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.

William Chambers Coker Laboratory


The Coker Laboratory offers bench space and offices/labs, stockrooms, a herbarium, a library and map collection, and facility for GIS analysis.  Its large common-use wet lab includes two walk-in environmental chambers, refrigerators, freezers, drying ovens, fume hoods, incubators, and an autoclave.  Other equipment includes balances, pH meters, dissecting microscopes, compound microscopes, and a great variety of smaller field and lab equipment and glassware.  An Olympus SZH dissecting microscope is linked to a 40″ HD monitor and is also available.


The Coker Laboratory includes three classrooms and two teaching/wet laboratories of about 400 square feet each.  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. We also have four offices available for visiting researchers.


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 online 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. 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.


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 will be undergoing renovation in 2017 thanks to a generous NSF grant.


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.