Undergraduate Great Lakes Research Experience

The application cycle for Summer 2023 is now closed. Please check back next January for future opportunities.

Open to student applicants from across the U.S.A., the Central Michigan University Great Lakes Research Experiences for Undergraduates program supports the training of 4-8 students for 10 weeks during summer 2023 (tentative dates are May 22 - July 28). Participants are expected to be in residence at the CMU sites during the entire time period.

Great Lakes REU Research

Students will participate in interdisciplinary research that addresses critical issues facing the Laurentian Great Lakes, one of the world’s most important and threatened freshwater ecosystems. Faculty-guided projects will focus on the response of large freshwater systems to anthropogenic stressors including pollution (nutrients, contaminants, microplastics), climate change (water level, extreme weather), and non-native species. Research will be conducted at CMU’s Biological Station on Beaver Island, a remote, largely forested, island in northern Lake Michigan with few permanent residents. Its complex geological history, seven insular lakes, and proximity to large lake water currents make Beaver Island an ideal location to explore connections between anthropogenic stressors, Great Lakes ecosystems, and weather.

Participants will collaborate with CMU faculty to develop research projects in areas such as animal behavior, climate, conservation and spatial ecology, fisheries biology, hydrology, limnology, microbial ecology, mussel ecology, plankton ecology, and weather. Participants will gain hands-on experience in all parts of the scientific process, from experimental design through data acquisition and dissemination. Participants will engage with multiple stakeholders (e.g. government entities, private individuals, and Indigenous communities) who have interest in Great Lakes resources and will learn to communicate their science to these groups.

Research team

2022 participants and projects

  • Megan Norris - Microplastics Concentrations in Near and Far Shore Environments for Three Beaver Island Beaches
  • Erin Allen - Nutrient-dependent Effect of Microplastic and Other Anthropogenic Fibers on Phytoplankton Productivity
  • Connor Quiroz - Causing a Stir in Northern Michigan Pitcher Plants (Sarracenia Purpurea)
  • Mahlana Graham - Causing a Stir in Northern Michigan Pitcher Plants (Sarracenia Purpurea)
  • Miranda Devan - Productivity and Zooplankton Composition of Beaver Island Lakes in Relation to Human Activity
  • Sophie Flaherty - The Presence of Aerobic Hydrocarbon-Degrading Microbes in Lake Michigan
  • Wesley DeMontigny - Crude Oil Degradation in Low Oxygen Environments of Lake Michigan 

2022 research mentors


A background in biology, chemistry, or environmental science‚Äč with a strong interest in the chemical, physical and biological aspects of aquatic ecosystems. Applicants must provide their transcripts and 2-3 letters of recommendation.


During Summer 2023, each participant will receive a stipend of $5,750, lodging provided at CMU and at the CMU Biological Station, and meals provided in the cafeteria. Funding up to $500 is available to reimburse each participant for travel costs to the REU site.


Applicants who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents, with a grade point average of 3.0 or higher, and who will be returning to their undergraduate program in Fall 2023 are eligible to apply. Women and minorities are particularly encouraged to apply. We strongly encourage applications from underrepresented groups, especially Native Americans, and students from small colleges or 2-year programs whose research opportunities have been limited.


Please download, complete and submit the application as directed. Please download and forward the recommendation form to each person providing a recommendation for you.

(Please use Adobe Reader to complete your form, not the Apple Preview available on Mac computers.)

All application materials (application, transcripts and letters of recommendation) should be submitted by Tuesday, January 31, 2023. Email is preferable for all materials. Paper copies are acceptable but must be postmarked by the application deadline. Letters of recommendation (2-3) must be sent by those writing the recommendation, not by the applicant. For questions and to submit materials, please contact the program coordinator at iglr@cmich.edu

CMU Great Lakes REU
c/o Jessica Lapp
Brooks Hall 217
Central Michigan University
Mount Pleasant, MI 48859

We expect to extend offers of awards by early March 2023. Please be patient during this process and feel free to contact the iglr@cmich.edu mailbox with questions.