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University of Notre Dame Environmental Research Center - East
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Information on the capabilities of the field station can be located on the Facilities page and in the Policies & Procedures information.

If you require a letter from the field station for a grant proposal we MUST see a copy of the proposal first in order to determine housing and space requirements. Please allow sufficient time for this review to occur.

Equipment provided by UNDERC for general access includes a scintillation counter, Genysis 2 spectrophotometer, analytical balances, HP LaserJet 4M Plus printer (accessible through the wireless network), fax machine, photocopier (for use with copy card, which can be obtained from Assistant Director), and common PC computers for internet and network access. All other equipment must be provided by you, including research vehicles, boats, trolling motors and batteries. Generally we provide the space and you are responsible for the equipment.

Futher information on housing and lab space at UNDERC.


To initiate a research project, write, call, or E-mail the Director to briefly describe the project. A brief written pre-proposal may be submitted, but is not required. If the project is feasible within the resources and facilities available, a formal proposal should then be submitted. The formal proposal should consist of three parts: (1) Application to Conduct Research; (2) the full proposal describing the proposed project in sufficient detail so it can be reviewed on its merit and (3) a cover letter outlining projected facilities needs including housing.

A copy of a grant proposal being developed for submission to a private foundation or government agency in "late draft" form can serve as "part 1." Proposals should be complete in their description of research activities proposed on UNDERC property, but do not require approval from the researcher's institution.

The non-technical project description should mention the specific lakes or other habitats proposed for use and should explain how the areas are intended for use. The description should include an explicit statement of the foreseeable beneficial or adverse long and short term impacts on each habitat on the property as a result of the research activities.

The cover letter should give the approximate dates of likely visits to the property. It should also include an estimate of the approximate number of senior investigators and students or technicians who will use the property or who will need housing accommodations and an anticipated requirement for lab space and housing.

Visit the Policies & Procedures area for current fee structure for housing and field station use.


Proposals that involve only non-destructive sampling, pose no threat to property habitats, and can be accommodated within the facilities available may be approved by the Director without further review. Projects that involve removal or manipulation of vertebrate animals, biological or chemical manipulation of habitats, or large or obstructive field apparatus may be reviewed by the UNDERC Advisory Board. The Director may also submit proposals for comment by: (1) the Land O' Lakes Advisory Board and Property Managers, (2) the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, and/or (3) the Notre Dame Risk Management and Safety Department. Proposals for projects that will set up extensive field apparatus, involve manipulations of habitats that have previously served as controls (i.e., have not been previously manipulated), and might have long term impacts on the habitats to be investigated will be reviewed by the Land O' Lakes Advisory Board and Property Managers. Projects that involve the use of fish or other vertebrates will be reviewed by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee and must include a statement of the protocols that will be followed for the collection, care, and research use of these animals. Proposals that include the use of radioactive materials or hazardous chemicals, either as laboratory reagents or for direct addition to area habitats, will be reviewed by the Notre Dame Risk Management and Safety Department.

A more involved project will require a longer review process. However, the Director will attempt to provide a written response to a proposal within three weeks of the date it is received. A positive response will be in the form of a letter to the Principal Investigator for inclusion in the proposal for funding to a public or private granting agency. A positive response from the Director need not wait for consideration by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee or Notre Dame Risk Management and Safety Department. However, the Principal Investigator is bound by any protocols or conditions imposed by these groups.


Researchers must abide by the protocols described in the proposal submitted to the Director for review, by any conditions or stipulations imposed as a result of the review process, and by the regulations included in this document. It is the responsibility of each Principal Investigator to secure all applicable state or federal scientific collecting permits and to abide by the laws and regulations that apply to his or her research activities. Research operations are subject to ongoing review by the Director. Changes in environmental laws, government permit requirements, or health regulations may require procedural modifications by researchers. Investigators must leave habitats and laboratory areas free of apparatus, equipment, markers, etc., at the conclusion of a research project. Failure to do so will result in the assessment of clean-up and disposal charges and may affect future access to the property. Storage of boats, vehicles, equipment, apparatus, supplies, chemicals, or other materials from one field season to the next requires permission of the Director or Assistant Director.

For all ongoing research projects, it is the responsibility of the Principal Investigator to submit annual renewal applications prior to the start of the spring-summer field season. These include applications for the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, radioactive isotope use, and/or all applicable state and/or federal collecting permits.

Researchers are expected to provide their own tools, equipment, and supplies for investigations conducted on the Land O' Lakes property. This includes both field and laboratory equipment. Flat-bottom boats located at regularly used lakes may be used by researchers when they are not being used by a class. Arrangements for exclusive or intensive use of UNDERC boats must be made with the Director prior to the start of the spring-summer field season. Space in the Research Laboratory is always at a premium and is assigned by the Director to Principal Investigators as available. Sharing of space in the Research Laboratory among several different Principal Investigators may be necessary.

Principal Investigators ultimately are responsible for individuals involved in their research project. This includes all students, technicians, employees, and/or other individuals involved in their project or who are on the property because of their project. Exemption from this responsibility requires written approval from the Director.

One copy of all raw data collected from the Land O' Lakes property must be deposited with the Director within two years of the end of active research. Data may be deposited in printed form or in one of several computer-compatible formats on magnetic media, with appropriate documentation on organization and structure. Upon written request from the Principal Investigator, the Director may (if legally permitted) withhold public access to these data for at least fiveyears beyond the end of active research.

All publications resulting from research conducted on the Land O' Lakes property are considered contributions from the University of Notre Dame Environmental Research Center. Therefore, all publications must include the following or an equivalent acknowledgement: "This paper is a contribution from the University of Notre Dame Environmental Research Center." Two copies of all publications, including bound copies of Master's theses and Ph.D. dissertations, resulting from research conducted on the Land O' Lakes property, must be filed with the Director within one year of publication (or date of receipt of degree for theses and dissertations). One copy of each publication will be maintained at the Land O' Lakes property and the second copy will be held at the Director's office on the University of Notre Dame campus.


Please ensure that these steps are completed BEFORE the field season starts.

  1. Requests for isotope use must be submitted annually.
  2. Animal protocols (IACUC) must be approved annually. The Notre Dame IACUC committee meets once per month. Please submit the IACUC form (available below) in February or March because often the request will not be accepted the first time. NOTE: Please send the completed form to the UNDERC administrative office. We need to approve the IACUC proposal first. Failure to do this could result in a 1 MONTH DELAY! We will forward your form to the IACUC committee.
    1. IACUC Research Protocol
    2. For further information, visit the Office of Research web site
  3. Submit housing requirements including names and sexes of each individual.
  4. Update proposal if changes were made from the original.
  5. Update lab space request.
  6. Visit the Policies & Procedures area for the latest rules and regulations.

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Habitats: grasslands, montane forest, and streams

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