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Biological Station

Jack A. Stanford (Bierman Professor of Ecology), Director

The University of Montana-Missoula operates its Flathead Lake Biological Station as a year-round research facility and academic center in ecological sciences. The Station is located on 80 acres at Yellow Bay on Flathead Lake, some 85 miles north of Missoula near Kalispell and Glacier National Park. Up to 110 students can room in cabins and the G. W. Prescott dorm/apartment facility; board is provided by the station's commissary. Several large academic and office structures complement the state-of-the-art Freshwater Research Laboratory at this field campus.

During the annual 8-week summer session, formal courses are offered which emphasize field investigations of the rich flora and fauna of the diverse aquatic and terrestrial habitats found at or near the Station. Faculty from UM and other universities throughout the United States and Canada teach the field-oriented courses of the summer program. The formal courses each carry three to five semester credits for either advanced undergraduate or graduate academic programs.

A Bachelor of Arts in Biology with an Option in Field Ecology is available through the Division of Biological Sciences which requires summer courses offered at the Flathead Lake Biological Station.  This Field Ecology Option requires students to take advantage of at least one summer of courses at the Biological station, while allowing additional summers of coursework to apply to degree requirements as well.  The required coursework includes Landscape Ecology, Conservation Ecology and either the Aquatic Emphasis (Stream Ecology, Lake Ecology) or the Terrestrial Emphasis (Ecology of Forests and Grasslands, Alpine Ecology).  Students may complete BIOE 370/371 (BIOL 340/341) General Ecology and Lab on the UM campus or take BIOL 342 Field Ecology at the Biological Station.  Students who plan their academic years and summer programs carefully and who enroll for two summer sessions at the Biological Station may be able to complete degree requirements in three years.

Biological Station courses can also substitute for major program requirements in the Division of Biological Sciences and Wildlife Biology. Credits are transferable to most universities in the United States and Canada. Students must have completed introductory courses in biology, mathematics, ecology, and chemistry before enrolling in courses of the program.

Biological Station courses are offered for two or four-weeks during the eight-week session.

  • BIOL 342 Field Ecology
  • BIOL 343 Ecological Methods & Analysis
  • BIOL 451 Landscape Ecology
  • BIOL 452 Conservation Ecology
  • BIOL 453 Lake Ecology
  • BIOL 454 Stream Ecology
  • BIOL 458 Ecology of Forests and Grasslands
  • BIOL 459 Alpine Ecology
  • BIOL 492 Seminar in Ecology and Resource Management
  • BIOB 490 (BIOL 497) Advanced Undergraduate Research
  • BIOB 499 (BIOL 499) Undergraduate (Senior) Thesis in Field Ecology
  • BIOB 596 (BIOL 596) Independent Study

In addition to these summer courses, the Biological Station offers opportunities for graduate studies in aquatic biology and ecology. After formal admission to a graduate degree-granting program, research programs leading to M.S. or Ph.D. degrees can be designed by the student, academic departments at the University, and the faculty of the Station. Research assistantships are often available for students working on advanced degrees at FLBS. Numerous scholarships are also available annually for students enrolled at UM/FLBS.

Enrollment Procedures

Students interested in participating in the annual summer academic program must apply by mid-May. Application forms are available from the Biological Station website ( or may be obtained in the Division of Biological Sciences office at UM.

Students interested in pursuing graduate work at FLBS should apply in writing to Graduate Admissions, Division of Biological Sciences, The University of Montana-Missoula, 32 Campus Drive #4824, Missoula, MT 59812-4824, or contact the Director.

For detailed information about academic and research opportunities at the Flathead Lake Biological Station, please visit the station web page ( or contact:

Flathead Lake Biological Station
University of Montana
32125 Bio Station Lane
Polson, MT 59860-6815
Phone: (406) 982-3301
Fax: (406) 982-3201
Web Page:

Registrar's Office

Lommasson Center 201

Phone: (406) 243-2995

Fax: (406) 243-4807