The Ordway-Swisher Biological Station (OSBS) is operated by the University of Florida and comprises over 9,300 acres. It is a year-round field station established for the long-term study and conservation of unique ecosystems through management, research and education. The Station is located approximately 20 miles east of Gainesville in Melrose (Putnam County, Florida). There are two aquatic arrays at Ordway-Swisher, representing the two dominant aquatic features on the landscape: 1) Suggs lake, a shallow surface water lake that is rich in taxa and biologically active in structure and function; and 2) Barco lake, a deep lake connected to ground water.
Site history & management
The forest is maintained by fire and has a relatively open structure: it is managed with prescribed burns at a frequency of 3-4 years.
Ordway-Swisher is dominated by pine and turkey oak (Quercus laevis Walter) vegetation with a grass and forb groundcover. Pines are primarily Longleaf Pines (Pinus palustris Mill.) and Lobolly (P. Taeda) and the dominant perennial grass is wiregrass (Aristida stricta Michx.). Numerous species of other perennial grasses and forbs also present. Mean canopy height is approximately 23 meters.
Dominant soil types at Ordway-Swisher are Candler fine sand, Hyperthermic and uncoated Lamellic Quartzipsamments.
The Ordway-Swisher Biological Station site is designed to study an intact longleaf pine ecosystem, which is one of the historically dominant forest types in the region. The longleaf pine ecosystem spans the region, with deep sandy soils through the central ridgeline from North-to-mid Florida.