How to Apply

Mentors and Project Opportunities

Each REU students is mentored by a Senior Research Scientist at Bigelow Laboratory. For examples and abstracts of REU projects from previous years, visit the sub-pages dedicated to each year. On the program application, applicants will indicate two scientists they are interested in working with; students with questions about potential research projects are encouraged to contact the scientist leading the project. Please visit the research pages of individual scientists here.

2018 Mentors

  • Christoph Aeppli
  • Steve Archer
  • Barney Balch
    The Balch lab has REU funds for a student working on a project in several possible areas: coccolithophore mixotrophy, the Gulf of Maine North Atlantic Time Series, the Great Calcite Belt in the Southern Ocean, or bio-optical remote sensing of the sea. Research cruise participation in the North Atlantic is also a possibility depending on the student's interest and background.
  • Pete Countway
  • David Emerson
  • José Fernández-Robledo
    The Fernández Robledo’s lab focuses on protozoan parasites of mollusks with a special interest in Perkinsus species. He is interested in finding ways to ameliorate the parasite's impact in the oysters by understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms that the parasite uses for surviving the oyster immune system. His lab is also interested in genetically engineering the protozoan parasite for producing proteins of commercial interest and for vaccine development against human pathogens.
  • David Fields
    The Fields lab focuses on the impact of climate change (temperature and ocean acidification) and pollution (microplastics - oil) on zooplankton (including larval lobster). The research opportunities this summer include learning to raise zooplankton and monitor their growth in the lab and measure the ingestion rates respiration rates and behavior of these ecologically important animals.
  • Mike Lomas
  • Joaquin Martinez Martinez
  • Paty Matrai
  • Beth Orcutt
    Our group focuses on studying the exotic microbes that live below the seafloor on rocks. We are looking for a student to image the biofilms, minerals, and cellular structures that these microbes produce, and also to help with analyzing the DNA from these microbes to figure out their identify and their genetic tricks that allow them to survive in the deep sea.
  • Nicole Poulton
  • Nichole Price
    Our lab studies how global change phenomena, such as ocean acidification and warming, can impact bottom-dwelling species interactions, community dynamics, and ecological function in shallow coastal systems. Current examples of projects include investigating an emerging fungal pathogen affecting algae on tropical coral reefs, and measuring how raising kelp in the ocean can create a “Halo effect” which enhances water quality, improves habitat for other organisms, and mitigates coastal ocean acidification.
  • Doug Rasher
  • Nick Record
  • Ben Twining
    We have funds for a directed undergraduate student project at Bigelow this summer to support the growing Maine seaweed industry by further developing our metals testing capacity. Specifically, the goal is to evaluate sources of variation - be they natural or methodological - in arsenic and iodine concentrations of commercial seaweeds. This project will involve laboratory work and direct engagement with seaweed practitioners.


An REU participant must be a current undergraduate student and a citizen or permanent resident of the United States or its possessions; international students and graduating seniors are not eligbile for this program. An undergraduate student is defined as a student who is enrolled in a degree program (part-time or full-time) leading to a baccalaureate or associate degree. Students who are transferring from one college or university to another and are enrolled at neither institution during the intervening summer may participate under certain circumstances. See the National Science Foundation's eligibility guidelines for more information.

Minorities and students with disabilities are encouraged to apply.

Applicants should have, at minimum, one year of basic biology, have taken at least one earth or ocean science course, and be in good standing with their home institution. Most REU students will have completed two or three years of college and be majoring in earth science, environmental science, biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics or engineering. Prior research experience is not required, but relevant coursework and enthusiasm for conducting independent research are important. We encourage applications from non-traditional students, as well as those attending community colleges.


Please read the application instructions before beginning the application process.

A complete application to the REU Program consists of the following materials:

  1. The online application form
  2. Responses to the short answer questions form
  3. Two letters of reference from individuals, at least one a recent science instructor, who can comment on your interest and commitment to self-motivated projects. Recommenders should submit their letters using the online form.
  4. An official or unofficial transcript from your academic institution

All application materials must be received by February 15th. Due to the high number of applications received each year, incomplete applications will not be reviewed. All application materials should be sent to Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences via the online application site. Do not submit applications to the National Science Foundation.

All students who are offered a position with the Bigelow REU have from March 1st to March 15th to accept or reject the offer. This REU site is funded by the National Science Foundation's Division of Ocean Sciences. The cognizant Program Director for all NSF-OCE funded REU sites is Elizabeth Rom: or (703) 292-7709.

Contact Information

REU Program
Dr. David Fields
Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences
PO Box 380
East Boothbay, ME 04544 USA
(207) 315-2567, ext. 313

2019 Important Dates

  • Application Period: January 1 - February 15
  • Students Notified: March 1 - March 15
  • Program Dates: May 28 to August 2, 2019