Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve

Scientist Tali Lee takes measurements of plant response to CO2 with student intern Ann Karpinski.

Key Research Findings:

Neighborhoods across biophysically different regions have similar patterns of development leading to ecological homogenization of basic neighborhood structure and residential yards more ecologically similar to yards across the nation than to their respective nearby natural areas.
Cedar Creek research demonstrates that anticipated atmospheric CO2 levels predicted for 2075 will increase plant growth and carbon sequestration in grasslands in fertile areas, but only weakly in arid ecosystems with low nitrogen. These results suggest that ultimately atmospheric CO2 levels will rise faster than predicted by leading models.
Cedar Creek scientists discovered that the number of plant species in an ecosystem – its biodiversity – has a profound effect on ecosystem function.


Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve (CCESR), established in 1942, was designated a National Natural Landmark by the National Park Service in 1975. In 1977 it was included as an Experimental Ecology Reserve in a proposed national network, and in 1982 it was one of 11 sites in the United States selected by the National Science Foundation for funding of Long Term Ecological Research (LTER).

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Early History of Cedar Creek - Background Events and Early Use and Development (1929-1947) Excerpted from Hodson, A.C., 1985. History of the Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve. University of Minnesota Field Biology Program Occasional Papers Number 2.

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Research Topics:

Successional dynamics; primary productivity and disturbance patterns; nutrient budgets and cycles; climatic variation and the wetland/upland boundary; plant-herbivore dynamics.

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