Research Projects by Subject

Note: Each research project will involve background reading for the interns provided by their mentors. Each research project will involve a final presentation by the interns.

Interns are expected to work collaboratively on the same project and/or data set. This may preclude rising seniors from submitting papers based on such projects to the Intel Science Talent Search competition.

Environmental Studies

Code Research Project Descriptions
ENV-01 Title: Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in Urban Gardens
Primary mentor: Monika Egerer
Faculty advisor: Prof. Stacy Philpott
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Insect biodiversity is crucial for maintaining ecosystem services, or benefits that humans derive from natural processes, in agro-ecosystems (i.e., ecosystems managed for crop production). The main objectives of the mentor's research group's research project is to explore how ecosystem services are affected by changes in insect biodiversity and local habitat complexity in urban garden ecosystems. The mentor's research group seeks to understand how changes in insect communities may lead to changes in ecosystem functions and services. The mentor's research group focuses on pollinators and insect predators, both of which are especially important in agriculture for pollination and pest control services.

Tasks: The SIP interns will participate in field work and participate in lab work. The interns will identify insects and plants to species observed in the field, and identify the important traits that they have to categorize insect samples. This information will be used to: (1) inform data analysis common in community ecology, and (2) create an informational guide to publish on the mentor's research group's website. Second, the SIP interns will have the opportunity to assist with a participatory research project involving multiple gardens and gardeners, in which the gardeners' water use over the summer will be measured.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Lab work; statistical data analysis; field work
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON REM ON OFF ON ON ON OFF REM

Special age requirement: The applicant must be 16 years old by June 12, 2017.

Code Research Project Descriptions
ENV-02 Title: Using Motion-sensitive Cameras to Monitor Wildlife
Primary mentor: Veronica Yovovich
Location: Other
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Mountain lions hold the dubious distinction of being California's last top carnivore, and are a vital part of natural ecosystem balance and integrity. Human development threatens their future persistence by encroaching on habitat, killing mountain lions to prevent conflict with our livestock, and disrupting important dynamics. The mentor and her research group uses a variety of techniques to help understand mountain lion ecology, and prevent human-mountain lion conflict.   (The mentor will be in Berkeley and will interact remotely/virtually with the SIP interns all summer.)  

Tasks: The SIP interns can expect to be involved in data processing associated with mountain lion research. The interns will become familiar with data entry, handling, and integrity using Excel, as well as learning how to use the photo-processing program Picasa. The research focus is flexible, and could look beyond mountain lions. For example, the interns could use the data to look at patterns in which species live in what type of habitat, human activities in relation to other species, etc.    

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; statistical data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON REM REM ON ON ON ON ON ON

Only out-of-area applicants will be considered for this virtually-mentored project.