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UNDERC has a rich tradition of environmental research. Research at UNDERC incorporates questions of both aquatic and terrestrial systems, including whole lake and field manipulations. There are a variety of resources and facilities to aid researchers. 

  • On-site modern laboratories, including a lakeside wet lab
  • Small and large cattle tanks for mesocosm experiments
  • Aquatic cage systems for small-scale experiments
  • Modern equipment includes a laboratory for basic genetics (DNA extraction and visualization), a laboratory reserved for experiments using radiation, a gas chromatograph, a spectrophotometer, a liquid scintillation counter, analytical balances, and a computer laboratory
  • Wireless high-speed internet access in all laboratory and residential buildings 


In order to preserve the pristine nature of the site, all research activities at UNDERC will be reviewed and must be approved by the Science and Education Advisory Committee and the Land O' Lakes Advisory Board at the University of Notre Dame before a researcher can attend the site.

How to Apply

Research projects at UNDERC need to be pre-approved. Proposed projects are reviewed and assessed not only for their potential scientific advancement but also for their likely impact on the site. This application requests relevant information so that projects undergo careful review to ensure the pristine nature of the site is not compromised. 

The following outlines the steps in the review process.

  1. The researcher contacts UNDERC, to briefly describe the project. This can be a brief written pre-proposal. After review by the Director, the researcher is contacted and told whether to continue on to a full proposal.
  2. With approval of the Director, the researcher completes and submits the Application to Conduct Research. This form is due by March 1 each year, prior to the start of research activities. 
  3. The Application to Conduct Research is reviewed by the UNDERC Science and Education Advisory Committee, which provides a recommendation based on the scientific merit of the proposed research.
  4. The Land O' Lakes Advisory Board meets in early April of each year to review the Application to Conduct Research, based on the recommendations of the UNDERC Science and Education Advisory Committee. This body also considers the potential effect of the proposed research on the pristine nature of UNDERC and its impact on other groups of users.
  5. The final decision of the Land O' Lakes Advisory Board is communicated to the researcher by the UNDERC Director at the end of April.
  6. Once approved, Annual Reports are due every March until the completion of the project.

Research Obligations

Researchers must abide by the protocols described in the proposal submitted for review, by any conditions or stipulations imposed as a result of the review process, and by the regulations included below:

  • All research projects must conform to the UNDERC Laboratory Integrated Safety Plan (160KB)
  • Reviewers are responsible for obtaining the proper Federal and State collecting permits and filing them with the Assistant Director
  • All research projects using vertebrates must have a protocol approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee at the University of Notre Dame and filed with the Assistant Director. Learn more on Notre Dame Research's Animal Research Compliance page.
  • All investigators wishing to use radioactive isotopes must apply to the Radiation Control Committee at the University of Notre Dame to become a Responsible Investigator. Learn more about radiation safety.
  • Researchers are expected to provide their own tools, equipment, and supplies
  • At the conclusion of each field season, all habitats and laboratories must be free of non-UNDERC owned apparatus and equipment


The Application to Conduct Research is due by March 1 each year.


Please contact with any questions relating to conducting research at the site.