in a variety of ways. In addition to teaching in the Semester in Environmental Science, center scientists serve as adjunct professors and advisors in the Brown-MBL Graduate Program, members of doctoral committees and mentors for postdoctoral scientists and undergraduate interns. The center staff also takes part in a range of community outreach activities to increase public understanding of science.
Semester in Environmental Science
The Semester in Environmental Science (SES) is offered each fall by the Ecosystems Center. SES is a 15-week program in environmental science offered to students enrolled in colleges participating in the MBL Consortium in Environmental Science. More than sixty colleges and universities have approved the SES for credit. Students from non-affiliated colleges and universities may receive credit for the semester through Brown University... More>>>
With funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and other groups, the Ecosystems Center has offered many college students the opportunity to undertake summer projects at research sites. Undergraduates have conducted research projects through NSF’s Research Experience for Undergraduate program, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Coastal Internship program, the Woods Hole Marine Science Consortium or independently. Their projects have ranged from an experiment to determine algae growth in marshes at Plum Island estuary in northern Massachusetts to a study of denitrification in the Arctic tundra in Alaska.
Brown/MBL Graduate Program in Biological and Environmental Sciences
The joint Brown-MBL Graduate Program in Biological and Environmental Sciences was launched in 2003. Ecosystems Center Senior Scientist Christopher Neill is the Rosenthal Director of the Brown-MBL Partnership. Neill’s directorship is sponsored by an endowment of more than $2 million established by MBL Trustee and Brown Trustee Emeritus Charles Rosenthal and his wife, Phyllis.
Ecosystems Center scientists are currently advising these students in the Brown-MBL Graduate Program in Biological and Environmental Sciences. Lindsay Brin examines how temperature influences pathways of nitrogen cycling in estuaries and mangroves. Her advisors are Anne Giblin from the Ecosystems Center and Jeremy Rich from Brown. Sarah Corman studies how multiple stressors, including climate change, affect salt marshes and rocky shores of New England. Her advisors are Linda Deegan of the Ecosystems Center and Heather Leslie of Brown. Will Daniels uses markers in sediments of Arctic lakes to study how lake nutrient cycling and productivity have responded to climate change during the last 12,000 years. He works with Anne Giblin of the Ecosystems Center and Jim Russell of Brown. Shelby Riskin studies how the expansion of intensive soybean farming in the Brazilian Amazon affects stream hydrology and chemistry and the sustainability of phosphorus fertilizers. Her advisors are Christopher Neill from the Ecosystems Center and Stephen Porder from Brown. Chelsea Nagy examines the long-term persistence and health of forested stream buffer zones along streams in the Amazon soybean region. She is advised by Christopher Neill from the Ecosystems Center and Stephen Porder from Brown. Xi Yang uses remote sensing, field measurements and ecosystem models to test how changes to the timing of forest leaf emergence caused by climate change influence ecosystem carbon storage. He is advised by Jim Tang from the Ecosystems Center and Jack Mustard from Brown.
Three students participate in an NSF Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE) project led by Christopher Neill. Marc Mayes studies how climate, land-use practices and mineralogy affect soil carbon and nitrogen biogeochemistry in East Africa. His advisors are Jerry Melillo from the Ecosystems Center and Jack Mustard from Brown. Maya Almaraz studies how intensification of agriculture in tropical Africa alters nitrogen cycling and the fate of nitrogen fertilizer. Her advisors are Christopher Neill from the Ecosystems Center and Stephen Porder from Brown. Mengdi Cui uses emerging technologies to study greenhouse gas emissions from soils across temperate and tropical regions. Her advisors are Jim Tang from the Ecosystems Center and Meredith Hastings from Brown.
Science Outreach in the Community
Members of the Ecosystems Center staff judge community and state science fairs for students in kindergarten through grade 12 and mentor junior high school students as they research their projects. The center also continues its participation in the Woods Hole Science and Technology Education Partnership, providing assistance to teachers and students in the local school systems.
Ecosystems Center staff members serve on many town committees as well as non-profit private groups such as Falmouth Associations Concerned with Estuaries and Salt Ponds and the Association to Preserve Cape Cod, and provide sampling and analytical services to the Baywatchers Program of the Coalition for Buzzards Bay.