Field Connections

Encouraging a sense of place

Through exhibits, field trips and classroom experiences, we invite students and faculty to develop a deeper understanding of the connections between natural and human systems by exploring the local ecosystem in and around Narragansett Bay. Field work enables us to recognize our own place in the natural world — both close to home and globally — and develop an awareness and appreciation of biodiversity at multiple scales.

SURF Program

Students selected for the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellows (SURF) program engage in targeted research projects funded by a National Science Foundation grant from the RI Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR). Recent projects have revolved around imaging, photographing and representing living marine plankton from Narragansett Bay, with a focus on creating inspiring and informative visual narratives that increase public awareness of marine conservation issues. The 2018 project focused specifically on "designing a visual platform for exploring climate change impacts in coastal plant communities."

Field Collecting

Selected field equipment is available for use by individual students and classes interested in exploring the local environment and sampling the physical characteristics and biological diversity of a particular site. Staff members run labs and support faculty as a means of offering hands-on experiences aligned with a specific class syllabus.

Native Marine Life Aquaria

The two 150-gallon saltwater aquaria and one 65-gallon reef aquarium in our Wet Lab house a living collection of vertebrate and invertebrate animals collected from Narragansett Bay. Complementing the work done in the nine studio courses sponsored by NSF’s Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), teams of students and staff are conducting studies on Narragansett Bay plankton, the propagation of marine organisms and the visualization of data.

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The RISD Nature Lab is an EPSCoR|C-AIM Core Research Facility supported by the National Science Foundation under Cooperative Agreement #OIA-1655221 and EAGER Grant Award #1723559. ​​​Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed on this site are those of the Nature Lab and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.​

© 2024 Edna W. Lawrence Nature Lab at Rhode Island School of Design