The goal of the Bahamian Lakes REU site is to provide undergraduate students a fieldwork and laboratory opportunity to learn first-hand about Earth as a system and to develop skills in conducting and communicating scientific research through studying modern limnologic systems and the environmental, geochemical, and biological records of change recovered from lake sediment cores. We will target sophomore to junior-level undergraduate geoscience and pre-service teacher participants from urban comprehensive universities in the Great Lakes and mid-continent region. Our regional recruitment will allow us to encourage students of color from urban areas to participate as well as facilitating participants to present their research at a common North-Central section meeting of the Geological Society of America. We anticipate that this REU experience will positively influence participants to complete a baccalaureate degree and pursue graduate work. Understanding the dynamics of human-climate interaction remains one of society's looming unanswered questions. The role of natural climate variability and how it may differ from how humans may have changed their environment and driven localized changes to climate is a leading area of global change research. Our faculty will mentor students in the collection, analyses, and interpretation of data from the modern subtropical lake systems and past records of environmental change from sedimentary cores recovered from lakes in the Bahamas. These data will be compared to stratigraphic, biological, and chemical records derived from archaeologically excavations in order to decipher the footprint of human occupation and how it may have impacted the physical and biological environments. These data will be used to build a deeper understanding of the history and nature of climatic and anthropogenic environmental change through time. The Bahamian Lakes REU site has the potential of increasing both the number of women and under-represented minorities completing gesoscience undergraduate degrees and continuing on to graduate programs. We believe that our international collaboration with the College of the Bahamas and the Bahamian Antiquities, Monuments, and Museums Corporation and the international nature of the fieldwork will provide an unparalleled avenue for cultural enrichment for the students as well as an experience in global cooperation that will be invaluable for a student's future success in an increasingly global workforce and economy. This award is funded by the Division of Earth Sciences and the Office of International Science and Engineering.
REU Site: Field Research on Bahamian Lakes: Exploring Records of Anthropogenic and Climatic Change