University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota
College of Biological Sciences

Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve

Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve


Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve is a University of Minnesota biological field station with many ecosystems and species found throughout the forests and grasslands of North America. Faculty, staff and students who work at Cedar Creek are dedicated to understanding how human activities, such as agriculture and fossil fuel combustion, are changing ecosystems. 
Many of the experiments at Cedar Creek consider the long-term consequences of human-driven environmental changes. These include ecosystem responses to:
  • Biodiversity loss
  • Nitrogen deposition
  • Elevated carbon dioxide
  • Warming and changes in precipitation
  • Exotic species invasions

Cedar Creek is part of the College of Biological Sciences and a member of the Long Term Ecological Network.




Research Highlight - The BAC Experiment

The BAC (biodiversity and climate) experiment examines the interactive effects of global warming and biodiversity on prairie ecosystems. The experiment consists of 38 plots containing varying levels of biodiversity (1, 4, 16, or 32 prairie species). The plots are divided into three areas, each receiving a different warming treatment: a temperature increase of 1.5 °C (3 °F), a temperature increase of 3 °C (5 °F), and a control (no increase). Warming treatments occur from March to November.

Biotic responses being investigated include plant productivity and species composition; plant phenology, such as budding time; and the microbial community. Abiotic responses investigated include soil flux, which is the amount of CO2 being released from plant roots and underground microbial activity, and soil moisture. The results of this experiment will be analyzed with the aim of forming better models and management strategies about climate change in prairies.   READ MORE