The University of Michigan Biological Station (UMBS) was founded in 1909. UMBS students and faculty have been studying environmental change since day one.
UMBS was established on land acquired from lumber barons after virtually all the trees had been cleared. Student and faculty researchers studied the biota of a landscape ravaged by catastrophic logging and subsequent fires, allowing them to learn first-hand how land exploitation impacted the natural environment.
The station's 10,000-acre property has since been reforested via natural processes. But new environmental challenges have emerged, climate change and invasive species foremost among them. Fortunately, dedicated student and faculty researchers continue to roll up their scientific sleeves at the station, and they do so with an increasingly interdisciplinary approach. Natural historians collaborate with microbiologists, ecologists with climatologists, geologists with atmospheric scientists. These cross-disciplinary interactions – strengths of UMBS – foster a greater understanding of the natural world.
Today, UMBS students engage in and learn about biology and environmental science by studying directly in the field and by developing relationships with some of the world’s most respected experts. UMBS is a highly interactive community where students, faculty and researchers come together to learn about the natural world, to examine environmental change, and to seek solutions to the critical environmental challenges of our times.
International Biosphere Reserve
In recognition of its long and robust scientific research history, UMBS has been recognized by UNESCO as an international biosphere reserve since 1979.
There are 47 Biosphere Reserves, also known as the Man and the Biosphere Program, in the United States. Follow this link to the UNESCO website for a list of all the Biosphere Reserves in the U.S.
UMBS' MAB designation is currently under review.
Colonial Point Land Acknowledgement
The University of Michigan Biological Station, similar to the entire state of Michigan, exists on lands once occupied by indigenous peoples. We respectfully acknowledge the original inhabitants and the descendants of the land we now manage for purposes of preservation, research, and education.
As part of our responsibility to the original inhabitants of this land and our current neighbors, we are working to raise awareness regarding the tragic and unjust burnout of the Burt Lake Village, the ancestral home of the Burt Lake Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, by the Cheboygan County sheriff and a land speculator in 1900. University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel established a committee in 2018 to investigate the burnout and make recommendations for actions that would acknowledge this history and incorporate lessons learned from this event into our education, research, and outreach missions. Although the burnout preceded the establishment of the Biological Station, we now manage a parcel of forested land known as Colonial Point near the site of this tragic event. We strive to incorporate both the natural and cultural histories of this land into our Biological Station-based course content and our public outreach activities.
For more information, please review the following documents: