Stairs | MARINe

Click here for Long-Term trends

Click here for Biodiversity Survey findings

Stairs is located in the Central Coast region of California, on Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB). This site is located within the Vandenberg State Marine Reserve. The site's location on VAFB largely restricts human use, although the reef is occasionally used by military personnel for fishing. This gently sloping site consists of moderately uneven terrain, containing few cracks and folds.

Stairs biodiversity survey overview

Stairs is dominated by consolidated bedrock, and the area surrounding the site is comprised of a mixture of consolidated bedrock and sandy beach. The primary coastal orientation of this site is west/southwest.

Long-Term Monitoring Surveys at Stairs were established in 1992, and are done by University of California Santa Cruz. Long-Term MARINe surveys currently target the following species and/or areas: Chthamalus/Balanus (Acorn Barnacles), Mytilus (California Mussel), Silvetia (Golden Rockweed), Endocladia (Turfweed), Recovery, Phyllospadix (Surfgrass), and Pisaster (Ochre Star). In addition, motile invertebrates, barnacle recruitment, mussel size structure, and water temperature are monitored at this site. Click here to view Long-Term trends at this site.

Stairs long-term monitoring overview

Biodiversity Surveys were done in 2001, 2003, 2004, 2017, and 2022. The Biodiversity Survey grid encompasses two sections that are approximately 9 meters (along shore) x 50 meters (seaward), and 18 meters (along shore) x 50 meters (seaward). Click here to view Biodiversity Survey findings at this site.

Voucher specimens of selected invertebrate and seaweed species were collected from this site by California State University Fullerton in 2017. The MARINe vouchering effort was designed to collect and archive samples of species that are monitored using MARINe protocols. Archived samples from this site at the Smithsonian Institution (invertebrates) and University of California Berkeley Herbarium (algae) are identified as BOEM-MARINE-STA-120317.

For more information about Stairs, please contact Pete Raimondi (