The impact of climate change on plant-pollinator interactions

This International Research Experiences for Students (IRES) program will provide undergraduate students with an eight-week international research experience working with mentors from Penn State and Universidad Militar Nueva Granada in Colombia. Projects will focus on studying how environmental factors impact plant-pollinator interactions in mountain ecosystems. Students will participate in interdisciplinary research guided by mentors representing entomology, ecology, engineering, and climate science. Students will receive $4,500 for their participation in the program from June 9th to August 6th 2023.


Mentors participating in this program include faculty from Penn State University (USA) and Universidad Militar Nueva Granada (Colombia):

    • Margarita López-Uribe (PSU – Molecular Ecology and Pollinator Biology)
    • José D. Fuentes (PSU – Atmospheric Sciences)
    • Julio Urbina (PSU – Remote Sensing)
    • Luis Duque (PSU – Crop Physiology)
    • Alfonso Mejía (PSU – Ecohydrology)
    • Marlene Lucía Aguilar (UMNG – Pollination Biology)
    • María Mercedes Perez Trujillo (UMNG – Horticulture)
    • Nelsy Pinto (UMNG – Ecophysiology)

Research topics include:

  • Assessing the role of phylogenetic history in variation in thermal breadth across pollinating insects
  • Understanding mechanistic effects of abiotic stressors on crop-pollinator interactions in controlled and field conditions
  • Characterizing variation in pollinator thermal tolerance across altitudinal ranges in tropical ecosystems
  • Other projects may be developed depending on student’s interests

Projects suitable for students majoring in:

  • Biology (or related fields)
  • Ecology
  • Entomology
  • Horticulture
  • Climate science


  • Enrollment in an undergraduate program (preference to juniors and seniors) in the United States.
  • Courses in biology and calculus. Knowledge of computer programming is desirable but not necessary.
  • Fluency in Spanish is not required but desirable.
  • Applicants must be available to travel internationally from June 11th to August 5th 2023 (Note: the first days of the program will be held virtual).
  • Flexbility to share living accomodations with other students.
  • Some projects will require fieldwork at remote sites with inherent hazards, can be
    physically challenging, and may require specialized equipment with risks.
  • Safety concerns in the field may vary among individuals based on gender, age, fitness levels, and experience. Instructors guarantee an inclusive environment and safe environment.

Applications are due on February 15th, 2023

Applicants must submit:

1. Resume or CV

2. A statement detailing relevant academic/professional experiences and interest in this program.

3. Official transcripts.

4. Names of 2 reference letter writers.


Please submit your application here.

Inquiries about the program or the application process can be submitted to Dr. Margarita M. López-Uribe (Email:


This NSF-funded IRES program (OISE-1952470) is administered by the Department of Entomology, Penn State University.

Check these additional links if you would like to learn more about the results of our 2022 IRES program in Colombia, check out this video:


Some photos of the research experiences in Colombia in 2022


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