The Allen Lab at the University of Oklahoma is always looking for new undergraduate and graduate students to work on research projects related to the geographical ecology of stream and river networks. Dan Allen is one 3 new faculty hired as a part of a cluster hire in Geographical Ecology (including physiological geographical ecologist Katie Marshall and comparative phylogeographical ecologist Katherine Marske) in the Department of Biology. Students in our lab will have an opportunity to be a part of this exciting time of growth and help establish OU as a leader in geographical ecology.
"To do science is to search for repeated patterns, and to do the science of geographical ecology is to search for patterns of plant and animal life that can be put on a map." - Robert H. MacArthur
Resources available in the Allen Lab include a 600 square foot Stream Ecology Lab (equipped with standard equipment for processing aquatic and terrestrial invertebrate samples; including microscopes, muffle furnace, drying ovens, micro and analytical balances; in addition to field research equipment) and a 400 square foot Stable Isotope Ecology Lab (equipped with a Thermo-Fisher Delta V Plus isotope ratio mass spectrometer [IRMS] and elemental analyzer [EA] for analysis of hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen isotopes in liquid and solid samples). Other resources within the Department of Biology include the Aquatic Research Facility (24 outdoor stream mesocosms with riffle and pool sequences, greenhouses, and experimental ponds), a multi-user analytical lab with an auto-analyzer for water chemistry analysis and a flow cytometer, the Biology Core Molecular Lab for DNA sequencing and microsatellite analysis, a new Biology Core Genomics Lab, a fleet of new 4x4 field vehicles, the Oklahoma Biological Survey, the Oklahoma Biological Station, and the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History. Other resources available at OU include the Kessler Atmospheric and Ecological Field Station, the Center for Spatial Analysis, the Oklahoma Climatological Survey, the Oklahoma Mesonet, the National Weather Center, the South Central Climate Science Center, the Oklahoma Geological Survey, and the Oklahoma Water Survey. Finally, OU falls neatly within the middle of the steepest longitudinal precipitation gradient in North America, which means that the Chihuahan desert, the coniferous forests of the Rocky Mountains, the semi-arid grasslands of the Central Plains, the mesic grasslands of the Southern Plains, and the deciduous forests of the Ozark and Ouachita Mountains are all within a day's drive of campus.
Graduate students in our lab are able to use the above resources in designing independent research projects, which typically fall under the general umbrella of aquatic geographical ecology. Specific projects could range from community to ecosystem ecology; and could include (but are not limited to) questions related to biological community structure, biodiversity, food webs, or aquatic-terrestrial linkages at landscape, regional, or continental spatial scales.
Undergraduate students in our lab are crucial to our work. Undergraduate students help out on existing projects or develop their own projects that support the broader goals of the lab. We regularly mentor undergraduate students as part of the First Year Research Experience (FYRE) program run by the Honors College at OU, and more senior undergraduate students at OU are able to conduct research and receive academic from the Department of Biology or the Environmental Studies program.
If this sounds interesting to you, please consider joining us! Send Dan Allen an email expressing your interest to get the ball rolling.