Women in prairie with wildflowers

Kansas Biological Survey & Center for Ecological Research

Our vision: To lead scientific discovery that fosters broad appreciation of the vital interactions between humans and the environment.

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Research programs and services

People wearing hats working in field

Terrestrial ecosystems

Our group of labs focusing on terrestrial ecosystems research
Two people standing in a stream bed

Aquatic ecosystems

Our group of labs focusing on aquatic ecosystems research
Portion of map of eastern Kansas

Geospatial research

Environmental and ag applications of remote sensing technology, with interactive maps

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Five people on boat on lake

Aquatic assessment

Our group of labs focusing on the health of our region's streams and reservoirs
Meadow flowers with woman in distance

Kansas Natural Heritage Inventory

The Kansas representative for NatureServe, which tracks North American biodiversity
Monarch butterflies on shrub

Monarch Watch

KU's internationally known research, education and monarch butterfly tracking program
Aerial view of greenhouses

The KU Field Station

Founded in 1947, the Field Station has grown to 3,700 acres across three sites and is open to researchers everywhere. Just 20 minutes from main campus, our 1,800-acre core research area is open to the entire KU community for study in any subject.

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Wildflowers in meadow

2021 Annual Report

Our resilient research community began to meet again, with more creative ways to connect, a higher proposal success rate, and an increase in funding for new awards. Through our report, we share statistics, stories and photos.

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Research highlights

We're a busy and diverse group of 24 faculty scientists, research faculty and other researchers serving as principal investigators in ongoing grant-funded projects—along with eight postdoctoral researchers, 20 research staff and KU Field Station staff members, three Monarch Watch staff members, an administrative staff of four, and about 40 students working in our labs each semester.
That's the average number of sponsored research projects conducted by our scientists each year. The National Science Foundation is consistently our largest grantor. State funding is used to study many issues related to water quality and quantity, as well as mapping and quantifying habitats across Kansas. Other notable funding sources are industry and nonprofit foundations.
That's the total acreage of the KU Field Station across three sites here in the prairie-forest ecotone. Our core research and operations area contains diverse natural and managed habitats and a wealth of centralized research facilities and support. It's also a research and teaching resource for the entire KU community across the sciences, arts, humanities and professional schools.
That's the average number of peer-reviewed publications we produce each year. Postdoctoral researchers and graduate students are involved in much of the research reported in these publications. In addition, we have published a total of more than 200 Kansas Biological Survey reports on research of interest to the state of Kansas, and we give many interviews to local and national media.


Student working in plant research plot

The research center has awarded $12,000 in funding this spring for student research to be conducted in 2022.

Group of people at forest edge setting

This photo feature in the Lawrence Journal-World showcases images from longtime Lawrence photographer Mike Yoder, taken during a guided tour through the Reserve, which is part of the KU Field Station.

Sharon Billings at work in forest

Billings is known nationally and internationally for working across disciplines to understand how whole systems — terrestrial ecosystems in a diversity of biomes — function and respond to environmental change.