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Join the Frantz Lab!

Current research students: access the Lab Research Page here (requires password).

Interested in undergraduate research? Check out the project opportunities listed below.

If you see something that fits your interests, skills, and time availability, contact Dr. Frantz at or visit her during her office hours. Note that the fields listed do not need to be your major as long as you have the required skills. All projects involve flexible work hours, and students often work as part of a larger research team with other students doing similar work.

Once you've talked to Dr. Frantz to verify that she is still taking on research students this semester, to apply to do research in the Frantz Lab, first contact Dr. Frantz to verify that she still has room this semester for research students. If yes, fill out the application google form and upload your resume (optional) and current transcript (required). Applications are held in confidence. Students accepting unpaid positions should enroll in GEO 4800 with Dr. Frantz for the appropriate number of credit hours. Research with Dr. Frantz can count as upper-division credit for GEO, MICR, CHEM, and ENVS majors. Projects can be tailored to your interests.

Check out the Office of Undergraduate Research for opportunities for project funding, conferences, and general info about undergraduate research at Weber State University.

Note that all large projects have the potential to become paid projects for students who plan to do multiple semesters of research and write research proposals for funding. Dr. Frantz is happy to help you learn how to develop a competitive proposal; dozens of her students have sucessfully obtained research funding.

Current Opportunities

In order of priority / urgency

No experience needed

These are great projects for students new to research or new to science.


Lab technician

Paid (up to 50 hrs)

Discipline: Any

Task: Help maintain the research lab by cleaning glassware, stocking supplies, and keeping instruments running

Skills: No experience needed—this is a great introduction to a laboratory environment. Must be able to work independently and have good time-management skills.


Antelope Island microbialite and environmental chemistry monitoring

For credit (2 credits), potential for ongoing work and creation of a larger project

Discipline: Environmental Science / Microbiology

Monthly sampling trips to instrument sites off the shore of Antelope Island to download data and take field measurements and samples. Analyze data for seasonal trends.

Skills: No experience needed—this is a great introduction to field-based research and environmental data analysis.


"Living Rock" microbialite aquarium chemical and biological monitoring

For credit (1 cr)

Discipline: Environmental Science

Task: Monitor the "living rocks" and contribute to our understanding of how they form.

Skills: No experience needed—this is a great introduction to research


Microbialite Observatory data analysis

For credit (1 cr)

Discipline: Environmental Science

The Microbialite Observatory has generated piles of data and lots of questions. Help answer one of them!

Skills: No experience needed—this is a great introduction to environmental data analysis.


Aquarium containing microbialites and several instruments with a computer display and two kids looking on

Microbialite "Pet Rock" educational live display

For credit (2 cr)

Discipline: Environmental Science / Education

Task: Help develop an interactive live display on the environmental science of Great Salt Lake for Tracy Hall

Skills: No experience needed, but you should enjoy troubleshooting instruments and designing things.


For more advanced students

These projects will apply your existing skills and knowledge while you learn new skills and techniques and gain research experience. Many of these projects could be turned into senior capstone/thesis projects.

Great Salt Lake Microbialite Observatory live data website development

For credit (1-2 cr)

Discipline: Computer Science

Task: Build a public-facing website to host and display live aquarium and Great Salt Lake data.

Skills: Must have prior experience with web design and programming, including web scraping, API-interfacing, and data visualization.


Who's there when? DNA surveys of Great Salt Lake microbial communities

For credit (1-2 cr), potential to become a larger project

Discipline: Microbiology / Environmental Science

Task: You will learn how to use bioinformatics pipelines to figure out which organisms are present in Great Salt Lake samples and their relationships to environmental parameters.

Skills: MICR 2054 or another introductory biology course where principles of genetics were introduced; MICR 4154, ZOOL 3300, or BTNY 3303 preferred; you should be comfortable learning command-line computing and have strong analytical skills.


Cultivating microbialite microorganisms

For credit (1 cr)

Discipline: Microbiology

Task: Great Salt Lake microbialites are host to a diverse community of microbes, some of which are thought to be responsible for building them. You will develop and prepare enrichment media to isolate and characterize microbialite microbes.

Skills: CHEM 1210; MICR 2054; MICR 3053 preferred; MICR 3753, 3484, and 4054 are all applicable.


Great Salt Lake Map

Great Salt Lake interactive chemistry map

For credit (2-3 credits), potential to become a larger project, could lead to state agency internship opportunities

Discipline: Geography / GIS / Computer Science / Environmental Science

Task: Develop an interactive map showing how Great Salt Lake chemistry has changed over the last several decades.

Skills: GIS experience and/or experience working with large datasets using the Python programming language


Foam on the shore of Great Salt Lake

Great Salt Lake foam precipitates

For credit (2-3 credits), potential to become a larger project

Discipline: Geobiology / Chemistry / Environmental Science

Task: Investigate the mineral precipitates left behind by the foam that occasionally whips up on Great Salt Lake. Is this contributing to microbialite formation?Skills: Mineral identification (Earth Materials coursework preferred, but not required), microscopy


Calcium carbonate precipitation experiments: growing rocks with microbes in the lab

For credit (1-2 cr)

Discipline: Chemistry / Microbiology / Geomicrobiology

Task: Laboratory experiments to characterize the potential influence of Great Salt Lake microbes on carbonate precipitation in Great Salt Lake.

Skills: CHEM 1210, CHEM 1220 (can be taken concurrently), CHEM 3000 (preferred)

Completed projects

Here are some projects past students have completed. * indicates undergraduate student authors

Great Salt Lake microbialite mapping

Discipline: Geography / GIS

Task: Map the visible locations of microbialite reefs in GSL using satellite imagery and compare with wind direction data.

Publication: *L. Wilcock, C. Frantz, M. Vanden Berg. (2024) Use of remote imagery to map microbialite distribution at Great Salt Lake, Utah: Implications for microbialite exposure. Utah Geological Association Guides, 51:05. doi:10.31711/ugap.v51li.136