Biology Department

G.H. Gordon Biological Station

Established through the generosity of Mr. & Mrs. George Gordon, the biological station at Rockwell Lake is Hillsdale College’s field research laboratory in northern lower Michigan. It is the largest private college biological station in the state of Michigan and the fifth largest among all Michigan universities (public and private). The tract includes 685 acres of old fields, forests, marshes, swamps, bogs, a trout stream, and a lake (Rockwell Lake). It is located approximately 25 miles south of Cadillac near the town of Luther in Lake County. Established in 1999, the station is the newest addition to the field biology program at Hillsdale College. The station is used by the biology department for weekend field trips, summer courses, and student and faculty research. Educational activities are supported by the Plym Residence Village which currently consists of four buildings that house 60 students. 

Facilities

Research and teaching activities are conducted at the Plym Residence Village as well as a modular classroom building. The center consists of four dormitories (60-occupant capacity), a cafeteria, laboratory, and a classroom with a small library and offices.

Mission

Our mission is to:

  • serve as a natural laboratory for field biology education and research
  • provide a natural sanctuary for the biota native to northwest lower Michigan
  • foster an appreciation for environmental stewardship and conservation based on sound scientific principles

Research Conducted at the Biological Station

Enright, A. D. 2005. Palaeoecological reconstruction of a northern Michigan peatland with special emphasis on local spatial and temporal variability. B.A. Thesis, Department of Biology, Hillsdale College, Hillsdale, MI. 24 pp.

Cauley, P. 2004. Applications of fish operculum morphometry to palaeoenvironmental interpretation. B.A. Thesis, Department of Biology, Hillsdale College, Hillsdale, MI. 67 pp.

Eaton-Fraser, T. 2003. Colonization of vegetation on dredged lake sediments and its relationship to nearby wetlands. B.A. Thesis, Department of Biology, Hillsdale College, Hillsdale, MI. 13 pp.

Westover, J. 2003. The effects of surface waves on the ecology of the littoral zone of a northern Michigan kettle lake. B.A. Thesis, Department of Biology, Hillsdale College, Hillsdale, MI. 27 pp.

Mustapha, T. K. 2003. Species richness, population density, and microhabitat preferences of amphibians and reptiles in several wetlands in northern lower Michigan. B.A. Thesis, Department of Biology, Hillsdale College, Hillsdale, MI. 24pp.

Adamson, C. 2005. The role of dead and downed woody debris as summertime habitat for amphibians. B.A. Thesis, Department of Biology, Hillsdale College, Hillsdale, MI. 14pp.

Parsons, J. K. 2005. The fate of Chamaedaphne calyculata leaves in surface deposits of a Sphagnum bog in West-Central Michigan. B.A. Thesis, Department of Biology, Hillsdale College, Hillsdale, MI. 18pp.

Zeiler, S. 2002. Effects of substrate type and forest canopy cover on the richness and abundance of macroinvertebrates in a northern Michigan headwater stream. B.A. Thesis, Department of Biology, Hillsdale College, Hillsdale, MI. 48pp.

Cizek, C. 2002. Spatial and temporal distribution patterns of planktonic microcrustaceans in a northern Michigan kettle lake. B.A. Thesis, Department of Biology, Hillsdale College, Hillsdale, MI. 47pp.