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Reis Biological Station

Reis Biological Station is operated by the Saint Louis University Department of Biology to promote education and research focused on ecology, evolution and the environment.

Each summer, the station offers three concurrent upper-division field biology courses. The summer session is three weeks in length and begins the week immediately following spring graduation ceremonies. Each four-credit course satisfies an upper-division lecture-laboratory elective.

This summer, the three courses being offered are BIOL 4200: Aquatic Ecology and BIOL 4330: Spring Flora of the Ozarks and BIOL 4930: Medical ParasitologyCourses run May 22-June 10, 2023.

Get More Information on Summer Courses.  

The station comprises 225 acres of upland oak-hickory forest in the eastern Ozarks of Missouri, about 100 miles southwest of St. Louis. It is contained within one of the seven subdivisions of the 1.5 million-acre Mark Twain National Forest. Huzzah Creek, a major tributary of the Meramec River, flows through the station property, providing an excellent site for the study of aquatic ecosystems. On the station, and within the national forest, one can find diverse ecosystems including shortleaf pine forest, calcareous fens, glades, caves, springs, ponds and rivers.

The Missouri Ozarks provide an abundance of research and recreational opportunities. Float trips are possible on Huzzah Creek, Courtois Creek and the Meramec River. The Current and Jack's Fork rivers, part of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways, are a one-hour drive south of the station. Numerous state parks, conservation and wilderness areas are nearby, providing field trip destinations and recreational opportunities including hiking, camping, fishing, mountain biking and spelunking.

Station Facilities

Research and Teaching

Reis Biological Station can accommodate several concurrent classes and research projects.

The research building contains an air-conditioned lab and classroom. The lab is equipped with Mac and Windows-based computers, balances, a fume hood, pH meters, dissolved oxygen meters and other useful scientific instruments. A wide array of equipment for field work — from plankton nets to light traps — is also available. The classroom has both dissecting and phase contrast microscopes, a plant dryer and a small herbarium. Classes are also taught in an open-air shelter during warmer summer months.

Eight canoes, two john-boats with 50-hp outboard motors and trailers provide access to a variety of aquatic habitats for classes, research and recreation.


Lodging is provided at no extra fee to students registered in field courses and to researchers (faculty and students) from Reis Biological Station Consortium member schools.

Students are housed in shared rustic cabins or in a loft above Rainbow Darter Lodge. The loft has 12 cots and each of the cabins contains four wooden bunks. The researchers' quarters contain two small bedrooms (one with a single bed, the second with a set of bunk beds). Visitors must bring their own sleeping bags or sheets and pillows; linens are not provided. All living spaces are heated and air-conditioned.

A shower house has separate men's and women's bathrooms with three showers each. It also contains a laundry room with coin-operated washers and dryers. Two bathrooms (one with a shower) are located in Rainbow Darter Lodge. The researchers' quarters have their own bathroom and small shower.

Dining Facilities

Rainbow Darter Lodge has a kitchen and dining area. The kitchen contains a Wolf range with an oven, refrigerator, large chest freezer and several storage cabinets for food. Pots, pans, dishes, utensils and other cooking equipment are provided. Two additional refrigerators are located in the research lab.

Meals are served during the three-week SLU summer session. Other groups visiting the station can buy groceries and other supplies in the town of Steelville, a 20-minute drive from the station.