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NSF REU Program Overview

National Science Foundation LogoREU Site: Restoring cattle ranches for sustainable land and water resources


Rocky creek on the ranchHereford cattle with yellow ear tagsBluebonnets growing in a rocky area
Program Overview

This REU Site award to Tarleton State University, located in Stephenville, TX, will support the training of 10 students for 10 weeks during the summers of 2018 - 2020. Research will be conducted both on the main campus and at Timberlake Biological Field Station, located south of Goldthwaite in Mills County, TX. The scientific focus is on environmentally related issues associated with converting a working cattle ranch into a long-term biological field station. Ranching was once a widespread and profitable business with little environmental focus. However, increasing emphasis on sustainable land and water use has helped reshape how cattle ranchers manage their resources to maximize their gain while minimizing their impact on surrounding ecological systems.

REU students will have opportunities to conduct scientific research in the areas of aquatic ecology, conservation biology, environmental biology, environmental chemistry, environmental engineering, environmental sociology, geospatial analyses, herpetology, hydrogeology, ichthyology, landscape management, limnology, ornithology, paleoecology, parasitology, plant ecology, restoration ecology, sustainability, water quality, and wildlife management.

It is anticipated that a total of 30 students, primarily from schools with limited research opportunities, will be trained in the program. By heavily recruiting from 2-year and 4-year Hispanic Serving Institutions, the REU Site will serve as a pathway for talented, underrepresented students to transition from 2-year colleges to 4-year universities and from 4-year universities to graduate school. Students will learn how research is conducted, and many will present the results of their work at scientific conferences.