Understanding our environment

Facilities

Research ponds at the Field Station.

Field Station Research and Operations Center
This central site includes laboratories and classrooms, gardening areas, a workshop and support buildings, experimental ponds and visitor cabins. These facilities offer high-speed internet connectivity via fiber-optic cable, and they support research and teaching on the surrounding lands.

Armitage Education Center
The center provides a venue for courses, workshops, lectures and special events. A 600-square-foot classroom/lecture hall (adjustable configuration seats 35 to 50 people) with adjacent gathering area and kitchen facilities accommodates a variety of events. The Armitage Center may be reserved by KU, community, regional and visiting groups for meetings and retreats.

Classrooms
In addition to the lecture hall, two dedicated classrooms also are available for courses, workshops and special events.

Laboratories
Five laboratory rooms are available: Two accommodate wet chemistry (with fume hoods and chemical benches), and the remainder are general-purpose workrooms. Specialized facilities include a small animal care/holding unit and a specially designed 1200-square-foot laboratory for aquatic research with a flow-through water supply from the experimental pond facility.

Cabins
Small sleeping cabins are available to visiting researchers. Kitchen, shower and laundry facilities are provided in the nearby laboratory complex.

Greenhouse complex
This facility, completed in 2013 with funding from the National Science Foundation, enables scientists to do research that bridges the gap between small-scale laboratory studies and studies in natural settings. It includes:

  • a 2,160-square-foot greenhouse used for controlled-environment experiments;
  • a 432-square-foot all-season greenhouse;
  • a 1,200-square-foot multipurpose building;
  • a fenced research garden near the structures.

NEON monitoring tower (National Ecological Observatory Network)
The KU Field Station is one of 60 key sites that make up the National Science Foundation’s National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON), established for monitoring environmental change. The Field Station is one of three sites in NEON's Prairie Peninsula Domain; Konza Prairie, a site managed by Kansas State University, about 90 minutes away, is the core site for the Prairie Peninsula Domain. A relocatable tower, equipped with various sensors for environmental monitoring, will be installed at the Field Station, and the data from this site, and all NEON sites, will be freely available to users. For more on NEON, visit http://www.neoninc.org/.

Lath house and plant-care facilities
A 600-square-foot lath house, completely covered with 0.5-in. mesh screen, supports plant research and provides a protected location for other kinds of research.

Gardening areas
Ample irrigated "gardening" areas at the main campus facilitate diverse experiments.

Workshop and staging
A well-equipped, 1,800-square-foot maintenance shop is available for researchers to build, modify and repair field equipment. Two barns (total 5,000 square feet) provide enclosed space for assembling components of field projects such as equipment, cages and other test systems.

Equipment
Equipment housed at the Field Station—tractors, mowers, loaders, water haulers, off-road vehicles, fire rigs—is used to implement and maintain research projects.

Land for experimental manipulation
Large parcels of land for experimental manipulation are a strong feature of the KU Field Station. A variety of habitats are available to scientists.

Weather station
A new weather station provides comprehensive data in support of research.

Experimental ponds
The pond array has 100 ponds total (including 75 cells of 0.1 hectare each) and several specially constructed components. The design facilitates incorporating new research capabilities such as experimental streams or land-water interface systems.

Mesocosm tanks
Eighty mesocosms (10m3 fiberglass tanks) provide research in highly controlled field settings.

Frank B. Cross Reservoir
This 3-hectare, 13-meter-deep impoundment, within a protected watershed, has unusually high water clarity for the region and undergoes strong thermal stratification.

Geohydrology Environmental Monitoring Site (GEMS)
Developed by scientists at the Kansas Geological Survey, this facility is dedicated to developing methods for evaluating and modeling aquifers; it also supports course and workshop offerings.

Habitat fragmentation facility
This facility was established in 1984 to study the interplay of secondary succession and habitat fragmentation on population and community dynamics. "Islands" of three sizes (72, 288, and 5000 m2) are maintained by mowing the interstitial area.

Rockefeller Prairie Experimental Tract
This prairie restoration was initiated in 1957 when fields were sown to a mixture of four prairie grasses. In 1962, tracts were assigned to one of four treatments: burning, mowing, grazing or no treatment. This is one of the longest-running restorations in the region. [Click here for two relevant publications.]

Fitch Natural History Reservation
This 239-hectare former farm was abandoned from agriculture in 1948. Secondary succession on former pastures, corn fields and woodlands has proceeded undisturbed for more than 60 years. The site is particularly well-suited for studies of land use history.

Nature trails
An 8 km (5 mile) series of nature trails has been developed to facilitate teaching and to provide educational opportunities for the public.

 


Events