Research Experiences for Undergraduates
Plant Systematics, Conservation Biology, and Ethnobotany

Research Experiences for Undergraduates

June 4 – August 10, 2018

Applications are being accepted

NSF Logo REU Site: Botany and Conservation Biology Research at the Missouri Botanical Garden. (Supported by NSF award DBI-1559962)


Missouri Botanical Garden is pleased to announce the opening of the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program that will provide research opportunities for 10 students, for 10 weeks during the summer of 2018. Students will work on independent mentored projects in plant systematics, conservation biology, and ethnobotany. Participants will have access to the Garden’s herbarium of more than 6.5 million specimens, an excellent botanical library, rich garden collections, a laboratory facilities for plant anatomy, microscopy, digital imaging, SEM, and DNA analysis, and the Shaw Nature Reserve – a 2,400 acre ecological preserve featuring prairie, forest, glades, wetlands, and 14 miles of hiking trails.


Students must be returning to an undergraduate degree program in the fall following the REU program. If you will be graduating in May or June in the year of the program, you are not eligible. To be eligible you must also be a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident.


REU interns receive food and lodging (if not local), support for research, and a weekly $525 stipend.

Mentors and Projects

Students will work closely with a Ph.D. mentor from the Missouri Botanical Garden on an independent research project. Projects available in 2018 involve subjects including taxonomy of tropical plant species, genetic diversity, speciation, conservation biology, restoration ecology, effects of climate change on plant phenology, ethnobotany, and new crop development. Students will be trained in all aspects of research, including project design, background research using library and electronic resources, methods, data collection and analysis, and presentation of results in a poster, public research symposium, and possibly a published paper. Learn more

Additional Training

Students will also participate in professional enrichment sessions dedicated to a variety of topics, including improving writing skills, ethics in research, intellectual property rights, getting into graduate school, taking the GRE exam, graduate school options, conservation, and sustainable living. Students will participate in weekly Lunch and Learn sessions in which these subjects will be discussed. Students will also participate in field trips to local natural areas and cultural attractions. The REU program will be integrated with other ongoing MBG programs involving herbarium and garden support staff, high school students, undergraduates, graduate students, professional botanists, educators, and visitors.

To apply, please submit a cover letter, application form, letter of recommendation, and transcripts.

Application Deadline - February 28, 2018

Application Instructions


Frequently Asked Questions

How are final selections made and when will we be notified?

Selection is made on the basis of a combination of qualifications. We seek participants who have a sincere interest in the featured programs (botany, systematics, conservation, ethnobotany). We seek well-qualified students who need minimal training. We seek students who may be qualified but come from less than optimal schools or backgrounds. High academic achievement is not the only criterion. Demonstrated effort in learning about botany is viewed favorably, especially coursework in plant taxonomy and ecology. Mentors are notified of the applicants that have indicated interest in their projects and given a chance to participate in the selection process. All applicants (whether accepted or not) will be notified via e-mail as soon as possible (probably by mid-April).

If you get an offer for another situation and you need to know your current status sooner, contact the REU Coordinator at for assistance.


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MBG Mission "to discover and share knowledge about plants and their environment in order to preserve and enrich life"