Undergraduates have formed a central part of the Silman Lab's research program in South America for the last decade. Students from Wake Forest University, our partner Universidad Nacional San Antonio de Abad in Cusco, Peru, and other institutions in the US, Peru, and Colombia have helped do things from follow white-lipped peccaries through Amazonian rain forest to taking paleoecological samples from lakes in the Andes to mapping tree diversity and carbon storage in the cloud forests of Peru. There are several ways you can go to Peru:
Field Assistant: Students working as field assistants help me, and/or mygraduate students and postdocs carry out our research. In addition, all student researchers develop theirr own research project, with some help and guidance from the more senior people you're working with. This research project can count towards undergraduate research credit or for an honors thesis. Travel, equipment and living expenses can be supported through grants that Wake Forest offers and also supported on the lab's research grants.
Field Trip to Peru: Dr. Silman teaches every summer a Wake Forest University field course on Tropical Biodiversity in Peru. In 2009 we'll be expanding this to a full Summer Semester in Peru.
Undergraduate Research: You can carry out undergraduate research in the lab on local projects, or as a continuation of a project started during a trip to Peru.
In addition to projects in Peru, there are lots of interesting things to do here closer to home! PhD. student Julie Wyatt is looking at herb communities in old-growth and logged forests in the Appalachians. Research sites are located in the Southern Appalachians near Robbinsville and Andrews, North Carolina, and are some of the prettiest forests left in the Eastern US. Julie has been working out of Highlands Biological Station.
If you have an interest in NC ecology, stop by the lab!