Prof. Aaron Ellison’s Talk on Undergrad Research Experiences at Harvard Forest

Summary & Interesting Facts

  • 1907 – established as a forestry school -> grew non-native species mostly
  • 5 tracts of forest (~ 1500 acres)
  • 1 of 24 long term ecological research sites in US
  • Typical North East deciduous forest in North America
  • Initial Primary Focus = Study Natural systems vs Systems affected by people
  • After WWII: Focus shifted to studying effects of disturbances on the forest and recovery rates.
  • Largest Nitrogen addition experiment going on at Harvard Forest!
  • Eddy Covariance tower at Harvard Forest is used to measure CO2 exchange between the forest and the atmosphere. Used to determine carbon credits.
  • 1% of total NSF budget is being used on Undergraduate studies! (~70 mil)
  • Students paid $550/week to do an internship during the summer! Applicant pool is mostly composed of women (over 75%).

Should you apply for this program?

  • Research based learning proven to be very effective
  • Students show mixed responses before and after the study period
  • Research skills improved in most students and they became more team oriented and confident in their own abilities
  • Interesting fact = after the summer program on avg. 50% change their career plans!
  • You can find the student research blog here and you can find more info on Prof. Aaron Ellison here!
  • It is good for professors and other faculty members since they collect a lot of data from the students
  • Fun fact: Aaron Ellison does NOT look at your GPA when reviewing your application but he does look at the courses you have taken in your undergraduate study period.
  • Fun fact #2: Control group is missing from this program! Aaron Ellison is open to ideas on how to establish control groups that can be monitored for a long time.
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