Scripps Reef | MARINe

Scripps Reef

Click here for Long-Term trends

Click here for Biodiversity Survey findings

Scripps Reef is located in the South Coast region of California, midway between the Scripps Institution of Oceanography Pier and Black's Canyon in La Jolla, in the Scripps UC Coastal Reserve. The site is located in an Area of Special Biological Significance (San Diego Marine Life Refuge ASBS), within the San Diego-Scripps Coastal State Marine Conservation Area, and is near the Scripps Reef Mussel Watch site. This site receives a high number of visitors, including tidepoolers, students, and scientists. Various class projects and research studies have been conducted here by UC San Diego and Scripps personnel, with authorization and documentation by the Scripps Coastal Reserve. This gently sloping site consists of moderately uneven terrain, containing many boulders and crevices.

Scripps Reef biodiversity survey overview

Scripps Reef is dominated by a mixture of consolidated sedimentary and metamorphic bedrock, boulder fields, and sandy beach, and the area surrounding the site is comprised of sandy beach with upper intertidal boulders and rock outcrops. Sand can fluctuate over one meter within a single year at this site and may play a dominant role in structuring the community. The primary coastal orientation of this site is west.

Long-Term Monitoring Surveys at Scripps Reef were established in 1997, and were previously done by University of California Santa Barbara, but are currently done by Cabrillo National Monument. Long-Term MARINe surveys currently target the following species: Chthamalus/Balanus (Acorn Barnacles), Pollicipes (Goose Barnacle), Mytilus (California Mussel), Silvetia (Golden Rockweed), Red Algal Turf, Phyllospadix (Surfgrass), and Pisaster (Ochre Star). Click here to view Long-Term trends at this site.

Scripps Reef long-term monitoring overview

Biodiversity Surveys were done in 2002, 2006, 2010, 2013, and 2020. The Biodiversity Survey grid encompasses one section that is approximately 29.6 meters (along shore) x 40 meters (seaward). Click here to view Biodiversity Survey findings at this site.

This site is also regularly surveyed by LiMPETS (Long-term Monitoring Program and Experiential Training for Students) which is an environmental monitoring and education program for students, educators, and volunteer groups. You can access site specific data from this citizen scientist and educational broad scale trend monitoring program here.

For more information about Scripps Reef, please contact Keith Lombardo (

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