Friday October 21, 2022

University of California, Santa Cruz

Roxanne Beltran, an assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at UC Santa Cruz, has received a grant from the U.S. Office of Naval Research (ONR) Young Investigator Program to detect hotspots of biological activity in the ocean using data from her lab’s ongoing research on northern elephant seals.

The project will provide valuable training for undergraduates and graduate students in Beltran’s lab, and the grant also includes funding for an assessment of ethical considerations in conducting field research with wild animals.

“Our group has always emphasized the importance of mentoring and ethical practices, but we now have financial resources to put behind them, which is really exciting,” Beltran said.

The $750,000 grant includes over $100,000 budgeted for a paid field researcher program for undergraduate students. Each year, nine students will be brought into the elephant seal field research program through the Work-Study Research Initiative (WSRI), a program Beltran helped spearhead (with the science division’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee) to streamline the process for undergraduate students to be active members of a research lab and conduct relevant research while being supported financially.

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