NRS reserves span a north-to-south distance of 800 km (500 miles), and an east-to-west distance of 760 km (470 miles). The vast reach of the system enables researchers to compare species and conditions in one portion of the state with those of another, at a spatial magnitude relevant to entire ecosystems. For this reason, a number of major research projects involve transects featuring multiple NRS reserves.
Using next-generation remote sensing technologies, the California Heartbeat Initiative tracks the pulse of water through state wildlands. The project will correlate plant reactions to climate conditions, enabling scientists to monitor the water status of ecosystems on a landscape scale. The information can be used to produce forecasts of environmental health.
CALeDNA is a citizen science initiative to create a biodiversity index of California using environmental DNA (eDNA) from soil, sediment, and water samples. The program hosts BioBlitzes to give people the opportunity to explore NRS Reserves while learning about the natural world from their peers.
A platform for synthesizing past, current and future environmental change research, and for understanding and potentially mitigating future climate impacts, leveraging the UC Natural Reserve System as a biologically and geographically diverse laboratory; 24 reserves.
A project tracking the dates of life stage events (leaf out, flowering, etc.) in selected native plant species to observe the impact of climate change on natural communities; more than 100 sites monitored at eight reserves.
Replicate, high-precision climate station equipment using identical data collection protocols provides data to reserve users; 26 stations at 22 reserves.
Large-scale, integrated studies of the coastal ocean, rocky intertidal, and kelp forest ecosystems of the U.S. West Coast designed to obtain a comprehensive understanding of how these systems function; seven reserves.