Mountain Research Station

The Mountain Research Station is an interdisciplinary research facility of the Institute of Arctic and Alpine ResearchUniversity of Colorado, devoted to advancement of study of mountain ecosystems.

Mountain Research Station's mission is to facilitate research and education to better understand the unique patterns and processes of biotic and physical systems in mountains, and how environmental changes may influence these patterns and processes.

Research is performed by investigators from numerous organizations including the National Science Foundation, sponsored programs such as the Niwot Ridge Long-Term Ecological Research Program, the Boulder Creek Critical Zone Program, the National Ecological Observatory Network, and multiple individual investigators. The Mountain Research Station is in charge of the Mountain Climate Program, established in 1952, established to provide long-term climate data from the montane, subalpine, and alpine zones of the Colorado Front Range. Four main meteorological stations have been maintained continuously since the inception of the program.

The MRS's teaching mission includes formal undergraduate field courses, which have become an integral part of the academic experience of many CU students. The disciplines of these courses include biology, geography and geology. The MRS also serves as a field facility for academic year CU courses run on the Boulder Campus, and for courses run through other Universities. Several K-12 courses also use the MRS as a site to introduce students to the wonders of field environmental science. Undergraduate and graduate research training programs have used the MRS, including several NSF sponsored Research Experiences for Undergraduates site grants, the NSF sponsored Biosphere/Atmosphere Training Program, and the Department of Education sponsored Summer Minority Access to Research Training. Many of these programs are particularly oriented to increasing diversity of persons involved in academic research.

The MRS participates in educational experiences for the general public aimed at policy decisions that affect our environment. Through formal interactions with federal agencies such as the US Forest Service, the EPA, and the National Park Service the MRS has provided expertise to help advise regulatory agencies make informed decisions about anthropogenic impacts on mountain ecosystems. The MRS also provides regular summer seminars on subjects of interest to scientists and non-scientists alike. The MRS is also a popular site for symposia and workshops aimed at decision making and information sharing, from CU departmental retreats to national scientific meetings.

Institution University of Colorado
Country United States
Infrastructure type Research station
Disciplines Education science
Biology and biochemistry
Earth sciences
forestry and fishery
Natural environments and wildlife
Language of operation English
Keywords Vegetation EcologyLake and Stream EcologyForest and Fire Ecologyart and enviornmentbiologygeologygeographybiology


The Mountain Research Station hosts undergraduate field courses, and provides site support for visiting K12, undergraduate, and graduate courses. Additionally it organizes research conferences, including the Guild or Rocky Mountain Ecologists and Evolutionary Biologists.

The support facilities of the MRS include laboratories, offices, classrooms, cabins, a dining hall, and a bathhouse. Laboratories include the Kiowa wet-chemistry lab, several plant, soil, and chemistry labs within the larger John W. Marr Laboratory Building, and the Tundra Lab located at 3500 m on Niwot Ridge. The MRS also manages the 1200 ha Niwot Ridge Biosphere Reserve for the US Forest Service as a site for research and education.

Read more info here.

For overnight accommodations visit the LODGING page.

Contact information

IMPORTANT:  If you are shipping equipment or goods to the MRS, please utilize UPS or FedEx. (USPS will NOT deliver to the MRS)

Mountain Research Station
818 County Road 116
Nederland, CO  80466

Phone: (303) 492-8842
FAX: (303) 258-3017 (please call the main line first)

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