Department Research

From fieldwork to laboratory studies, faculty in the Department of Biological Sciences work on fascinating organisms and important environmental issues, and there are many opportunities for students to participate.

Examples include coastal wetland restoration work along the Great Bay and nearby coastline (Gregg Moore). The annual “Bee BioBlitz”  catalogs the diversity of NH pollinators, and connects to research on the behavior and ecology of native bees Rehan lab. The study the role of communication in insect reproduction Howard Research Lab employs bioacoustics, neuroscience and field ecology. The molecular mechanisms that underline pain and anxiety-like behavior are studied by Arturo Andrade in order to assist in the development of treatments for humans. How do movement and migrations of fish interact with bioenergetics, predator-prey interactions, and landscapes (Nathan Furey). Ecology and behavioral research approaches may enhance biology education: which traits influence academic achievement and persistence (Melissa Aikens). How does mixed model teaching practices impact student learning and satisfaction in large introductory courses (Carrie Hall).

 A complete list of DBS Faculty

 

Biology faculty conduct research on a broad range of topics and welcome undergraduates in the Biology Major as well as other majors into their labs. Undergraduates who are interested in gaining hands-on experience should have a good GPA and sufficient time in their schedules to devote to laboratory work or field work. Interested in getting involved in a lab?

First, look at the Department of Biological Sciences Faculty webpage to find out the research areas and current projects of the Biology faculty – anything catch your interest?

Second, explore UNH’s options: 

  • Are you curious and simply want to “dip your toes in” as a volunteer, or explore what research is all about?  (variable credit), Student Research Experience, is a great place to start.
  • Would you consider getting paid to conduct research over the summer?  A Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) may be for you.
  • Looking for 1 to 4 credits for conducting research during the academic year?  An Undergraduate Research Awards Program (URA) )  or BIOL 795 (Independant Investigations) may be ideal for you.
  • Do you love to travel?  SURF-Abroad or an International Research Opportunities Program (IROP) grant is a way to get a research and cultural experience at the same time. 

Third, make an appointment to talk with one or more faculty whose research grabs your interest.  A simple “I’m curious about your work, and I might want to try my hand at research – can you tell me more?” is a great place to start.  Once you learn more about ongoing projects, the two of you can explore which of the options might be right for you.

There are a wide diversity of opportunities for undergraduate participation in research through faculty and graduate student research programs.  In addition, the University of New Hampshire has also expanded these opportunities by establishing a significant number of collaborative centers of excellence and cooperative research institutes with NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. In order of inception, these partnerships include:

These UNH/NOAA partnerships provide vital support and focus to programs in applied marine science and public education, estuarine and coastal research, coastal ocean mapping and hydrography, marine fisheries and aquaculture, cooperative fisheries research and coastal ocean observing and other areas of marine science.

Additional research centers that contribute significantly to the Marine Program include:

The faculty of the Neuroscience and Behavior program conduct research on a broad range of topics. We actively seek and encourage undergraduates into our laboratories to provide them with hands-on experience that will help them achieve their academic and professional goals. To conduct research, students should contact the faculty member whose research program coincides with their interests.

Students may spend several years working in the same laboratory or they can do a single project during the academic year or a summer. Students often report that doing an independent research project is the highlight of their academic experience. There are several ways for undergraduates to get financial support for their projects, such as through   Undergraduate Research Awards (URA) and Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF). Students typically present their work via with a poster or oral presentation at the Undergraduate Research Conference in the spring.

Zoology faculty conduct research on a broad range of topics and welcome undergraduates into their labs. The Faculty page lists faculty who teach Zoology courses and their research interests.  All freshmen will take Zoology 400 in which they will have an opportunity to hear Zoology faculty describe aspects of their research programs and describe opportunities for undergraduates to participate in research.

Undergraduates who are interested in gaining hands-on experience should make an appointment to talk with one or more faculty whose research grabs your interest.  A simple “I’m curious about your work, and I might want to try my hand at research – can you tell me more?” is a great place to start.  Once you learn more about ongoing projects, both of you can explore which of the options might be right for you.

Interested in getting involved in a lab?

Explore UNH’s options for undergraduate research:

  • Looking for 1 to 4 credits for conducting research during the academic year?  Consider signing up for a ZOOL 795 Special Investigations under the supervision of a specific faculty member.
  • For a more defined research experience/project during the academic year, an Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) grant is a positive option.
  • Would you consider getting paid to conduct research over the summer?  A Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) may be for you.
  • Do you love to travel? SURF-Abroad or an International Research Opportunities Program (IROP) grant is a way to get a research and cultural experience at the same time. 
  • Are you curious and simply want to “dip your toes in” and explore what research is all about, but have not defined a specific area yet? INCO 590 (variable credit), Student Research Experience, is a great place to start.

The Biological Sciences graduate program is enhanced by research in other departments and institutes across the University. Graduate students regularly collaborate across departments on multifaceted research projects, include faculty from multiple departments on their committees, and attend seminars and enroll in courses sponsored by diverse programs.

Students in the Marine Biology option benefit from working with researchers affiliated with the School for Marine Sciences and Ocean Engineering and its associated programs and facilities: N.H. Sea Grant Program; the Center for Collaborative Science; the Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space (EOS); the UNH Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping (CCOM)Joint Hydrographic Center; and the Ocean Processes Analysis Laboratory (OPAL).

Integrative and Organismal Biology students collaborate with colleagues in related departments such as Agriculture, Nutrition, and Food Systems, Natural Resources and the Environment, Molecular, Cellular, and Biomedical Sciences, and, for those focusing on neuroscience or behavior, Psychology. (IOB students who study marine organisms also use the resources listed above.)

Graduate students with projects related to STEM education can draw on expertise in the Leitzel Center https://www.unh.edu/leitzel-center and UNH’s Center for Excellence and Innovation in Teaching and Learning https://www.unh.edu/cetl , as well as programs offered through the UNH Graduate School’s Cognate in College Teaching https://www.unh.edu/cetl/cognate .

The Center for Freshwater Biology (CFB) jointly administers (with the UNH Cooperative Extension) the Lakes Lay Monitoring Program, which is dedicated to the preservation and management of lakes through citizen-based monitoring and research.

The UNH Graduate School https://gradschool.unh.edu provides professional development programs http://gradschool.unh.edu/pd/ , fellowships, travel grants, interdisciplinary networking, and other essential resources for graduate students across the university.