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Student researchers observe the lake from the crest of a dune. First-Year Research in Earth Sciences (FYRES): Dunes

FYRES: Dunes has opportunities for first-year and upper-level students to learn by participating in dune research within the dynamic setting of Lake Michigan's coastal dunes.

The FYRES course has up to 24 spots for first-year students interested in hands-on science. Students will use cutting-edge methods and equipment to investigate current questions about the dunes. Student discoveries will inform the activities of dune managers and scientists, and contribute to public outreach efforts.

The course is supported by six FYRES student research mentors working with professor and dune researcher Deanna van Dijk. The upper-level geography, geology and environmental studies majors will mentor the first-year students through their research training and team research projects. Student mentors will gain research, teaching and leadership experience, and the excitement of sharing scientific discovery with the students taking the FYRES course.

Learn more about:

The FYRES student experience

The application process for students

The FYRES Mentor experience

FYRES people: students, mentors, faculty

FYRES research projects and results

This website is based on work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant #0942344 and a grant from the Michigan Space Grant Consortium. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed on this website are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.


Interested for Fall 2016? Check out the application page.

November: FYRES research teams are analyzing data and preparing for end-of-semester presentations. You are invited to join us for the final presentations on Thursday, December 10, 2015 from 1:45–3:00 p.m. in North Hall 078.

October: After learning research methods and experiencing different dune settings, FYRES students are now beginning their team research projects.

September: FYRES has begun its fifth run with 22 students, 6 FYRES Research Mentors, a FYRES coordinator, and the instructor, Professor Deanna van Dijk.

June: Completed research reports from FYRES 2014-2015 are available on the FYRES Research pages.

April: The Michigan Space Grant Consortium awards a third Public Outreach grant to the FYRES project.

Land Conservancy of West Michigan published a blog post written by FYRES Mentor Katy Gerber about Castle Park.

Students reflect on their FYRES experience in 2014.

More FYRES News & Stories

For more information about the FYRES project, contact Deanna van Dijk at