Contact Info
Eric Eager
Associate Professor
(608) 785-6608

The University of Wisconsin - La Crosse Mathematics & Statistics Department is proud to offer a 10-week Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates program in the beautiful city of La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Our program aims to give students as thorough an interdisciplinary research experience as possible.  During this REU, participants will learn data science skills and how to apply them to ecological systems.  They will also be given the opportunity to develop their research questions and then share their findings in both academic settings and with resource managers. We will also provide the students with educational and social activities that create an environment that is conducive to collaboration.

Each group will meet daily with their research advisors, with increasing independence as the summer progresses.  We expect that the summer projects will result in presentations at a national meeting (e.g. the Joint Statistics Meetings or the Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting).

The University of Wisconsin - La Crosse has a national reputation for excellence in fostering undergraduate research, which has led to hosting the 2004 Council on Undergraduate Research conference and the 2009 and 2013 National Conference on Undergraduate Research, as well as the NSF-funded UBM-funded Collaborations on Riverine Ecology (CORE) program (2010-2013).  Additionally, the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse is host to the biennial Midwest Mathematical Biology Conference.

Program Dates:  June 4, 2018 - August 10, 2018
Stipend:  $5000 and a $75 weekly food allowance. 
Note:  Funding for this project has been approved by the National Science Foundation

Who Should Apply?

Who Should Apply:

Relation Majors/Areas

  • Statistics/Data Science/Mathematics
  • Biology/Ecology
  • Computer Science

Ecological Data Science

Ecological studies organisms and their interactions with the environment.  Increasingly, ecologists require data science to study their interactions and guide natural resource management.  For example, managers of the Upper Mississippi River work with large datasets from long-term monitoring; ecologist interact with large telemetry datasets to understand animal behavior; and parks use web scraping to examine visitor use.  Applying data science to ecology requires combining statistics, mathematics, and computer science.

During this REU, participants will learn data science skills and how to apply them to ecological systems.  Participants will also be given the opportunity to develop your research questions and then share findings in both academic settings and with resource managers.  Possible project areas for the 2018 REU include:

  • Examining long-term changes in ecological communities in the Upper Mississippi River
  • Applying geospatial analysis methods to ecological research and natural resource management
  • Using high-dimensional genomic and metabolomic data in species detection and control applications

Prerequisites: Few undergraduates have experience with ecology, statistics, mathematics, and computer science.  We understand this and will teach statistical and programming methods necessary for the project.  The ideal applicant will have experience with data analysis and familiarity with topics in ecology or natural resource management; background with R, Python, or other programming language(s) will be helpful for the applicant.

Application Info


Participation in the UWL REU in Mathematical Ecology is limited to students who meet the following criteria. 

  • U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident
  • Current Undergraduate with at least one semester of coursework remaining before obtaining a Bachelor's degree
  • Each project has unique prerequisites.  See the 2018 Projects section for more details

Application Materials: 

The following materials are to be included in the application

  • Online application form 
  • Unofficial transcript (uploaded with application)
  • 2 letters of recommendation (include names of recommenders in application form; submit letters of recommendation via email to Dr. Eric Eager

Application Timeline:

  • December 1, 2017 - Application opens
  • February 15, 2018 - Priority deadline
  • March 1, 2018 - Application deadline
  • March 15, 2018 - Decisions complete



  • Doug Baumann, Associate Professor (Mathematics & Statistics)
  • Barb Bennie, Professor (Mathematics & Statistics)
  • Richard Erickson, USGS UMESC Scientist (Biology)
  • Roger Haro, Professor (Biology), Interim Associate Dean (College of Science & Health)



  • Campus and department orientation
  • Team-building activities
  • Tour of United States Geological Survey (USGS) facility
  • Visit with the Biostatistics division of Mayo Clinic
  • Guest lectures by area professionals
  • Continuous social interactions with Dean's Distinguished Fellows at UWL
  • Participation in UWL's College of Science and Health Summer Research Celebration in early August



  • Competitive Stipend
  • Suite-style apartments
  • Travel expenses to and from La Crosse and to and from one national meeting
  • Full access to campus recreation and campus library/computing facilities
  • Wireless internet throughout campus