About Us

What is a biological station?

A biological station is a scientific resource for field study of the natural environment. The Archbold Biological Station, lying within the headwaters of the Everglades in south central Florida, is one of the most renowned in the world.

Archbold Biological Station
An Enduring and Evolving Florida Treasure
(Lohrer and Swain, 2007)

Its cutting-edge research has created real conservation solutions across diverse ecosystems ranging from the pristine, ancient sand dunes of the Lake Wales Ridge--home to plants and animals found nowhere else on Earth--to the waters, wetlands, and wildlife of the vast open ranchlands lying within the watershed.

The headwaters flow south into Lake Okeechobee and then drain to the coasts. The health of the headwaters affects millions of Floridians. The Archbold Biological Station is a wellspring of knowledge for this watersheed, one of the most important in America, and its scientists stand at the forefront of the fight to build a sustainable future for Florida.

Who is Archbold Biological Station?

Archbold Biological Station, established in 1941, is the primary division of Archbold Expeditions, a not-for-profit independent research institution in central Florida. The Station is dedicated to long-term ecological research, part of the global effort to understand, interpret and preserve the world’s natural heritage. Staff, visiting investigators, and students conduct research primarily focused on the organisms and environments of Lake Wales Ridge and adjacent central Florida. Areas of research strength are population ecology and conservation biology, emphasizing ecological changes over local and regional scales, and demographic shifts in ecologically sensitive species. Staff scientists also undertake studies in similar ecosystems regionally, most notably at the Avon Park Air Force Range and at the many state and federally protected areas on the Lake Wales Ridge – our research was fundamental in inspiring public acquisition of these sites. Our research helps guide land management decisions for regional scrub protected areas. Archbold is used heavily for education including research training for graduates and undergraduates from around the world, use by visiting college classes, extensive K-12 education, and public outreach.

Archbold Biological Station (5,193 acres) and the Archbold Reserve (3,648 acres) together comprise a 8,840-acre globally-significant preserve, located in the Florida scrub, one of the most distinctive natural habitats in the United States. Archbold provides secure access to study areas and organisms on land that is managed for scientific purposes. The Station is a series of relict sandy dunes, including xeromorphic scrubs, flatwoods and the 90-acre Lake Annie. Agricultural and natural lands lie to the west on the Archbold Reserve. Neighboring state-owned lands and private conservation easements mean that the Station lies within a protected area network totaling 16,200 acres. Fire is the prevalent ecosystem process in scrub. The Station provides experimental manipulation, through large and small-scale prescribed burning, to test hypotheses about ecological responses to fire. This region supports many of the rarest species in North America. Archbold is host to 19 federally-listed species and is regarded as critical for the long-term global viability of numerous endemic scrub species. The Archbold Collection with over 230,000 biological specimens of plant, arthropod, bird, mammal, herptile and fish is an important regional collection emphasizing species from the scrub habitats of the Station and the Lake Wales Ridge.

Archbold provides facilities and equipment in immediate proximity to these study areas; at the core of the Archbold campus are the spectacular Roebling buildings, among the best examples of the industrial vernacular in the USA. Archbold is on the National Register of Historic Places for its role in the history of architecture, science and conservation and listed as a National Natural Landmark, an outstanding example of our country's natural history, among the best examples of biological and geological features in both public and private ownership.