Linked Experimental Ecosystem Facility
BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN LABORATORY & FIELD
The Notre Dame Linked Experimental Ecosystem Facility, or ND-LEEF, is a globally unique research facility that houses four man-made experimental watersheds, each consisting of an interconnected pond, stream, and wetland. Scientists use ND-LEEF to conduct experiments in a field-like setting but in a more controlled environment than one can find in nature. Each watershed is comprised of two stream reaches, one pond, and one wetland.
ND-LEEF is unique because the pond, stream, and wetland in each watershed are connected—an experimental research design that is intended to mimic nature. The connected configuration of these watersheds is especially important when investigating issues related to environmental change, which often cascade through several ecosystem types. The streams, ponds, and wetlands at ND-LEEF can also be disconnected from one another for a given experiment, providing scientists with maximum flexibility in designing research projects.
BRINGING THE CLASSROOM OUTDOORS
ND-LEEF was born out of a close partnership with St. Patrick’s County Park that provides an unrivaled opportunity for scientific and environmental outreach to regional school groups and other park visitors from South Bend, St. Joseph County, and surrounding communities.
Built in 2014, the Morrison Family Education and Outreach Pavilion serves as the hub for outreach programming at ND-LEEF and as a source of information about Notre Dame research for park visitors.
EXPLORING NATURE FROM HOME
In 2015, ND-LEEF became home to a pair of bald eagles, which have continued to return each season and fledge eaglets. The facility's in-nest eagle camera provides a rare perspective into the day-to-day life of the bald eagles.
Need more information?
Please contact Brett Peters, ND-LEEF assistant director, to learn more about the facility.