Task 1: Palmyra Atoll Terrestrial and Lagoon Ecosystem Response to Rainforest Realignment

Award Period
Award Amount
Agency Name
Nature Conservancy
Award Number
PI First Name
PI Last Name
John McLaughlin
MSI People
Area/s of Research
Climate Change Science
Ecology and Evolution

PI Hillary Young

Young will supervise the timely completion of all deliverables, publications and products. Young will participate in organization, planning and coordination with the granting agency. In addition to McLaughlin, Young will mentor research interns, graduate students and undergraduates participating in the research program. Young will also supervise McLaughlin in his responsibilities as Co-PI, and provide the mentorship necessary to successfully execute his duties, through regular meetings and weekly progress updates. Young and McLaughlin will synthesize findings regarding the structure and dynamics of the terrestrial food webs that comprise Palmyra Atoll. Young will coordinate the development of additional manuscripts for peer-review.

Co-PI John McLaughlin

McLaughlin will supervise the day-to-day aspects of the project, leading data organization, quality control and analysis. He will provide regular updates to Young and coordinate with the granting agency to ensure deliverables are produced on schedule. In addition, McLaughlin will coordinate with taxonomists to identify, and describe the invertebrates collected. McLaughlin will assist Young in the mentorship of research interns, coordinate their daily activities, ensuring they have the necessary supplies and equipment for their training, and lead a weekly discussion and reading group with them. McLaughlin will also supervise the day-to-day activities of the work study students. McLaughlin will focus his research on processing arthropod samples collected in 2016 from 10 islands. McLaughlin will lead papers focusing on using food webs as tools for understanding the response of ecosystems to perturbations such as rat-eradication and rainforest restoration.

Research Interns

Stipends will support up to 14 research interns and facilitate their training via a program modelled around the NSF REU program but designed to fill a void for of research funding for recent BA/BS graduates who would like to more experience in research setting. McLaughlin and Young implemented this Research Experience for Recent Graduates (RERG) approach on a previous grant: reviewing 45 applications, conducting over 20 interviews and accepting 8 recent graduates for research internships. One a previous grant, the RERG interns worked side-by-side with NSF REUs, under the same training program. There will not be NSF REUs on this project, but, just like the REU program, there is no scope of work or assigned work to RERG interns. Rather, the RERG interns receive training in all aspects of this ambitious research program: study design, data collection, data organization, data analysis and communication. RERG interns are also encouraged to participate in all aspects of our active lab group, including attending lab meetings and departmental seminars and participating in a weekly reading and discussion group tailored to their status. We have set aside a small amount of additional stipend funds to allow interns to pursue interesting research avenues or additional training that may require supplemental funds (e.g. DNA barcoding).

Work Study Students

Undergraduate researchers enrolled at UCSB will work on assigned tasks for an hourly salary.

Taxonomists PSAs.

Taxonomists will receive a PSA of an agreed amount (generally $1,500 per species described).