Bodega Marine Reserve (BMR) is the only marine area protected for research and education on California’s rugged north central coast. Offering a variety of habitats from rocky intertidal and subtidal areas to beaches, dunes, coastal prairie, coastal scrub, wetlands, seagrass, and mudflat habitats, it is a preeminent site for in-depth research on state and national environmental priorities, and an extraordinary training site for terrestrial, marine and coastal field biologists.
The diverse habitats of BMR support a wide variety of flora and fauna, including numerous migratory shorebirds, intertidal invertebrates, coastal bluff plants, and marine algae. Located on site, the UC Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory (BML) provides cutting-edge research facilities and classrooms, conference facilities, boating and diving programs, oceanographic and meteorological data, and much more. Adjoining the reserve is Bodega Marine Life Refuge, established by the California Department of Fish and Game, which extends 300 meters (1,000 feet) offshore and protects important marine habitats, and Bodega Head State Marine Reserve, a no-take marine protected area.
Located 60 miles north of San Francisco, Bodega Marine Reserve supports marine and terrestrial research and education in an area of California unique for the strength of its coastal upwelling, strong influence of marine processes on coastal ecosystems, and diverse soils and geology within the San Andreas Fault zone. Researchers and classes also use BMR as a base to explore sites ranging from San Francisco Bay to Point Arena.
BMR hosts over 40 university classes each year on visits ranging from one-day field trips to semester-long residential classes. Class disciplines range from life sciences such as marine and terrestrial ecology, botany, ichthyology, invertebrate zoology, and entomology, to boating and research diving, to arts and the humanities.
- Climate change and ocean acidification
- Coastal upwelling, nearshore oceanography and hydrodynamics
- Estuaries and land runoff
- Biodiversity and community ecology
- Invasive species
- Contaminants in marine and estuarine environments
- Terrestrial ecology and evolution
- Population genetics
- Effects of environmental conditions and competition on carrion beetles
- Bumble bee reproductive and diapause phenology
- Communication in Artemisia douglasiana
- Ocean acidification research
- Plant-herbivore interactions in seagrass beds
- Sea star recovery
- Patterns of behavioral plasticity in snails
Through a mentorship program, high-school students learn field techniques and pursue individual projects. Thousands of local elementary school students visit annually on field trips. Undergraduate students can take field-based courses taught at Bodega Marine Laboratory that offer a multidisciplinary understanding of coastal systems through hands-on exploration of Bodega Marine Reserve and other sites in the area. Research and land management internships are available for junior college students.
Land Stewardship and Conservation
Management and conservation of coastal prairie, coastal bluff, dunes, and wetland habitats. Coastal prairie demonstration garden.
Special Research of National Significance
Bodega Head in Sonoma County, 113 km (70 mi.) north of San Francisco.
Laboratories; library; classrooms; office space; research vessels and equipment; 40-bed dormitory; 14-bed bunkhouse; 3 cottages/apartments for visiting scientists; lodge with 3 single- and 3 double-occupancy rooms plus shared kitchen.
The reserve bibliography includes citations of journal articles, books, theses, art, and other works published about or based on activities conducted at the reserve.
Director, research coordinator, and reserve steward
221 hectares (545 acres); UC owns 326 acres but manages a total of 6,388 acres that includes Bodega Head State Marine Reserve
Terrestrial: 0 to 58 m (0 to 190 ft.)
Subtidal: 81 m (266 ft.) deep in Bodega Head Marine Reserve
86 cm (34 inches) per year, ranging from 33 to 185 cm (13 to 73 inches) over 32 years