Western Colorado College professor, Dr. John Johnson, first visited the abandoned mining town of Gothic, Colorado on July 14, 1919. Recognizing the rich diversity of the local ecosystems, he began bringing students to study amid Gothic’s ruins. Since 1928, when RMBL was officially founded, thousands of students and scientists have followed in Dr. Johnson's footsteps, making the ecosystems around Gothic some of the most intensively studied in the world and making RMBL an internationally renowned center for scientific research and education.
Home to one of the largest annual migrations of field biologists, RMBL provides logistical support for scientists and students, including access to living quarters, research laboratories, and protected research sites. RMBL focuses on the importance of preserving and providing access to historical data about the local ecosystems. As scientists address ever more sophisticated questions about a dynamic world, RMBL is a vital resource for discovering nature’s fundamental ecological and evolutionary processes.
RMBL invests in its people and places, its communications systems, and its physical plant. Scientists take full advantage of the research done by previous RMBL scientists using modern bioinformatics tools. They track the environment year round using automated sensors. While better training the next generation, they develop a comprehensive understanding of biological processes that illuminates all ecosystems. RMBL serves as a unique resource for policy makers who need to understand a changing and complex world.