Graduate Study

With field sites in a variety of terrestrial and aquatic habitats and a highly interactive group of staff scientists, the Cary Institute offers potential graduate students a range of research options to choose from.

Our scientists are actively investigating a variety of ecosystems, including deserts in the Middle East, experimental lakes in upper Michigan, urban environments in Baltimore, Maryland, and experimental watersheds in New Hampshire.

Linking population and community-level questions with ecosystem-level studies unifies Institute research efforts. Staff interests include biogeochemistry, microbial ecology, nutrient cycling, behavioral ecology, physiological ecology, and vegetation dynamics. A number of research programs, such as forest response to multiple stressors and the effects of mammals on forest dynamics, are collaborative in nature. Long-term studies include the Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Study, Hudson River research, and the Buell-Small study of old-field succession.

Our graduate students may attend one of several universities through formal and informal arrangements. Students generally take courses on campus during their first year and conduct research at various field sites in subsequent years. Recent graduate students have received doctoral degrees from the University of Connecticut, Cornell University, Syracuse University and Rutgers University.

Our scientists have also collaborated with students from Fordham University; SUNY-Albany, Bard College; Boston University; SUNY College of Environmental Sciences and Forestry, Syracuse University; University of New Hampshire; Imperial College in Britain; Ben Gurion University in Israel; and the University of Chile in Santiago, Chile.

Research Facilities

The 3,077 square meter (33,000 square foot) Plant Science Building and Gene E. Likens Laboratory house state-of-the-art laboratories for the analysis of organic and inorganic materials. An 8000-volume scientific reference library offers 250 journals and access to the Bibliographic Research Service (BRS) database. An auditorium with modern telecommunications capability seats 150 for conferences, seminars, and lectures. Computer facilities, an herbarium, a darkroom, and graphics and drafting facilities are available.

Facilities located elsewhere on the campus offer additional support for ecological studies. A field laboratory provides space for live animal observation and sample analysis. Stream flow, temperature and water chemistry are measured by in situ instrumentation, and a Class A Weather Station and an air pollution monitoring station provide air quality data.

Financial Support

Our scientists and university faculty obtain financial aid for students from a variety of sources. Students on a university campus are generally supported by teaching or research assistantships or fellowships. Students are usually supported by research grants while in residence here.

The Area

The Village of Millbrook, approximately 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from the campus, and the Town of Poughkeepsie, approximately 21 kilometers (13 miles) to the west, provide places to shop and enjoy local activities. Stewart International Airport in Newburgh, N.Y. is less than an hour's drive from Millbrook. There is Metro North train service between Poughkeepsie and New York City and Wassaic/Dover Plains and New York, and Amtrak service between Poughkeepsie and points north and south. The campus is within 2 hour's driving time of Berkshire and Catskill Mountain recreation areas.

For further information, please send a letter of introduction and resume to:

Graduate Program Coordinator
Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies
PO Box AB
Millbrook, NY 12545

Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies | Millbrook, New York 12545 | Tel (845) 677-5343

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