The Northern Illinois Biogeography Laboratory was established in 1998. It consists of a sample preparation room and a new laboratory facility for both teaching and research purposes. The primary goal of the lab is to conduct research on various aspects of vegetation dynamics and examine links between vegetation systems and their environment. The lab contains several work stations and a Velmex tree ring measuring system. The lab has been growing and developing and currently houses a growth chamber, environmental sensors and several data loggers, equipment for hemispherical photography, measuring photosynthesis and chlorophyll fluorescence.
Research focuses on forested systems in the eastern deciduous forest/boreal forest ecotone, the oak/hickory woodlands of northern Illinois and conifer stands in New Caledonia (South Pacific). There are currently several graduate students and undergraduate students actively involved in various research activities ranging from dendrochronology (fire history and climate reconstruction) to forest light environments and seedling physiology and studies on the impact of honeysuckle on oakwood land communities. The Biogeography lab is closely linked with the Soil Analysis Laboratory within the department and several students have completed research or are currently focused on the links between vegetation and soils. Our philosophy is to advance our knowledge of the dynamic environment and have some fun along the way.