Reserve Research Guidelines

The Natural Reserve System is available for research in a wide variety of disciplines, including but not limited to: academic studies in art, science, social sciences and humanities. We welcome a variety of researchers, who may be graduate students, undergraduate students, faculty, professional scientists/researchers, amateur scientists/researchers, high school students under teacher supervision, interns, etc. Reserve staff can provide more specific information about conducting research at their reserve.

The following guidelines can help you decide whether your research project is appropriate for the NRS.


  1. Projects should be based on peer-reviewed research proposals that meet reasonable criteria of scientific rigor.
  2. Research conducted on NRS sites is expected to be suitable for publication in an appropriate academic venue.
  3. Projects involving vertebrate animals may require UC Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) approval; other agencies, i.e. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, California Department of Fish & Wildlife, etc., may have additional permitting requirements. Researchers are responsible for seeking out and fulfilling these additional requirements. Copies of IACUC and additional permits must also be submitted to prior to work beginning. Required permits and/or IACUC approval can add up to 6 months to an application, so plan well ahead.
  4. The NRS prohibits research or other activities that translocate non-native genotypes to or from NRS sites. Research proposals that include the potential for the escape of non-native genotypes and potentially risking long-term impact to a NRS reserve will be reviewed by the NRS Universitywide Advisory Committee and ad-hoc NRS Non-native Genotype Committee prior to approval.
  5. Research teams are led by a principal investigator and will actively use the NRS Reserve Application Management System (RAMS) to manage project applications and reservations. The application process for research projects should start with contacting the reserve director(s) of potential sites to discuss project requirements and suitability. Once given the go-ahead, RAMS is the portal for making arrangements to use a reserve:
  • Log on to RAMS and follow the instructions to set up a user profile. Save the login information for the duration of your work within the NRS.
  • A new application must be submitted for each project.
  • Reservations to visit can be posted against one or more project at any time once the application is approved.
  • The reserve director will be notified automatically and will review the application and reservation requests.
  • The application is not approved until the applicant is notified by the Reserve Director.
  • Download and submit reserve waivers of liability as required.
  • The group leader is responsible for making sure each member of the research team is aware of reserve policies and guidelines listed on the application.
  • Facility rates vary from reserve to reserve. Researchers generally receive top priority when making facility reservations. There is no charge for day use at most reserves.
  1. Alterations and infrastructure must be removed at the conclusion of each project and site(s) must be restored.
  2. The NRS and the names of specific reserves used must be cited in the credits or acknowledgements associated with any research products.
  3. Metadata describing any dataset obtained from an NRS reserve must be submitted to the NRS Metadata Database.
  4. An annual summary of research must be submitted to the reserve director by June 30 of each year for publication in the NRS Annual Report. Please include in the summary:
  • A brief summary of your research accomplishments, including the title of the project, a list of all participants on the project with their affiliations.
  • A list of your current publications based on research done on the reserve.
  • Two copies of all published materials, including conference proceedings, abstracts, and technical reports (one bound copy only of theses and dissertations) resulting from your research.
  • Source of funding for your project, dates of funding, and the funding amount.