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.
An ongoing experiment now in its third decade at Cedar Creek has shown that even very low levels of nitrogen fertilization can reduce plant diversity.
Experimental studies by Cedar Creek scientists revealed that high-diversity mixtures of perennial prairie plants grown on nutrient-poor lands with no fertilization or irrigation have potential for use as a biofuel crop.


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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