Institute for the Study of Ecological and Evolutionary Climate Impacts

Institute for the Study of Ecological and Evolutionary Climate Impacts 1

Institute for the Study of Ecological and Evolutionary Climate Impacts • ISEECI

The UC-wide Institute for the Study of Ecological and Evolutionary Climate Impacts (ISEECI) offers a platform for synthesizing past, current and future environmental change research, and for understanding and potentially mitigating future climate impacts. ISEECI leverages the UC Natural Reserve System as a biologically and geographically diverse laboratory to study the effects of climate change on California ecosystems.

Led by a consortium of UC scientists, ISEECI coordinates mechanistic studies and biotic surveys across broad geographic scales. Through this network, we seek to test the feasibility of novel approaches for discovering ecosystem-wide responses to climate change. We then assess how inferences collected across sites might be used to mitigate impacts to ecosystems, ecosystem services and cascading impacts on human systems. We are developing “next generation” sampling protocols to capture ecological, genetic and physiological responses. This information will provide an integrated understanding of the impact of climate change on California’s biota and the services these organisms provide.

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  • Aim 1: Assemble historical records in and around NRS sites to assess ecosystem-wide impacts of climate change, linking plant and animal studies among marine, aquatic and terrestrial realms.
  • Aim 2: Launch a new program of NRS sampling, monitoring, large-scale and long-term data management, and experiments to understand mechanisms by which climate drives ecological and evolutionary processes.
  • Aim 3: Link these data together with mechanistic models to predict changes to ecosystems and potential impacts to ecosystem services that threaten human adaptation to climate change.

Feedback among these three aims will catalyze new experiments to take critical measurements and test key mechanisms underlying our hypotheses and model predictions.

ISEECI will launch initial surveys at 24 NRS reserves (yellow circles) and 4 other key sites (red) that form north/south and east/west gradients across northern, central, and southern CA. These gradients cross transition zones needed to predict

 and understand patterns of climate change. Gradients are critical for understanding variations in responses because they capture geographic differences in climatic change experienced across the state. Additionally, sites with different climates can be used as proxies for understanding and testing biotic impacts of climate change.


The mission of the ISEECI is to enable large-scale and coordinated research focused on 1) identifying mechanisms by which climate drives ecological and evolutionary processes and 2) detecting vulnerabilities and predicting outcomes of climate change for human systems and sustainability. Utilizing the diverse habitats encompassed by UC Natural Reserves and adjacent lands, our goals are to create an informed and engaged citizenry, facilitate wise stewardship of California’s biodiversity, and influence climate-related public policy. [su_divider top=”no” style=”dotted” divider_color=”#6fb7db” size=”2″ margin=”20″]

NRS Reserves in initial ISEECI studies

1   Angelo Coast Range Reserve
2   Sagehen Creek Field Station
3   Jenny Pygmy Forest
4   Chickering American River Reserve
ML   Mount Lassen Volcanic National Park

5   McLaughlin Natural Reserve
6   Quail Ridge Reserve
8   Bodega Marine Reserve
9   Jepson Prairie Reserve
10  Valentine Camp
11   Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Laboratory
12   Yosemite Field Station
14   Merced Vernal Pools and Grassland Reserve
15   White Mountain Research Center
16   Año Nuevo Island Reserve
18   Fort Ord Natural Reserve
19   Hastings Natural History Reservation
20   Landels-Hill Big Creek Reserve

21   Kenneth S. Norris Rancho Marino Reserve
22   Sweeney Granite Mountains Reserve
27   Stunt Ranch Santa Monica Mountains Reserve
28   Santa Cruz Island Reserve
30   James San Jacinto Mountains Reserve
33   Boyd Deep Canyon Desert Research Center
37   Elliott Chaparral Reserve

Non-NRS reserves
CP   Carrizo Plain National Monument
DV   Death Valley National Park
LV Lassen Volcanic National Park
TR   Tejon Ranch Conservancy