Posted on January 4, 2018
Hello all. Thank you for your interest in the 2018 IRES program. Of the 78 applicants this year, we had the difficult job of selecting 12 to interview for 5 spots. Thanks to all for putting the time in to apply and we wish you luck in your future endeavors!
Posted on October 3, 2017
The third year of our IRES program is in preparation! We are looking for strong applicants for our third and final cohort! Please explore the website and consider applying. Materials should be received by Dec. 2.
Updated on December 29, 2016
Thank to all who applied this year! We had a large pool (75 applicants) to chose 5 candidates from. We have selected 10 candidates for interviews scheduled for early January. If for some reason we do not find 5 good candidates we may be inviting other applicant from our pool. For those eligable to apply for 2018, we encourage you to do so next fall.
Posted on November 25, 2016
We are busy going through all the complete applications that were received and will be contacting short-listed applicants in Dec to set up interviews for early January 2017. Those not short-listed will also be emailed in December. We would like to thank all whom applied and their reference letter writers!
Posted on October 26, 2016
Due to an email glitch, if you submitted your application materials (or questions about the program) prior to Oct. 2, 2016, we did not receive them due to their going to the email spam folder. Please resubmit prior to Nov. 9. Thanks and our sincere apologies for the inconvenience.
Posted on October 9, 2015
Please read through the information on the web site, then apply – deadline for summer 2016 applications is end of November 2015.
Updated on October 8, 2015
The UF International Research Experiences for Students (IRES) project will engage U.S. undergraduate students in field-based ecology and conservation research in the southern Africa country of Swaziland. The project will use mentoring, teamwork and innovative research to train students to address some of the planet’s most pressing conservation issues. Students will work with American and African scientists to study the integration of human livelihoods and needs for agricultural production with the need to maintain the diverse and vigorous ecosystems that allow human communities to thrive. Working internationally in Swaziland, students will first gain an understanding of regional cultures, natural history, ecological theory and research techniques. Students will then spend their summer conducting independent research projects. Over the course of the project student research projects will examine how recently converted agricultural lands may alter wildlife communities and the health of entire ecosystems. As global biodiversity continues to decline and agricultural landscapes increase, this project will help us understand how to maintain biodiversity, healthy ecosystems, and human livelihoods. Additionally, the program will produce a new generation of scientists who will spread their newly found knowledge to local and global audiences and be well prepared to face our planet’s growing conservation challenges.
Global conservation efforts must embrace agricultural landscapes, because agriculture has and will continue to play a dominant role in shaping land-use practices. Nonetheless, there is only a limited understanding of how agricultural landscapes alter biodiversity and ecosystems? ability to provide resources for humans (ecosystem services). One major hypothesis for balancing agricultural production with biodiversity and ecosystem functioning is the habitat heterogeneity hypothesis. Swazi and American scientists will work with students to understand the role of heterogeneity on faunal biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. One cohort of students will relate variation in the distribution of faunal communities to patterns in landscape heterogeneity. A second cohort of students will test the mechanisms that drive faunal community changes in agriculturally dominated landscapes. A final cohort of students will examine how landscape heterogeneity and faunal communities influence ecosystem functions.