Aquatic Ecology & Fisheries Management Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU)

About the REU

The Aquatic Ecology & Fisheries Management Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program seeks to expand interest and enhance access to the fields of aquatic ecology and fisheries management. 

Participants in this REU will work with a mentor on a research question related to an ongoing project, collect & analyze data, and communicate the results. We expect research topics to range from zooplankton ecology, to impacts of management decisions on fish behavior and growth, to impacts of human-driven environmental change on fish populations and food webs. Check out the accomplishments of the 2023 REU cohort to get an idea of last year's projects.

Participants will also take part in professional development sessions which will provide a robust view of careers in aquatic and fisheries science, as well as guidance on how to become more confident and qualified when applying for graduate school and jobs in this field.

The details included on this website are also available as an informational flyer[pdf] that we encourage you to share.

The 2024 application closed January 15, 2024.



The 2024 Aquatic Ecology & Fisheries Management REU program will run from May 20, 2024 through July 26, 2024.

The application deadline is January 15, 2024.


  • The Ohio State University’s Aquatic Ecology Laboratory, Columbus, Ohio
  • Ohio Division of Wildlife, Inland Fisheries Research Unit, Hebron, Ohio
  • Ohio Division of Wildlife, Sandusky Fisheries Research Station, Sandusky, Ohio


Participants will earn $6,000 over the course of the 10-week program. All personal costs (including housing, meals, and travel) must be covered by participants.


Current undergraduates residing in the U.S. enrolled at a U.S. institution who will have completed 1+ year of college credit by June 2024; open to spring 2024 graduates. Applicants must have also completed at least one college-level course in ecology, natural resources management, environmental sciences, or a related discipline. Selected participants must be able to live in their study location for the duration of the program, May 20 through July 26.

Applicants do not need extensive experience in research or aquatic science to apply for and receive a spot in the program. We seek to enhance access to opportunities to conduct research in aquatic ecology or fisheries science for students from backgrounds that may have historically lacked connections to these fields.


Complete the Qualtrics survey linked below. We recommend that you review the application essay questions and prepare answers before starting the application so that you can more easily complete the essays by simply pasting your answers into the answer fields. Find the essay questions below as well as in a downloadable format [pdf]. If you have any issues while completing your application, contact Jenny Pfaff for help - your application review will not be impacted by any questions or issues in the application process. The 2024 application window has closed.

Top: Sophia holding a yellow perch, 2nd: Olivia showing Marley an otolith extraction; 3rd: Devan filtering water; bottom: Jenny on a boat

Below are the long-form essay questions on the REU application. Use this list to help you prepare your answers so that you may more easily enter them into the online application form. Note that all questions have a 2000 character limit.

  • Why are you interested in (or what attracted you to apply to) this REU? Please discuss how this REU fits into your long-term career or educational goals. 
  • WORK/VOLUNTEER EXPERIENCE: If you have been working or volunteering while in school, please tell us more about your experience. We are hoping to gain an understanding of the full breadth of your work experience, not just work related to research or science. For example: Where do you work/volunteer? How many hours per week? What skills do you believe you have developed? Include any other information you find pertinent.
  • PERSEVERANCE: Describe a time when you faced a difficult academic challenge or personal hurdle that you successfully navigated. What was the challenge and how did you handle it?
  • RESEARCH: If you have had any experience(s) with research (in class, in a lab, or at work), please share them here. What was particularly interesting to you? What did you learn? If you have not had research experience, what excites you about research or this REU?
  • LEADERSHIP: Tell us about any leadership roles you have held in your community, workplace, religious institution, or other organization. Were there any accomplishments related to this experience that you are proud of?
  • SERVICE: Can you share any service experiences you have had in your community, workplace, religious institution, or other organization? Were there any accomplishments related to this experience that you are proud of?

We realize you are more than the sum of the information from the questions above, so you will also have a space to share anything else about yourself that you think will help us better understand the information you provide, better understand who you are, or better highlight your fit for this REU.  

You will also be asked to list all college-level math, science, statistics, and programming courses in which you earned a C or better (note that applicants must have completed at least one college-level course in ecology, natural resources management, environmental science, or related field).

Additionally, you will be required to upload a copy of your resumé or curriculum vitae and to provide the name and contact information of at least one and not more than two references.

You can find a document with these same questions here [pdf].