Highlands Biological Station is open to visitors. Masks are still required in the Nature Center, but are no longer required on campus, including the Botanical Garden. Highlands Biological Station is offering academic and public programming this summer. For the safety of the HBS summer community, before being permitted to work or study at HBS prospective summer students, teaching faculty, and researchers must provide documentation of (1) having received a Covid-19 vaccine or (2) a negative Covid-19 test taken within 3 days of planned arrival.

Facilities, Equipment, and Other Resources for Researchers and Visiting Classes

Research facilities at the Highlands Biological Station support a wide range of field and laboratory investigations, and excellent field biology instructional support. Discover the research history at HBS here.

Click here for lab, classroom, and bench space fees.  Note that fees are covered if you are a Grant-In-Aid recipient.

Check-out procedures for facilities can be found here.


William Chambers Coker Laboratory

The W. C. Coker Laboratory, built in 1958 with NSF support, was comprehensively renovated in 2013. Named in honor of distinguished botanist and mycologist William Chambers Coker of UNC-Chapel Hill, who served as the 2nd Director of HBS (1935-1945), this facility is the academic center of HBS. The Coker Lab offers well-equipped research and instructional space, the E. E. Reinke Library, the HBS Herbarium and other collections, and a seminar room. 


Seminar room w/ projector, whiteboard, movable desks & chairs comfortably accommodating up to 20, or seats 40 with theater-style chair arrangement. Fee to use the seminar room is $25/day.

Coker 108: GIS classroom w/ projector, white board, 50″ flat-screen TV monitor, 2 fixed ethernet hard-wired work tables each seating 8, 16 total. Fee to use the GIS classroom is $25/day.

Coker 104: 300 sq. ft. general teaching lab w/ modular desks, sink, cabinets, pull-down overhead power cords; comfortably seats 15. Motic stereo-microscopes w/ illuminators and compound microscopes available. Fee to use Coker 104 is $25/day.

Coker 117: Large teaching lab w/ video-microscope system and 40″ monitor, fume hood, projector, white board. Motic stereo-microscopes w/ illuminators and compound microscopes available. Fee to use Coker 117 is $25/day.

Coker research labs:

Individual lab/offices (below), with benches, cabinets, and sink (4, each 100 sq. ft.). Fee for a lab/office is $25/day; cost includes use of the other research labs.

  Main general-use research cost is $20/day (below), with: 

  • Fume hood
  • DI water filtration system
  • Refrigerators, freezers (-20° C and -80° C)
  • ThermoFisher Forma reach-in environmental control chamber (model 3940, 29 cu. ft., precision temp and RH control)
  • 2 Rheem Environmental walk-in control chambers
  • Autoclave
  • Analytical balances
  • Drying oven and desiccation chambers
  • Water baths, including precision temp control water bath
  • pH meters

The Richard C. Bruce Biodiversity Laboratory and Treehouse Molecular Lab

The first floor of the Bruce Lab, renovated with NSF support in 2007, functions as flexible teaching, meeting, or seminar space that includes white boards, screens, with sink, fridge, and microwave in small kitchenette area. The room is partitionable into two smaller spaces. Motic stereo-microscopes w/ illuminators and compound microscopes are available, as is a video-microscope system with 40″ monitor. Fee for use of the classroom is $25/day.

The second floor of the Bruce Lab has been equipped for molecular genetics research and teaching applications – the HBS “Treehouse Molecular Lab.”  The space is set up for most applications in molecular ecology including DNA/RNA extraction, quantification, PCR, visualization, cloning, and more. It also includes a small instructional space with whiteboard and projector, seating 8 comfortably. Fee for use of the molecular lab is $20/day.

Maintenance Shop and Aquatics Lab

The utility building at HBS houses a well-equipped maintenance and fabrication shop, with full range of carpentry equipment that may be used for constructing research apparatus such as experimental enclosures, traps, etc.  It also houses the HBS aquatics laboratory, newly renovated and expanded in 2019-2020 with NSF support. Fee for use of the aquatics lab is $20/day.

  • Bench space with a range of research equipment, aquarium tanks, pumps
  • Living Stream (Model LS-770) lab with system of six 140 gallon (530 liters) tanks with chillers
  • Exterior artificial stream runs (2 runs, each 33 feet long x 20 inches wide) with retractable shades
  • Mesocosm tanks

Clark Foreman Museum (Highlands Nature Center)

The historic Clark Foreman Museum is a WPA building completed in 1941.  The museum building houses the Highlands Nature Center, where regional natural history and conservation is interpreted for the public through exhibits, programs, and special events. (Click here for Nature Center programs and schedule.)

The lower level of the Clark Foreman Museum, long been used for herpetological studies, includes:

  • 2 large windowless research rooms for controlled-environment behavioral studies, historically used for plethodontid salamander research
  • Shel Lab forced-air digital drying oven, 61″ x 30.8″ x 25″
  • Refrigerator, freezers
  • Bench space with sinks. Fee is $10/day.

Outdoor Classrooms and Meeting Spaces

HBS offers several spaces for groups to engage in educational activities in an outdoor setting, from our “Sto” Teaching Pavilion that rests on Lindenwood Lake (left) to green lawns that allow groups to stretch out in a more informal setting. Click here to learn more about some of our more popular outdoor meeting spaces.

Field Equipment

Highlands Biological Station has an array of field equipment available for students and researchers, from tape measures to automated stream water sampling units. A full list of equipment can be found here.


Click here for lab, classroom, and bench space fees. Note that fees are covered if you are a Grant-In-Aid recipient.