Faculty Research Assistance Program (FRAP) Directory

The FRAP Directory allows students to identify UCSB faculty who are looking for undergraduate students to participate in their research projects or creative activities. Please use the links below to find opportunities by discipline. Students, if your desired discipline is not listed, please contact the Undergraduate Research Initiatives office at 805-893-3090 or urca@ltsc.ucsb.edu for assistance. Faculty, if you would like to post your research or creative activity opportunity, please complete the online submission form.

Marine Science Institute

Adam Lambert

Location:
Noble Hall 1136

Research Project

Our lab focuses on the ecology and control of non-native, invasive species (plants, insects, molluscs, amphibians). Students can gain experience with field work in ecology including riparian restoration, sampling of plant and insect populations, insect-plant interactions, and biological control studies. We work throughout the southwest and in may types of habitats.

Undergraduate Contribution

Undergraduates working in our lab can participate in field and laboratory work. Contributions to our riparian restoration work include removing invasive plants, collecting, propagating, and planting native plants, and biological monitoring (sampling), Contributions to our research studies on plant-insect interactions include assisting with collecting and analyzing data, maintaining plants and insects in the lab and greenhouse, and participating in experiments. We strongly encourage students to work several consecutive quarters in our lab to gain a meaningful research experience and consider conducting their own research project with the potential of publication.

Requirements

Introductory ecology coursework. Willingness to travel to field sites either locally (Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties) or in the southwest deserts. Motivation. Dependability. Willingness to learn new techniques.

Robert Miller

Location:
MSRB 2310
6174

Research Project

We are investigating the impact and spread of a marine invasive species, a bryozoan, off the Santa Barbara Coast. Questions addressed by the research include Does diversity of native species influence colonization? Do cleaning activities on offshore structures facilitate spread of the species? and How does the species affect ecosystem structure and function?

Undergraduate Contribution

The student would quantify diversity and abundance of marine invertebrates and algae in photos of the seafloor and manmade structures. This will involve a lot of computer time but will greatly add to your knowledge of local marine life. If the student is a scientific diver, there are also opportunities to participate in fieldwork. This is an unpaid position although that could change over time.

Requirements

-Minimum commitment of 5 hours per week
-Excellent work ethic and attention to detail
-Prefer student that has completed Invertebrate Zoology

Please contact me with a short statement of interest and a copy of your unofficial transcript.

Nick Nidzieko

Location:
5830 Ellison Hall

Research Project

The Coastal Oceanography & Autonomous SysTems (COAST) Lab is focused on improving the capabilities of autonomous platforms in marine environments. At present, we are developing a launch and recovery vessel (LARV) for a mid-sized autonomous underwater vehicle.

Undergraduate Contribution

Working with a team, the student will design and test a scale model of the LARV. Elements of this process include CAD modeling, 3D printing, electrical engineering, and code development. Highly motivated students will have the opportunity to explore the one or more of these areas.

Requirements

Prior experience in the above list of contributions is not necessary, but desirable. The most important aspect is that students are highly motivated, and capable of working independently and with a team as required. Due to security restrictions, students must be US citizens.

Alyson Santoro

Location:
Marine Biotech Rm 2155
893-5318

Research Project

Our lab studies the distribution, abundance, and activity of microbes in the ocean. We are especially interested in microbes involved in the marine nitrogen cycle. I am currently recruiting students interested in using stable isotopes to track the activity of microbes in the ocean.

Undergraduate Contribution

All students working in the lab contribute to the general operation and maintenance of the lab, including making media, weighing samples, and preparing for field expeditions. Students will prepare samples for the analysis of the stable isotopic composition of nitrate in seawater, analyze them using mass spectrometry, and be involved with the interpretation of the resulting data. Opportunities also exist for learning other techniques in analytical chemistry including gas chromatography and spectrophotometry.

Requirements

Students must have a passion for microbes and the ocean and an inquisitive nature. Student must be willing to do repetitive work, be detail oriented, and have good organization skills. Strong quantitative skills are necessary, and some chemistry background is helpful. An interest in troubleshooting analytical instruments and understanding how they work is also essential.

Libe Washburn

Location:
4306 MSRB
893-7367

Research Project

In this project we are studying the coastal ocean using robotic vehicles. These vehicles use new, low-cost technologies for guidance, positioning, and other operations required for making measurements in the coastal ocean. For example, we use robotic quadrotor drones for multiple purposes including: (1) calibration of radar systems that we use to measure ocean surface currents; (2) collection of water samples for ocean acidification studies. Another example is a robotic boat for measuring ocean currents and surface water properties. A team of undergraduate mechanical engineering students built a prototype during two years ago. Since then we have been conducting sea trials to learn more about its performance in a range of ocean conditions. We will continue development of the boat and its sea trials in the coming year.

Undergraduate Contribution

Undergraduates work on a variety of design and development efforts in this project. For example, students are improving the design of quad-rotor drones for use over the coastal ocean. Another current effort is the development of payloads for the drones. Undergraduate students are currently working on a lightweight sampling bottle to be carried by quad-rotor drones that can be tripped automatically to collect water samples. Undergraduates also participate in a broad range of activities for making measurements in the coastal ocean. During the upcoming year we are looking for undergraduates interested in developing and testing the robotic boat described above. Undergraduates currently working in the lab are mechanical engineering students, but students from other majors are welcome. Students perform "hands-on" work for various projects and have opportunities to learn new technologies. A particular focus of the lab has been the use of 3-D printing for fabricating parts used in many of our development efforts.

Requirements

  1. The main requirement is the desire to learn new things and participate in creative design and development projects.
  2. Experience with robotics technology is desirable, but not essential.
  3. The ability to work and learn both independently and in small groups is important.
  4. Experience with programs such as MATLAB and Solid Works is desirable, but not essential.
  5. Some experience using hand tools.

Lizzy Wilbanks

Location:
2128 Noble Hall

Research Project

Our lab studies the activity, ecology and evolution of microbes in aggregates and biofilms from the oceans and salt marshes. We are working on phototrophic bacterial aggregates from an east coast salt marsh and on study systems in the Santa Barbara channel, such as the giant kelp microbiome and “marine snow”, aggregates of detritus colonized by bacteria. We are currently recruiting students for two different types of projects

1. Using high throughput metagenomic sequencing to characterize microbial populations. This will include molecular methods involved in sample preparation and potentially bioinformatics.

2. Culturing new microbes from marine aggregates and biofilms and describing their physiology. Research opportunities exist for both paid work and work for credit. We are staunchly committed to creating an equal and inclusive research group that reflects the diversity of the community at UCSB.

Undergraduate Contribution

All students working in the lab contribute to the general operation and maintenance of the lab, including making media, washing culture vessels, and preparing for field expeditions. Students will start out learning techniques for culturing and/or molecular biology and then move onto a specific project. Undergraduate contributions will involve DNA extraction, PCR, and preparation of samples for high throughput sequencing. Opportunities exist for students to pursue projects in bioinformatics and data analysis. Students are expected to devote several consecutive hours on days that they work in the lab. There is also a monthly lab meeting that students attend and periodically present their results.

Requirements

Students must be determined, hard-working, and excited about the research in our group. Students must be prepared to tackle a range of tasks from the exciting and high-tech, to the repetitive and menial. Students must bring to the project a great attitude in a team environment, resiliency in the face of failure, and the ability to maintain organized records.