Rubenstein School PhD student Marina Golivets received a prestigious scholarship this summer. She will attend the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Summer School in Leipzig, Germany, September 3-15, for a program on synthesizing and modeling biodiversity data. The iDiv scholarship fully covers her travel to Leipzig and accommodations during the summer school. 

In the Rubenstein School of Environmental and Natural Resources at the University of Vermont, Golivets works with her advisor, Research Associate Professor Kimberly Wallin, to study competitive strategies of non-native plant species. Her ecological research methods and experience qualified her for a spot in the iDiv program. 

With 20 other iDiv students, Golivets will gain practical skills in conducting synthesis of biodiversity data. The program combines preparatory work, methods training, lectures, hands-on collaboration on a research project, and interaction with more than a dozen iDiv scientists. 

Golivets and five other participants will engage in one of seven proposed group projects. Their project, “Primary data analysis vs. meta-analysis of summary statistics – hidden biases caused by methodological differences,” will explore how different statistical methods affect results of ecological data syntheses. They will apply a variety of data analysis tools and use forest inventory data to study the effect of species richness on standing biomass. 

“This project is going to be the first attempt to explore and compare the potential of different types of data analysis commonly used in ecology to affect the inferences we make about a single ecological process,” said Golivets, who will work with her project team towards a group publication in a peer-reviewed journal. 

“Attending the school is extremely important for my doctoral dissertation and my future career as a researcher because I will be able to learn new statistical methods and improve my analytic skills,” said Golivets. She will use her sharpened meta-analysis skills to test whether the ability to suppress or the ability to tolerate neighbors is more important for competitive dominance by non-native invasive plants. 

“I am so excited for and proud of Marina for receiving this internationally competitive scholarship,” said Wallin, Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Programs in the Rubenstein School. “Her award greatly reflects the quality of our graduate students in the School.”



Shari Halik