Station Use and Lodging

HBS Facilities

The Station grounds contain over 70 acres of relatively little disturbed woodlands bounded by State and Federal lands. Scientists and students also have access to 172,500 acres of mixed mesophytic woodlands, old fields, and grasslands in the US Forest Service's Land-Between-the-Lakes Natural Recreation Area including experimental watersheds. Additional opportunities exist nearby for the study of environmental impacts of wetland restoration, agriculture, strip mining, petrochemical processing, shipping and electricity generation.

There are ample opportunities for recreation at or near the Station including swimming, sailing, canoeing, fishing, horseback riding, hiking and camping.

The Biological Station and the Land-Between-the-Lakes (LBL) have been designated as an Experimental Ecological Reserve by the National Science Foundation and the Institute of Ecology. As an Experimental Ecological Reserve, the Station and LBL have been identified as an important natural system for long-term ecological research. Interaction among scientists is intended to develop collaborative and integrated research on the terrestrial and aquatic systems of Station and LBL sites.

LBL has been designated as a US Man and the Biosphere reserve by UNESCO, further enhancing the region's teaching and research resources.

The Station provides an excellent base for year-round research in aquatic and terrestrial biology. Visiting scientists and graduate student investigators are encouraged to utilize the Station. Laboratory space, offices and a wide variety of equipment are available for research at the Station. There is a large covered dock on Kentucky Lake equipped with specimen holding and processing rooms. The Station maintains three pontoon boats, workboats with motors and trailers, canoes, and the Surveyor I, a 23-foot SeaArk research vessel.

The main building contains 13,000 sq. ft. as research laboratories, classrooms, office space, kitchen/dining area, computer room, and library. Construction of a research glasshouse/mesocosm facility was completed in 2002 through funds provided by the National Science Foundation. The new Resource Building was completed in 2003 with NSF support and provides additional research and classroom space, a fabrication shop, dive support, and herbarium facilities.

Equipment available for field research and teaching includes such items as four-wheel drive vehicles, traps, various nets, water samplers, seines, portable fish shockers, and camping equipment. Laboratory equipment includes a new JEOL scanning electron microscope, balances, teaching and research grade microscopes, spectrophotometers, organic carbon analyzer, CHNS/O analyzer, gas chromatograph, ion chromatograph, fluorometers, flow injection analyzer, photometers, particle counter, autoclave, water baths, incubators, drying ovens, dissolved oxygen meters, pH meters, liquid scintillation counter, and facilities for radiotracer and microbial studies. A stable isotope mass spectrometer is now available. Special research items may need to be supplied by individual investigators, and their availability should be determined ahead of time. Fees for the use of space, facilities, boats, and housing are reasonable, and fee schedules may be obtained from the Station Director (

Several outstanding collections of flora and fauna of western Kentucky are maintained by the Department of Biological Sciences. Over 19,000 plant specimens are available in the Purchase Area Herbarium as well as in the HBS herbarium. The zoological museum contains more than 200 amphibians and reptiles species and extensive collections of mammal skins and skulls. Fish and invertebrate collections are maintained at the Biological Station.


Housing is available in the cabins on a first come first serve basis. Contact Gerry Harris to reserve housing and other HBS facilities.

student cabin

Student Cabins contain electricity, beds, and a table. The rental fee is $30.00 per person per night. Visitors need to supply their own linens (sleeping bag, pillow, towels).

wolfson cabin

Research cabins have their own kitchens and bathrooms. The rental fee for researcher cabins are as follows: Audubon/Rafinesque/Schnautz - $50.00/night (1 person), $60.00/night (2 persons), or $600/month. Wolfson cabin (pictured) is $70.00/night.


Bedding and linens

Twin beds are provided. You will need to provide your own bedding, pillows, and towels. Some students find it preferable to use a lightweight sleeping bag rather than sheets and blankets.

Weather and climate are typical of the Midwest. Summers are warm and usually in the upper 80s in June to 90s in July; thunderstorms are common, particularly in June. Winter temperatures are usually in the 40s during the day but below zero nights are not uncommon.

Clothing suggestions

There are washers and dryers available at the Station.

  • Raincoat
  • Bathing suit
  • Shorts and T-shirts
  • Several pairs of long pants and at least a few long sleeve shirts.
    (If you are in the woods or fields for long periods of time, you will want to be protected from poison ivy, chiggers, and ticks).
  • A couple of pairs of shoes that can get wet.


Meals are not provided, but student summer residents usually form a cooperative and prepare their own meals in the Station kitchen. Short-term visitors also have use of the Station kitchen. Camping sites are available adjacent to the Station for those who wish to bring tents or trailers. Camping and fires are not allowed on the Station property.

Cooking supplies

Cooking supplies We have a reasonable supply of pots, pans, plates, and utensils in our kitchen/dining area and the kitchen is well equipped with stoves, refrigerators, and microwaves. If you have any special requirements, please let us know in advance.

General notes on station use

Telephone system The phone system is for station business only. Any long distance calls must be made collect, with a cell phone, or with a phone credit card. Cellular service is provided by Verizon and AT&T, with Verizon having the strongest signal and AT&T coverage intermittent. The station telephone number is 270.474.2272.

Xerox Machine, Fax and Laser Printers
The Xerox, Fax and the Laser printer are for Station teaching and research use and are available between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. through the Station Coordinator. Machines are not designed for heavy use. Personal copies may be made at the discretion of the Station Coordinator. Cost per copy for sponsored research or personal copies is $0.05.

The Station operates a wireless system that covers much of the buildings and the grounds in the immediate vicinity of the building complex. The Station maintains computers both for research and for general use. Research computers (including the computer at the front desk) are for research only and may be used only at the discretion of the individuals in charge of each computer. Several IBM compatible computers are available for general and student use.

Mail Letters and packages can be mailed directly to the Station using the following address: Hancock Biological Station, 561 Emma Drive, Murray, KY 42071. Incoming mail will be placed in the mail cabinet in the lobby. Outgoing mail may be placed in the mailbox in front of the building. Mail pick-up usually is around noon.

Vehicle and Boat Use Vehicles (trucks and boats with motors) are for research and class use only and must be driven by a faculty member, visiting scientist, primary researcher, RA, or TA. All vehicles are reserved on a first come, first serve basis and therefore must be reserved as far in advance as is practical. Reservations are listed on a large calendar hung in the conference room. If you make a reservation and then have a change of plans, please contact us so that we can cancel your reservation. Keys for vehicles will be in the stationery cabinet in the library. When taking one of the vehicles, a vehicle use card MUST be filled out. Please complete all required information (use, user, vehicle, destination, passengers, expected return time). For work on Kentucky and Barkley Lakes, the approximate work area must be indicated on the card. Vehicle/boat problems should be reported to the front desk by completing the checkout card and giving it to him or leaving it in his mailbox. HBS will pay for normal maintenance. Damage due to rough treatment or negligence will be charged to the user.


Safety is particularly important. The vehicle check-out card lists the required safety equipment for daytime use of boats. Users should become familiar with water and boat safety regulations. Only people with demonstrated experience in operating boats will be given permission to use HBS boats.

Boat Use

Users must check equipment thoroughly before taking it into the field. Lights, batteries, fire extinguishers, and gas lines must be inspected prior to use. Boats launched from and returned to the HBS dock can make use of the work rooms on the dock for storing limited amounts of gasoline and batteries. There is a battery charger on the dock and batteries should be recharged regularly. Empty gasoline cans should be left near the HBS entrance for refilling. It is better to take several gas cans that are partially empty and run the gas out of them than always using a new gas can. We will make arrangements for transferring gas between gas cans.

Please ask Station personnel if you need help with boats or other vehicles. We will be happy to direct you to the proper equipment.

Non-motorized boats

HBS maintains several canoes, rowboats, kayaks, and sailboats for pleasure use by students or faculty actively working at the Station. These also may be checked out in the library and require the use of life preservers and other safety equipment.

The Station runs on the Honor System. Most teaching labs, offices, the conference room, and the library remain open at all times. Do not use Faculty/Staff desks or phones without their permission. Do not remove any piece of equipment or supplies without the express permission of the person in charge of that room. Because it never closes, books are to remain in the library at all times. There is no checkout. We maintain an inventory of chemicals and corresponding Material Safety Data Sheets. MSDS's are located in the Chemical Room (205A). If you use up or add to chemicals, please make a note on the chemical inventory in the supply room and notify lab personnel.

HBS is a research-teaching facility. Anyone wishing to host a group of people for a picnic, volleyball, or other activities must contact the Station Director prior to scheduling any event. Swimming is permitted from the dock. However, climbing on or interfering with the boats or other experimental materials is strictly prohibited.

There are several forms of waste that we can do something about. First, please turn off the lights to labs when you leave for an extended period, but leave ventilating fans on. Please help in preventing litter and picking up litter on the HBS grounds. The Station actively recycles paper, aluminum cans, glass, and plastic. Recycling baskets for paper and aluminum cans are marked and located throughout the main building. Recycling baskets for glass and plastic are located in the hallway outside the dining room. All water that goes down the sinks, toilets, and showers passes through our artificial wetland. Anything that goes down the drains must be biodegradable and non-toxic. For disposal of toxic liquids, please check with the Laboratory Coordinator.

Much of the main building and living quarters will remain unlocked as long as people are present on the grounds. Keys will be issued only at the discretion of the Director. Because we are primarily a research institution, we need to try to avoid recreational visits by unauthorized people. Visitors who are not students or faculty should be directed to the HBS office for assistance. It is especially important that doors on the workrooms on the boat dock are kept locked and that boats are empty, locked, and chained to the dock when you are finished using them. The boat compound must be kept locked and equipment items should be left in the workroom or returned to the main laboratory building if they are to be unattended for several hours.

Dogs and cats are not to be housed at the Station. Caged animals (birds, lizards, fish, etc.) may be acceptable if properly maintained.



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