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UC Davis Natural Reserve System

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Engineering and environmental technology intersect with biological and environmental sciences at UC Reserves.


The Natural Reserve System was created to encompass and protect California's natural diversity for research and teaching, and to offer scientists havens where field work may be conducted over long periods without interruption.

NRS reserves are outdoor laboratories. Here, researchers can analyze natural systems; comprehend important, basic, ecological principles; and attain better understanding of how humankind impacts the world and how the world supports us.

Reserves support large-scale interdisciplinary initiatives as well as smaller, short-lived projects. Some reserves serve as representative sites for carrying out studies with regional implications. Others are unique and so allow scientists to conduct site-specific research work that cannot be carried out anywhere else in the world. Yet, at all NRS reserves, scientists pursue their studies untroubled by the frequent and unpredictable human disturbances that afflict those who attempt to work on public land. The reserves themselves remain relatively free from the varying degrees of disruption that natural habitats elsewhere sustain under the pressures of growing population, urbanization, and intensified use of natural resources. This happy state of affairs means that scientists can use NRS reserves to establish baseline conditions and accurately measure environmental change.

For more information on conducting research at the UC Davis reserves, please go to the individual reserve Web sites and/or contact the appropriate reserve director.

The Mathias Grant program offers funding opportunities for graduate student research on NRS Reserves.

This link highlights examples of current and recent research initiatives at the reserves.

Plant Specimens Database