The Northern Ecosystems Research for Undergraduates (NERU) program focuses on the impacts of climate change on ecosystems in Northern Sweden. The program is a collaboration between the Univ. of N.H. and the Abisko Scientific Research Station. Read more…

We will not offer a summer 2016 program. New program info. will be posted as funding becomes available. All NSF REU student opportunities are listed on NSF REU program websites.
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Research at Abisko, Sweden
Research at Univ. of NH, USA
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Research Areas
  • Greenhouse gas emissions from subarctic peatlands and lakes
  • Using stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes to identify biogeochemical processes
  • The role of fungi in nutrient cycling and weathering in sub-Arctic ecosystem
  • Examining fungivory in reindeer or small mammals
  • Microbial physiology response to temperature in subarctic and temperate ecosystems

About the Program

Our geo-science and environmental science researchers have invited undergraduate students from universities across the U.S. to join them in the UNH-Abisko Summer Research program. Right from the start students will be given the opportunity to identify research topics then begin working with a research mentor at UNH to prepare for their research in Abisko, Sweden.

Program timeline
The exact dates of this year's program are dependent on logistical details relating to air travel and lodging.  We aim to have specific dates by February 15, 2014

As a reference, the dates will closely coincide with the 2013 program:
- Program began June 3, 2013 at Univ. of NH.
- Students left for Abisko, Sweden on June 28, 2013
- Program ends back at UNH on August 9, 2013.

The 10-week summer program has 3 components:

  • 1. REU fellows spend the first 4 weeks at the University of New Hampshire where they acquire background knowledge of Earth System Science and biogeochemistry. They have training laboratory and field techniques, and design their research projects.
  • 2. Students spend the following 4 weeks at the Abisko Scientific Research Station in research co-mentored by UNH-based and ANS-based scientists.
  • 3. Fellows then return to UNH to complete any additional analytical work, synthesize their results, and prepare their projects for presentation.

The Research
The synthesis of many long-term environmental datasets in the Swedish subarctic has clearly demonstrated that climate change and the accompanying environmental changes are accelerating. This interdisciplinary international research experience in Earth Systems Science offers an opportunity to study how climate change affects the biogeochemical processes in northern upland and wetland ecosystems.

The diversity of research at these two institutions offers our next generation of scientists a good foundation in interdisciplinary collaboration and practice in communicating the implications of their research results.

Our goal is to provide an opportunity for students to expand their research capacity in several important areas—development of research questions, data collection techniques, analysis and synthesis of data, and presentation to the scientific community. Although we promote self-direction as an end-goal, the time constraints of the program limit the autonomy that a participant can have. Research topics are constrained by a number of factors including mentor expertise, available instrumentation, and the variability and unpredictability of field site conditions. NERU provides a great opportunity to experience how one's individual research fits into the context of a given lab group and the scientific community as a whole.

The Experience
Four weeks to complete a research project is a short time, therefore the research time in Sweden is busy. NERU participants are expected to work up to 6 days per week in an effort to collect as much data as is possible to address their research questions. The weather can range from 40-75F, rain, wind and mosquitoes. Some field days can be shorter than others but on many occasions participants may assist their other NERU colleagues in their research and also have to wait for periods of time for transportation back to the station. Analytical instrumentation is shared at ANS therefore coordination with other scientists is necessary to ensure that all have access. Not all mentors will be at ANS for the full four weeks of research so participants will need to take advantage of this time and will be co-mentored by other program faculty.

It isn’t all work and no play. During past programs there has also been down time for participants to hike, explore the local eateries and shopping in nearby Kiruna, Sweden and relax by the lake in the sauna. Please see the blogs from the first two years to hear more about the program from the participant’s perspective.

Who is Eligible?
UNH-Abisko Summer Research Internships are open to students who have completed their junior year of college. We require relevant coursework in the Earth Sciences (environmental studies, Earth systems science, atmospheric science, oceanography, ecosystem studies, geology or advanced research in Earth and atmospheric sciences). Participants receive a stipend, travel allowance, and room and board at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) and Abisko Scientific Research Station (ANS). They will also be eligible for support for participation in a scientific meeting in the year following their participation in NERU.

If you are already a University of New Hampshire student, contact Dr. Ruth Varner directly ( directly to learn about an alternate application process.