Campus Address

(September — April)

2541 Chemistry Building
930 North University Avenue
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1005

Phone: (734) 763-4461
Fax: (734) 647-1952



Douglas Lake Address

(May — August)

9133 Biological Road
Pellston, MI 49769-9133

Phone: (231) 539-8408
Fax: (231) 539-8785

The U-M Biological Station Coursework and Community

The University of Michigan Biological Station (UMBS), founded in 1909, is one of the world’s finest inland field stations for education and research in biological and environmental sciences. Surrounded by coniferous and deciduous forests, the Biological Station occupies a 10,000-acre tract between Burt and Douglas Lakes in lower Northern Michigan. Located in the transition zone between coniferous forests to the north and deciduous forests to the south, it is surrounded by a remarkable variety of natural communities. It is an ideal setting for studying topics related to the natural environment.

The UMBS curriculum focuses on ecology, systematics, field biology, and environmental studies, and courses are taught during Spring and Summer half terms. Two courses of college biology are typically re-quired for admission to UMBS courses, all of which are either upper level or graduate level. The station serves as a tight-knit community, where students, faculty, and researchers interact on a daily basis in classrooms, laboratories, at meal tables, and at various recreational activities. Many past participants call their time living and studying at the Biological Station a truly magical and life-changing experience.

The Biological Station offers students and faculty an opportunity to study together the biota of the regions with a full appreciation of the dynamics of the natural systems involved. The small community of students, faculty, and scientists shares knowledge during meal and recreation times as well as in the classroom, field, and laboratory..

Formal coursework is offered in both a four-week spring term and an eight-week summer term. Classes are taught by the Station’s dedicated faculty, who concurrently carry out their own research projects. Enrolled students typically earn 5 credits in the spring and 10 credits in the summer, taking courses in all aspects of field biology such as limnology, entomology, parasitology, mammalogy, general ecology, evolution, ornithology, phycology, ichthyology, and terrestrial and aquatic sciences. Each formal course occupies the entire days assigned to it. Field work is supported by modern equipment, vehicles, boats, laboratories, and a fine library. Field work is sup-ported by modern equipment, vehicles, boats, laboratories, and a library. There are typically about 150 students per season in these courses.

Be sure to request the most recent copy of the UMBS Bulletin for a complete list of courses. Meanwhile, please see below for an example of some of the courses typically offered at the station.


  • EEB 330 Biology of Birds
  • EEB 381 General Ecology
  • EEB 455 Ethnobotany


  • BIOLOGY 482 Limnology: Freshwater Ecology
  • EEB 320 or ENVIRON 311 Rivers, Lakes, & Wetlands
  • EEB 348 or ENVIRON 348 Forest Ecosystems
  • EEB 381 General Ecology
  • EEB 390 Natural History & Evolution
  • EEB 400 Advanced Research in Biology (1-3 credits)
  • EEB 431 Biology of Animal Parasites (even years)
  • EEB 442 Biology of Insects
  • EEB 453 Field Mammalogy (even years)
  • EEB 457 Algae in Freshwater Ecosystems (even years)
  • EEB 486 Biology and Ecology of Fishes (odd years)
  • EEB 492 Behavioral Ecology (odd years)
  • EEB 556 Field Botany of Northern Michigan
  • EEB 700 Advanced Studies in Biology (1-3 credits)
  • ENGLISH 317 & 325 or ENVIRON 377 & 302 Environmental Writing & Great Lakes Literature
  • ENVIRON 370 / ARCH 423 / UP 423 Introduction to Urban and Environmental Planning

Majors in Biology or General Biology

It is recommended that students with majors in Biology or General Biology give serious consideration to spending a summer at a field station, especially the University of Michigan Biological Station. The training and experience provided are particularly valuable for students interested in ecology, systematics, animal behavior, and evolutionary biology and are especially relevant to the EEB major..

Many courses offered at the Biological Station can be used as part of a plan for the major in Biology or Plant Biology with approval from a department advisor.

Research Programs for Students

In addition to regular courses, the Biological Station offers a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program. The REU program is an intensive nine-week program designed to provide hands-on experience and training in field biology and atmospheric science with all phases of research, including hypotheses formulation, data gathering, analysis, interpretation, and communication of scientific studies. Students receive a stipend.

Specialized Research Facilities

Specialized research facilities include a greenhouse and elevated carbon dioxide facility (open top chamber arrays for studying the responses of multiple trophic levels of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems to elevated atmospheric CO2), a soil biotron (a building built into the soil with 34 windows on the soil profile), an artificial stream facility on the east branch of the Maple River (water can be pumped out of the river to a concrete pad and distributed into small artificial streams in many ways), and stations for precipitation chemistry (NADP), ultraviolet monitoring (USDA UV-B), and mercury deposition.

A 31m tower was constructed in 1996 to study the atmospheric chemical and meteorological processes linked to tropospheric ozone and oxidant formation. Similarly in 1998 a 50m eddy flux tower was completed to study the movement of carbon dioxide and water in a forested ecosystem with continuous measurements of CO2 and many environmental parameters. Specimen collections are available to researchers and are especially extensive in birds, fishes, insects, invertebrates and parasites, vascular plants, mosses and lichens.

Scholarships & Financial Assistance

The UM Biological Station offers a wide range of scholarships and tuition support options to help qualified students who may need financial assistance. These include both merit-based and need-based awards.

We are committed to helping to make sure that students wanting to study at the station have an opportunity to do so. Please visit the UMBS website to learn about financial support options, or call the office at (734) 763-4461.

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