With its pristine marine ecosystem, clear streams, wild canyons, and relative absence of human impacts, the Big Creek Reserve remains an area of rare, unspoiled grandeur in an otherwise rapidly developing California coastline. In Big Creek’s tapes...
I gained a deep appreciation for how all the scientific branches work together. And I also learned that it's important to develop social skills as well, because it's not just about the science, but also teaching others about what you learn.
- Northern Arizona University
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With its pristine marine ecosystem, clear streams, wild canyons, and relative absence of human impacts, the Big Creek Reserve remains an area of rare, unspoiled grandeur in an otherwise rapidly developing California coastline. In Big Creek’s tapestry of environments, researchers are beginning to search for answers to key ecological questions. How do animal and plant communities in pristine wildlands develop and change over time? How do protected Big Sur populations compare to those found outside reserve boundaries? How can long term field research help us better manage Big Sur’s irreplaceable natural resources? Through participation in hands-on research projects we will learn important sampling protocol and be part of exciting new efforts to address these pressing environmental questions. Field study projects will be selected from research priorities that may include firsthand assessments of sea otter and seal population distributions, ecological mapping and surveys of key stream and intertidal habitats, and on-site studies of Big Creek’s biologically diverse animal and plant communities. These important projects provide unique opportunities to gain an enriched understanding of Big Sur ecology, provide hands on experience in conducting ecological research and better manage Big Sur’s natural resources into the future.
Location: Santa Cruz, CA Accommodations: Primarily camping Credits: 5 quarter credits or 3.35 semester credits