Conserving Marine Life along Catalina's Coast

Ocean Health

Conserving Marine Life along Catalina's Coast

Join scientists on California’s Catalina Island as you help to monitor the health of a unique marine ecosystem.

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The facts

Why the research is important

Why the research is important

Since the early 1970s, nearly 90% of Catalina’s land has been protected, including 62 miles of coastline.

Climate change and human activities are impacting key marine life, water conditions, and more along Catalina’s coast. Data is urgently needed to help manage this critical habitat.

Contribute to Pacific coast datasets and help to conserve a valuable marine ecosystem.

Contribute to Pacific coast datasets and help to conserve a valuable marine ecosystem.

There is mounting evidence that Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) increase the health and abundance of key marine species. MPAs are therefore considered to be one of the best ways to safeguard the health of coastal ecosystems. Maintaining MPAs, however, and expanding marine protections to new regions, requires dedicated conservation and enforcement efforts. These efforts require a substantial amount of ongoing monitoring and data.

The results from this study will feed directly into Catalina’s coastal policies and enforcement practices for MPAs, helping to ensure that these protected areas receive the support they need to function effectively. Even more broadly, the research findings will be used to support MPA management in California by establishing a baseline dataset and detailed record of biodiversity – including native and non-native species – in the region.

There are numerous threats to the waters surrounding Catalina, including climate change, human activities, and harmful algal blooms. Help scientists and policy makers to ensure they are using the most effective methods to conserve this region. This is your chance to explore coastal sea life while contributing to long-term datasets that will inform policies on Catalina Island and across California’s coastal regions.

About the research area

Two Harbors, Catalina Island, California, U.S., United States, North America & Arctic

Daily life in the field


This is a summary:

The Scientists


Associate Director of the University of Southern California, Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies

ABOUT John Heidelberg

Dr. John Heidelberg is the Associate Director of the University of Southern California Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies. John studies in the field of microbial genomics, specifically the metabolic potential of the common and abundant marine bacteria.



Accommodations and Food

Accommodations and Food


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