A very brief history

Group of people on Kaw Valley overlook deck with Mount Oread in distance

The work of the Kansas Biological Survey & Center for Ecological Research is grounded in its historic studies of state flora and fauna dating back to 1866. The University of Kansas and the Board of Regents created the Kansas Biological Survey formally in 1911, and the State of Kansas recognized the Survey as a state research agency in 1959, defining its responsibility to “gather, interpret and distribute information on the state’s plants and animals.”

Today, this is a University designated research center housing programs and labs focused on natural systems. Scientists study prairie plant communities, pollinator habitat, reservoir and watershed health, land use, ecosystems, global change biology and more. We embrace an expanded purpose that’s true to our roots and focused on the long term:

  • to promote a scientific research-based understanding of natural systems and the effects of human interactions with them;
  • to serve as an educational and information resource for the University, the KU and area communities, the state and the nation;
  • to encourage and provide a setting for multidisciplinary research.

Our research center assumed management of the University of Kansas Field Station in 1999 and has added a public trail system and extensive research facilities. Our name changed in 2019 to better reflect our research mission.