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Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

Awardee:SWARTHMORE COLLEGE
Doing Business As Name:Swarthmore College
PD/PI:
  • Carolyn M Bauer
  • (516) 877-4153
  • cbauer@adelphi.edu
Award Date:04/16/2021
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 136,611
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 136,611
  • FY 2019=$136,611
Start Date:04/15/2021
End Date:03/31/2023
Transaction Type:Grant
Agency:NSF
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.079
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:Collaborative Research: IRES Track I: Stronger Together: Exploring How Communal Care Reduces Individual Costs During Challenging Years
Federal Award ID Number:2122413
DUNS ID:073755381
Program:IRES Track I: IRES Sites (IS)
Program Officer:
  • Maija Kukla
  • (703) 292-4940
  • mkukla@nsf.gov

Awardee Location

Street:500 COLLEGE AVE
City:Swarthmore
State:PA
ZIP:19081-1390
County:Swarthmore
Country:US
Awardee Cong. District:05

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:Swarthmore College
Street:500 College Avenue
City:Swarthmore
State:PA
ZIP:19081-1390
County:Swarthmore
Country:US
Cong. District:05

Abstract at Time of Award

This IRES award provides 6 undergraduate and 9 graduate students from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and Adelphi University (N.Y.) with international research experience in Chile. Students will engage in 12 months of collaboration with researchers from four academic institutions in Santiago, Chile. The scientific aim of the work is to identify physiological mechanisms whereby communal care of offspring can enhance reproductive success under harsh ecological conditions in the degu (Octodon degus), a social rodent found only in Chile. The students will design their own experiments and contribute to a field study to determine how communal care mitigates the physiological costs of low food availability on breeding females and their young. Students will use modern statistical methods to analyze a long-term dataset on degu social living, stress physiology, and reproductive success. Student-led research will lead to progress in our understanding of how the environment can shape the consequences of communal care of young and thus, will have broad application to conservation biology and human health. The program builds on an ongoing IRES program in Chile and features an unique "generational" advising structure that promotes collaborations within and between current and previous IRES cohorts. An important broader impact of the program is to promote international collaboration, STEM education for middle and high school students, and public outreach about the health benefits of community engagement in child care. In preparation for their international experiences, IRES students will write summaries about the way charismatic social animals live. These writings will become part of educational activities developed by University of Tennessee at Chattanooga STEM Education and Health and Human Performance graduate students. Educational activities on communal care and healthy lifestyles will be tested with middle and high school students participating in three University of Tennessee at Chattanooga outreach programs (GEAR UP, Upward Bound, Upward Bound Math & Science). Activities will be made available online to the general public. Co-PI Bauer will write posts for several social media platforms about how the stress of parenting can be mitigated through family help, societal assistance, and cultural support. The scientific objective of this IRES is to determine how ecology shapes the reproductive consequences of communal breeding, a social strategy in which multiple mothers nurse offspring communally. The overarching experiment is a manipulative field study to determine how low food abundance influences the endocrine and oxidative stress of communally breeding Octodon degus, a social rodent endemic to Chile. Students will conduct independent projects within the framework of this study and will also analyze a long-term dataset. This program supports 5-6 students per year (2 undergrad, 3-4 graduate; 15 individuals over a three-year period). Students will engage in year-long collaborations with one or more of the PIs? four collaborators at four academic institutions in Santiago, Chile. Students interested in studying how social interactions impact stress physiology will collaborate with an expert on social networks and former IRES student at the Universit? de Sherbrooke, Canada. Prior to IRES, international collaborators will provide feedback on project designs and grant proposals. IRES will last 8-10 weeks (June-August) for undergraduate students and 18-20 weeks (June-October) for graduate students. Post-IRES, international collaborators will provide feedback on analyses, presentations, and manuscripts, thereby increasing the likelihood of student productivity and success. Program outcomes, student perceptions of the program and science, and student progression in STEM will be assessed annually during and up to 3 years beyond the proposed program. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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