Each year, thousands of scientists from around the world conduct field research in the protected landscapes of the Natural Reserve System. The NRS draws investigators for many reasons. This network of natural landscapes represents a living library of California's diverse ecosystems. Reserve lands are protected for the long term, enabling researchers to conduct experiments without fear of the land or their equipment being disturbed. Data archives enable scientists to build on decades of previous research. Overnight accommodations, laboratories, reference collections, Internet access, and other amenities make field work more comfortable and productive.
A number of research projects use multiple NRS reserves to represent a range of biogeographic conditions found in California.
Large national research projects address many of today's most critical environmental problems. NRS reserves are part of several national research projects examining basic processes governing the workings of the environment.
Graduate student support
Recipients of the NRS's Mildred E. Mathias Graduate Research Grants present their work to peers at this biennial symposium held at an NRS reserve. The grants support University of California graduate students conducting research at one or more reserves in the NRS network.
Graduate students seeking to conduct research at NRS reserves are eligible for a variety of grants and other support provided by the NRS, its reserves, or other partners.
Information for researchers
Guidance for those seeking to determine whether NRS reserves are appropriate for their research projects.
Tools to help you comply with data storage and dissemination standards required by the University of California, the National Science Foundation, and a growing number of funding organizations.
The NRS bibliography includes books, papers, and other publications about the NRS or based on research conducted at reserves.
- Reserve research
Find descriptions of current and former research projects by searching the NRS’s Reserve Application Management System (RAMS), which tracks reserve use.
Search for descriptions of scientific datasets (metadata) collected within NRS reserves or search the entire KNB Database (not functional in Safari.) You can submit your NRS metadata through KNB or RAMS.
Lists of plant, vertebrate, and arthropod species that have been collected or observed within reserve boundaries or have ranges that overlap the boundaries of the reserves.
- Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
Geographic and other mapping information about NRS reserves, including vegetation, soil, and other data layers.
- Climate records
Historic and current climate data collected from NRS weather stations.