This spring, VCU Biology Professor Rodney Dyer taught a Landscape Genetics Seminar to VCU graduate students. The course, sponsored by the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS), was offered simultaneously in eight universities
This model, called a Distributed Graduate Seminar, offers students the experience of collaborative research and training in techniques and tools to acquire, manage adn synthesize multi-scale data. It also provides students an awareness of the importance and availability of shared data, and to understand the role of ecological synthesis in discovery.
In a NCEAS supported Distributed Graduate Seminar, a Principal Investigator proposes a research question with data needs too large for one group to tackle independently. Faculty members at participating universities conduct seminars to address the question. Graduate students use previously existing local or regional data and learn to assemble, synthesize, and analyze the data using ecoinformatics tools.
At the end of the seminar, faculty leaders and two students from each university travel to NCEAS in Santa Barbara, CA, and participate in a cross-site analysis and synthesis, comparing patterns and research from the various locations.
Two students were chosen from the Landscape Genetics Seminar to travel to the NCEAS for the week-long conference with colleagues from across the world.