Research With Us

The Lake Superior Reserve welcomes research partnerships that expand our understanding of the St. Louis River Estuary, Lake Superior and the communities on their shores. With exceptional facilities in a unique waterfront location, the Reserve is designed to offer support for research partners as well as graduate and undergraduate students

Lake Superior Reserve Site Profile

Each Reserve in the NERRS offers a Site Profile, a detailed overview of their estuary intended to fully orient researchers and others to the landscape. The Site Profile includes an overview of the Lake Superior Reserve, as well as in-depth characterization of the environmental, biological, ecological and social-ecological setting.

Research Partnerships and Grant Collaborations

Please contact the Reserve Director to discuss funding opportunities and partnerships. Note that we request at least two weeks’ advance notice to generate letters of support. The University of Wisconsin-Madison Research and Sponsored Programs Office requires advance notice of at least one month for any funding proposal that obligates the Reserve. 

The NERRS Science Collaborative

Each year, the NERRS Science Collaborative funds science that supports coastal decision making at Reserves across the country.  Partners of the Lake Superior Reserve are invited to craft proposals that align with our annual management needs.  Please contact Reserve Director Deanna Erickson to discuss and align proposal concepts.

Tools for your research

The Reserve’s research facilities include a meeting room, student work stations and a 1,300 sq. ft. dockside laboratory. The lab is available to visiting and partnering researchers and houses equipment for water quality analysis and other scientific research.


The Reserve is home to a 25-foot vessel that enhances its scientific research, monitoring and educational missions. The vessel is intended for operation in protected waters and near-shore environments, making it an ideal boat to navigate the St. Louis River Estuary and coastal Lake Superior. It comes outfitted with a high-resolution sidescan sonar that produces detailed images of lakebeds and river bottoms. An onboard side crane allows loading and unloading of bulky equipment needed for other research endeavors. The vessel, named R2512, is assigned under an agreement with NOAA. Contact Reserve Director with questions.

R.D. Browne

The Reserve owns and operates a 19 ft. shallow draft, high-capacity boat, which is available—along with an operator—to visiting researchers and educators. Contact Reserve Director with questions.

R.D. Browne Research boat docked at Reserve on Superior Bay


• SEAL AA3 AutoAnalyzer
• Milli-Q Direct 3 Type I water
• Water Quality Sondes (EXO, 6600)
• Fluorometer
• Autoclave
• Analytical balance
• Drying oven
• Chemical hood
• Vacuum pumps, fridge and freezer

Additionally, the Lake Superior Research Institute (LSRI), housed at UW-Superior, maintains several aquatic biology and chemistry labs. Visiting researchers should contact LSRI directly for more information.

Local Lodging

There are many local lodging options that allow visiting faculty, students, researchers, and professionals to stay within a short distance of the Reserve’s Barker’s Island facilities–and experience the beauty of the Twin Ports of Superior and Duluth.

UW-Superior offers dormitory space free of charge for visiting students and researchers when rooms are available. Space can be arranged by contacting the Reserve Director.