Research and Field Studies Center

Biology Department


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Student photographing plants

Research and Field Studies Center (The Farm)

The UMD Research and Field Studies Center is a 114 acre site located along Amity Creek on Jean Duluth Road. The Research and Field Studies Center is considered an educational and research-centered resource and also supports other UMD campus activities.

The Research and Field Studies Center had its beginnings as one of six University of Minnesota Agricultural Experimental Stations across Minnesota. The Northeast Experimental Station, as it was called initially, remained active in applied agricultural research, education, and technology transfer through 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 fell to UMD.

The five 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.

Farm Focus

Biology faculty that use the farm 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 and her graduate students are testing climate adaptation of forest understory species that have been collected locally and from one MN DNR seed zone further south. We are testing these plants under rain-out shelters and elevated temperature chambers so that we can compare plant vigor under current climate conditions and those that mimic expected climate conditions in the future.

  • Dr. Al Mensinger is researching acoustical signaling and reception in the round goby.

  • Dr. Briana L. Gross is collaborating with Dr. Kenneth Olsen (Washington University in St. Louis) to examine the genetics of local adaptation in a perennial plant (white clover). She is also working with Dr. Julie Etterson to understand contemporary evolution in sunflowers by comparing modern populations to populations that were collected over 35 years ago.
  • Dr. John Pastor is researching how sulfate and sulfide loadings affect sediment chemistry and wild rice growth and seed production.

For more information, please visit the Farm website.