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Southern California Research Learning Center

The rocky intertidal zones, or tidepools, are home to an abundant and diverse marine life, including sea urchins and anemones. Park scientists at Cabrillo National Monument and Channel Islands National Park have been studying tidepools for over 30 years to determine the health of this ecosystem. Photo by NPS.

The Southern California Research Learning Center (SCRLC) was established in 2002 to facilitate collaborative research and education in the Southern California area with focus on the Mediterranean ecoregion and the three national parks within it: Cabrillo National Monument, Channel Islands National Park, and Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. These three NPS areas represent outstanding examples of ecosystems supported by the Southern California's Mediterranean type climate. Southern California is one of only five locations in the world containing Mediterranean habitats. These areas have been highly favored and impacted by humans for habitation, agriculture, and recreation and, as a result, are one of the most highly altered on the planet and contain the least amount of undisturbed area of any ecosystem.

The SCRLC is interested in increasing the effectiveness and communication of research and science in the three national parks within the Mediterranean ecoregion. Of particular interest are topics that enhance understanding and management of the interface between the human and natural communities. Topics include:

  • The effects of urbanization on species and their habitats
  • Status and trends in marine ecosystems
  • Effects of habitat fragmentation
  • Effects of non-native species invasion and restoration actions
  • Societal attitudes toward protected areas and NPS management actions
  • History of physical and ecological change of the parks
  • History of humans and their cultures within the Mediterranean type climate


Currently, the SCRLC is a virtual center because it does not have dedicated housing or laboratory space for researchers. The SCRLC, however, works closely with parks in facilitating and coordinating the use of existing facilities for staff, researchers, and partners.

National Park Affiliations



Southern California Research Learning Center
401 West Hillcrest Drive
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360

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Last Updated: December 17, 2013