Interdisciplinary Macrosystems Research in Freshwater Ecology & Computer Science (REU) Positions at MSU


 April 16, 2018


Two National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) positions are available at Michigan State University. The two successful candidates will be part of an interdisciplinary macrosystems research team that applies computer science approaches to freshwater ecology. One of the positions is for a computer-science student and the other is for an ecology student. The two students will work together on a single, collaborative project that includes computer science and ecology faculty, graduate students, and post-doctoral researchers. This collaborative project is classifying all 150,000 lakes in the continental US by the degree of human modification such as the presence of dams or water-control structures. The work will include a combination of computer science and ecology methods to classify lakes using satellite imagery, deep learning algorithms, statistics, and GIS tools. Students will be trained in many of these tools, which will build their skill sets for future research and career needs. Each student will develop their own research related to this project.

This summer research project and the REU positions are part of an NSF-funded Macrosystems Biology project called Continental Limnology, which is an effort to build a large, integrated lake and geospatial database for all lakes in the continental US. See for more details.

Desired Qualifications 

For the ecology position, preference will be given to students with coursework and/or experience in ecology, statistics, GIS, the MS Office Suite, and an interest in learning coding in R or Python. For the computer science position, preference will be given to students who have prior background in machine learning and data mining, especially deep learning, and experience using some of the Python data analysis libraries.


Hours: 40 hr/week, May – August; exact start and end-dates are negotiable

Pay: $12-$15/hr depending on experience

Location: Data-intensive Landscape Limnology Laboratory, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI


Send a resume, cover letter, and list of 3 references to Dr. Patricia Soranno at for the ecology position and to Dr. Pang-Ning Tan at for the computer science position. Review of applications will begin on April 16, 2018.