Ecological Research Center and Meeman Biological Station: College Arts and Sciences. (Research Centers at the University of Memphis)

By Simco, Bill A.; Grubaugh, Jack et al. | Business Perspectives, Spring 2003 | Go to article overview

Ecological Research Center and Meeman Biological Station: College Arts and Sciences. (Research Centers at the University of Memphis)


Simco, Bill A., Grubaugh, Jack, Kennedy, Michael L., Business Perspectives


A Program in Ecology Develops Over 30 Years

Recognizing the need for information relating to ecology (locally and worldwide), the Department of Biology within The University of Memphis established the Ecological Research Center (ERC) in 1973. The objective was to provide an academic unit within the University that would foster the institution's goal of discovery and dissemination of critical knowledge to the metropolitan community of Memphis, the people of Tennessee, and the nation. Additionally, there was a desire to prepare diverse graduate and undergraduate student populations for successful careers in ecology and related fields and, in so doing, contribute to the global need for a workforce qualified to address the world's growing demand for ecological information. From the beginning, it was recognized that these goals could best be accomplished through the foundation of partnerships with city, state, federal, and private agencies. Such linkages have been strongly promoted and have been critical to the development of the ecological program at the U niversity of Memphis. Ecological issues are complex and tightly associated with economic, political, and social issues. Therefore, diverse backgrounds and understandings are required to successfully resolve many ecological issues. The program in ecology was greatly enhanced with the establishment of the Edward J. Meeman Biological Station (MBS) in the early 1970s on property donated to the University by the Edward J. Meeman Foundation. These resources enable The University of Memphis to be well placed to contribute significantly to the understanding and solution of ecological issues through the University's activities of research, teaching, and service.

Facilities

The ERC has utilized facilities located on the South Campus that were previously part of the Kennedy Veterans Hospital. One building contains classrooms, research labs, wet labs, and offices for faculty and students. An extensive mainmal collection containing specimens from the United States and Mexico and a fish collection containing representative fishes of the Mid-South (The University of Memphis Museum of Zoology) are maintained by the ERC. In addition, offices of Wildlife and Habitat Management as well as Law Enforcement are maintained within the ERC through established cooperative agreements. A newly constructed aquaculture research building on the South Campus provides 4,000 [ft.sup.2] of wet lab space for aquaculture research, as well as an analytical laboratory, shop, and office. Most of the teaching activities and research laboratories are located in Ellington Hall and the Life Sciences Building on the main campus. These facilities provide convenient on-campus resources for experimental ecological research.

The MBS is situated on two different sites in northern Shelby County and provides a large area for long-term extensive ecological studies. The ample land and security of MBS provide a perfect location for researchers to design and execute extensive experiments to develop and test ecological theory. The primary site covers 623 acres atop the Third Chickasaw Bluff adjacent to the Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park. This land was originally the home and property of Edward J. Meeman, the renowned Memphis newspaper editor and conservationist. The site was bestowed to The University in 1967 with the mission to serve the Mid-South community as a resource for ecological research and environmental training for university students. The original Meeman home has been converted into a conference center with meeting rooms and office space for faculty and visiting researchers. In 1969, an additional building was constructed that provides classrooms and laboratory facilities. The property also has a residence for the caretaker who provides 24-hour security and maintenance for the facilities.

In 1995, the University obtained a second piece of property along the Loosahatchie River in Bartlett. …

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