Who we are


Researcher in field with tape measure, big sky, sunflower

East to west across Kansas, the landscape shifts dramatically — from forested bluffs to Flint Hills prairie to open plains — following a gradient of changing rainfall and temperature averages. Along the way, the evidence of human reliance on natural resources is clear: fertile fields, ponds and reservoirs, richly blooming tallgrass prairies, wind farms, and sun-soaked rangelands dotted with grazers.

At the Kansas Biological Survey & Center for Ecological Research, we study ecological systems, both terrestrial and aquatic, in the Great Plains and beyond — including the effects of human use. We gather data on the ground and from satellite information systems.

In collaboration with partners across KU, throughout the region and around the world, we collect, interpret and present scientific research-based information to peers and to planners and policy makers whose decisions affect us all.

We are biologists, ecologists, geographers, geologists, mathematicians, engineers and geographic information systems specialists working within a diverse and synergistic group of programs.

We also manage the 3,700-acre KU Field Station, where researchers and students explore the changing landscape through study not only in the natural sciences but also in the arts, humanities and social sciences.

Together, we seek to understand our environment.