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Department of Biology
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Facilities and Affiliated Units

Research and Field Studies Center

The UMD Research and Field Studies Center is a 114 acre site located along Amity Creek approximately four miles from campus on Jean Duluth Road. The Research and Field Studies Center is considered an educational and research-centered resource that also provides space to support other UMD campus activities.

The Research and Field Studies Center had its beginnings in 1912 as one of six University of Minnesota Agricultural Experimental Stations across Minnesota, administration of which was headquartered on the University of Minnesota's St. Paul campus. The Northeast Experimental Station, as it was called initially, remained active in applied agricultural research, education, and technology transfer through 1966, and some activities continued into the mid 1970's. As the focus on "productivist" conventional agriculture intensified within the U.S. and land grant universities, the "red drift" region in which the UMD Research and Field Studies Center lies was deemed superfluous to this project and was closed in 1976. The administration and ownership of the property then devolved to the University of Minnesota Duluth. The five primary objectives of the Research and Field Studies Center are:

  • Conduct research on natural ecosystems, plant and animal populations, and individual species in a changing landscape.
  • Provide field-based educational activities in the form of academic classes, informal workshops, and training programs.
  • Develop, manage, and maintain an experimental venue to educate students, the University community, and the region on sustainable agriculture.
  • Communicate to the public and engage the campus community in scientific study through involvement with researcher shared expertise and results.
  • Facilitate interaction between a variety of disciplines related to the environmental management, education, and sustainable agriculture at UMD.


Currently four Department of Biology faculty are actively using this facility for their research:

  • Dr. Tim Craig is examining coevolution between solidago, gall forming insects, and their parasitoids in relation to climate and provenance.
  • Dr. Julie Etterson is conducting artificial selection for earlier flowering under drought in experimental populations of diploids and higher ploidy levels of a native goldenrod, Solidago altissima.
  • Dr. Al Mensinger is researching acoustical signaling and reception in the round goby.
  • Dr. John Pastor is examining how wild rice population cycles could be caused by delays in release of growth limiting nutrients, especially that of nitrogen, from decaying litter.


For more information, please visit the Farm website.








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