Apple snails threaten our ecosystem, including taro. ; Photo courtesy

UH receives grant for invasive snail study

MANOA — The National Science Foundation’s International Research Experiences for Students (IRES) program has awarded a $149,952 grant to Drs. Kenneth Hayes and Robert Cowie of UH Mānoa’s Center for Conservation Research, and a group of other international researchers.

The IRES program gives undergraduate and graduate students from U.S. institutions the opportunity to carry out international research projects in host countries with the goal of educating a globally engaged science workforce. Under the direction of Hayes and Burks, this IRES award will support 15 undergraduate students and one graduate student to conduct collaborative research in Brazil and Uruguay for three years.

The goal of the project is to develop a research-training model using a group of aquatic snails commonly called apple snails. These snails are native to Uruguay and Brazil, but are invasive in Hawaii, Texas and other locations throughout the world where they are an environmental and agricultural pest.

Using the snails as a focal system and integration across disciplines, students will develop independent research projects collaboratively with established experts from museums, government research agencies, research universities and undergraduate institutions. These training experiences will ensure that students are prepared to enter the world of international scientific research and education, and that the U.S. remains a leader in science and technology.

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