Research facilities at the Highlands Biological Station support a wide range of field and laboratory investigations (see below).  Please indicate space and equipment needs well in advance on the reservation form.


Molecular Lab Equipment List

Molecular Lab User Manual

View the Microscope User Agreement*

Download the Reservation Form

IACUC form **

* Upon confirmation of your reservation, we will send you a copy of the Microscope Agreement for your review and signature. The file is made available here for your information.
*The Highlands Biological Station Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee typically meets in early May of each year.  (Applications for research submitted at other times of year may be considered by special arrangement.)  If you plan on collecting or conducting research at HBS involving vertebrate animals of any kind, please download and complete an HBS IACUC Application and email to the attention of the Executive Director and Business Manager.  An approved IACUC application is a requirement of conducting such work at or out of HBS.  Researchers will generally have an IACUC application approved at their home institution.  Please include in your HBS IACUC application ONLY that information pertaining to work with vertebrate animals conducted while at HBS.  HBS Grant-in-Aid recipients working with vertebrates should note that their grant award is contingent upon approval of their IACUC application; you are strongly encouraged to submit via email a completed application by *30 April* in order to avoid delays with the review and approval of your application.

Coker laboratory

Recently expanded, renovated, and fully modernized, the William Chambers Coker Laboratory is the nexus of our research facilities and education programs.


The William Chambers Coker Laboratory offers bench space and offices/labs, stockrooms, an herbarium, a library and map collection, and facility for computer hook-up (data).  Its large common-use wetlab includes two walk-in environmental chambers, refrigerators, freezers, drying ovens, fume hoods, incubators, and an autoclave.  Other equipment includes analytical and several electronic top-loading balances, pH meters, dissecting microscopes, compound microscopes, and a great variety of smaller field and lab equipment and glassware.  An olympus SZH dissecting microscope with a Sony 6.1 mp HD video link and 40″ HD monitor and is also available.


The Coker Laboratory includes two classrooms, and two teaching wet laboratories of about 400 square feet each, with tables, storage cabinets, sinks, marker boards, and projector screens.  These rooms are used by visiting groups from colleges and universities in the spring and fall semesters.  During the summer, our courses and workshops have exclusive use of most of these facilities.


The E.E. Reinke Library

The Reinke Library has an extensive reprint file, a collection of books and monographs, and subscriptions to more than 30 journals relevant to the ecology, systematics, evolution, and conservation of those groups of organisms that are well represented in the Southern Appalachians. The Collection is searchable on line through Western Carolina University’s Hunter Library.


The Richard C. Bruce Biodiversity Laboratory and Molecular Lab

The first floor functions as a flexible teaching and seminar space with tables, chairs, a kitchenette and a/v projectors and screens. The second floor was updated in 2011 as a modern molecular laboratory and research office.

The Molecular Lab

The Highlands Biological Station’s Molecular Laboratory was implemented in 2011 to allow researchers who are conducting – or want to conduct – investigations on the beautiful Highlands Plateau to process their samples on-site.  The space is set up for most applications in molecular ecology including DNA/RNA extraction, quantification, PCR, visualization, cloning, and more.  Our facility, complete with beautiful views of the HBS grounds, also has a room with bench/desk space and that can be set up to conduct courses.

Fees:  Users that are already paying a carrel or research office fee at the Coker Lab may use the molecular lab for $20/day.  There is also desk space available in the Biodiversity Building (adjacent to the molecular lab) for $50/week.  If only using the molecular lab, fees are $25/day or $150 per week for full access to the laboratory space, equipment and glassware.  Researchers must provide all of their own reagents, disposables, and general lab supplies (gloves, tips, etc.). Some disposables and reagents are also available in case of an emergency for an additional fee.

Graduate students and faculty from member institutions may be provided laboratory space for limited periods, as available, without charge, upon application to the Director of the Station.  Recipients of Station grants-in-aid of research are provided bench space without charge as a provision of the grant, although if research requires use of the molecular lab, that cost is $20/day.


The Maintenance Shop and Aquatics Lab

The 1,528 square-foot utility building at the Station houses a well-equipped maintenance shop, which can be used to make simple field equipment, such as experimental enclosures, traps, etc. It also includes an aquatics laboratory, built in the 1990s, which contains six 130-gallon aquaria in which temperature and flow rate can be controlled. Behind the building, under a shed roof, are two 10-m artificial streams. These circulate water from Mill Creek, which originates at the spillway of Lindenwood Lake on the HBS campus. In addition to these longer reaches are five 5-m artificial streams. A small office and storage room are attached to the Aquatics Lab. Please inquire well in advance of your visit, if you will need access to the aquaria or artificial streams; demand for their use is often heavy in the summer.