Term needed: Summer 2018
Faculty mentor name: Scott Lukas
BES Facility: HAREC
Location (town) of internship: Hermiston / Union/ La Grande
Hourly Salary: 13 Expected hours/week: 40
Student may be asked to work on weekends or outside of 8-5: The intern may have the opportunity to work 4-ten hour days some weeks.
Are Housing Benefits included in addition to hourly salary? no
Student will be operating vehicles or farm equipment/machinery. Student will need to submit a driving background.
This project will be conducted on the 33,000 acre Zumwalt Prairie Preserve (ZPP) located in
Northeastern Oregon. The ZPP is the largest remnant of Pacific Northwest bunchgrass prairie in the world. The ZPP vegetation is dominated by native perennial bunchgrass, and also supports a high diversity of native forb species. The ZPP plant community also supports bee pollinators which play an important role in fostering the heath of the prairie and the surrounding agricultural production systems. Bee populations are on the decline nationwide, much work has been completed to study bee pollinators directly in cropping systems, but there is a lack of research directed at studying the effects of rangeland stressors on the health of bee pollinators. Given the significant role that range and pasture lands play in supporting healthy bee populations for agriculture, the proposed project aims to understand how three widespread and growing stressors may affect bee populations. The rangeland stressors to be evaluated are livestock grazing, fire and the invasive grass Ventenata dubia, with the objectives to determine how the abundance and community composition of native bees, their floral resources, and variables associated with nesting are impacted. Of the three stressors, the effect of livestock grazing on bees is most widely studied. Grazing alters various environmental factors that may influence bees including plant growth, diversity, and quality; soil compaction and stability; and microhabitat temperature and humidity. Most native bees are solitary ground‐nesters, so proxies, such as soil compaction and bare ground, are often used to quantify habitat suitability for nesting.
This internship will work collaboratively with a team to collect data on all parameters of the study, but will take responsibility for the soil related data collection and interpretation.
The project in entirety will be conducted over a three year period, but the soils related subset of research for this internship position will focus over a summer period, enabling the intern to collect data, interpret results and draw conclusions.
This internship is seeking a motivated student interested in working on the Zumwalt Prairie Preserve for the 2018 summer period. A strong drive to learn and to think creatively is desired.
Students with an interest in range management, soil science, plant science, environmental studies and other related disciplines are encouraged to apply. Working conditions will primarily be outdoors on the prairie while collecting data, components of the time will be indoors to facilitate data entry, analysis and interpretation of results. Aside from the responsibilities of data collection and processing, other tasks associated with managing the site and experimental parameters may be required. The work may be physically demanding and require long durations of lifting, standing and walking while in the field. The work schedule will be 40 hours per week which may be accomplished in 4-ten hour days to match the needs of the project and desires of the other members of the team. This internship is designed to be a learning experience for the student to provide educational diversity to aid in a more informed career / academic path. This opportunity will be a unique summer experience for the intern to practice scientific research methods in the picturesque landscape of the Zumwalt preserve.