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Southwestern Research Station
Cochise County, Arizona
31.8833° -109.2051°


The Southwestern Research Station is a year round field station serving biologists, geologists, and anthropologists interested in studying the diverse environments and biotas of the Chiricahua Mountains in southeastern Arizona. The mountains of the Chiricahuas are part of the Madrean Pine-Oak Woodlands of the southwestern United States and Mexico. These pine-oak woodlands have an insular-type of distribution, in that they are forested mountain ranges isolated from one another by intervening valleys of grassland, desert, and other shrub-land habitats. As a result, these isolated mountain ranges of the Madrean Pine-Oak Woodlands are commonly referred to as "Sky Islands". Because of the high species diversity and high level of endemism of these sky islands, Conservation International has designated the Madrean Pine-Oak Woodlands as one of the world's rare "Biodiversity Hotspots". Vegetation types in the Chiricahuas range from semi-desert grasslands and Chihuahuan desert scrub (starting around 1,341 m elevation) to montane mixed conifer forest at the highest elevations (2,590 to 3,000 m). Due to the area's geographical location at the crossroads of the temperate and subtropical realms, rare species found nowhere else in the United States occur here, resulting in a unique opportunity for field studies. The SWRS currently has the capacity to house 62 guests in 12 residential units. Facilities for use by scientists and class/workshop participants include several laboratory facilities, both indoor and outdoor, and a new Education Building with a 140m² classroom. Additional common-use structures at the SWRS include a collections room, main office, maintenance shop, computer room, and Main House. The Main House includes a full kitchen and conference room.

Note: we hope to build new dormitories in winter 2010/11. The dorms will increase number of rooms from 12 to 37.

Customized identification guides
under development

Checklists with images, maps, and links

Albums of site participants

More information



  • Dawn Wilson, Director, Southwestern Research Station -- dwilson@amnh.org --
  • Nancy Lowe, Outreach Coordinator, Discover Life -- nancy@discoverlife.org -- 404-272-4526
Updated: 30 September, 2010
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