The Prairie Research Institute

Climate Change Research


As home to the 5 State Scientific Surveys, research is being done across the Institute. Here are some of the projects our scientists are working on:



INHS researchers are investigating the effects climate change has on species and ecosystems.

With many long term monitoring projects, data collected by INHS researchers is available for scientists to look at changes over time.

The Critical Trends Assessment Program collects data on changes in landscape and species across habitats.

The Scientific Collections of INHS contain over 9.5 million specimens dating back to the 1850s.

The Great Rivers Field Station and the Illinois River Biological Station are part of the USGS Long-Term Resource Monitoring.


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Biochar is a charcoal-like product produced when burning biomass for energy. Researchers are looking at ways to use this product for carbon sequestration and also improve its ability to sequester carbon long-term.

Scientists are exploring ways to produce biodiesel from waste streams, such as waste cooking oil.

The Sustainable Electronics Initiative (SEI) is dedicated to the development and implementation of a more sustainable system for designing, producing, using, and managing electronic devices.

The Technical Assistance program helps businesses and organizations reduce all types of waste as well as toxic releases into the air or water. It also looks at ways companies and communities can improve energy conservation measures.

The Zero Waste Illinois helps organizations achieve zero waste at every step by being a resource for innovative disposal and reuse of materials. The Technical Assistance engineers provide information and technical assistance that help organizations improve their environmental footprint.


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 The Office of the State Climatologist researches trends in climate across Illinois and beyond.

The Midwest Regional Climate Center is a cooperative program between the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) and the Illinois State Water Survey.



The Energy Research & Development section is actively researching and using mitigation strategies to reduce the amount of CO2 vented to the atmosphere.  Their work on Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) of CO2 demonstrates that this technology can be highly effective for reducing industrially produced greenhouse gases from reaching the atmosphere.