Natural Reserves and Environmental Facilities
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Natural Reserves and Environmental Facilities

Arboretum and Herbarium

  • The UCI Arboretum is a 12.5-acre botanic garden and research facility administered by the School of Biological Sciences. The Arboretum hosts a diversity of research projects conducted by undergraduate and graduate students, post-doctoral scholars and faculty.
  • Address: Located on the UCI North Campus, just south of the corner of Campus Drive and Jamboree Road.
  • Contact: Peter Bowler, Director
    Phone: Arboretum Office 949-824-5833

Burns Piñon Ridge Reserve

Burns Piñon Ridge Reserve is one of three UC Irvine Natural Reserve Facilities used frequently by the School of Biological Sciences for both research and teaching. The Burns Reserve is located in San Bernardino County, 1.2 miles north of Yucca Valley. Field courses include desert ecology, field zoology methods, natural history, biology of deserts, field ecology, botany, environmental ethics, freshwater biology, and others.


UCI Greenhouse

The UCI Greenhouse is a 9,000-square-foot growth facility that supports teaching and research needs for the School of Biological Sciences. The Greenhouse is divided into 15 growth areas that are individually programmable for temperature. Greenhouse Staff provides watering, pest management, and basic maintenance for plants used in research and teaching. Additional facilities include common-use lab space, a lath house adjacent to the Greenhouse for plants requiring ambient conditions, an autoclave for soil sterilization, and storage space for greenhouse supplies, which are provided by investigators. Limited environmental growth chamber space is also available.

  • Contact: Weigang Yang, Greenhouse Manager
    Phone: 949-824-6049

Nature Reserve of Orange County

NROC consists of 37,000 acres of permanently protected open space nestled within a 208,000-acre reserve in inland Orange County. Research by UCI biologists may be approved if compatible with habitat and wildlife preservation.

San Joaquin Marsh Reserve

The San Joaquin Marsh Reserve is one of three UC Irvine Natural Reserve Facilities used frequently by the School of Biological Sciences. The marsh is located within a ten-minute walk from UC Irvine, making it convenient for day use by faculty and students. It is one of the last remnants of wetlands that once covered much of Orange County’s flood plain and more than 200 bird species (20 nesting) have been sighted in the reserve, including two resident endangered bird species.

  • Location: Irvine, CA adjacent to UC Irvine’s main campus
  • Contact: Peter Bowler
    Phone: 949-824-6031

Steele Burnand Anza-Borrego Desert Research Center

Steele Burnand Anza-Borrego Research Center is one of three UC Irvine Natural Reserve Facilities used frequently by the School of Biological Sciences. Anza-Borrego is located in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, the largest state park in California and one of the largest desert protected areas in the western US.

  • Location: San Diego County, city of Borrego Springs
  • Contact: Jim Dice, Departments of Earth System Science and Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

UC Irvine Ecological Preserve

The UCI Ecological Preserve is a 60 acre site on the southern edge of the campus located adjacent University Hills, the Irvine Research Park, and the San Joaquin Transportation Corridor. It is a part of the UCI main campus and is managed by the UCI Office of Natural Reserves for the School of Biological Sciences. The Preserve is enrolled in the Nature Reserve of Orange County.

Ecologically, the Preserve consists of coastal sage scrub and disturbed grassland habitats, and it currently sustains seven nesting pairs of the threatened California gnatcatcher and four pairs of the coastal cactus wren – both sensitive species associated with coastal sage scrub.

The Preserve is used for research and is a cherished and scenic campus asset.  It’s panoramic view encompasses much of the campus, with the Pacific Ocean and Catalina Island as a westerly backdrop. The Ecological Preserve has seen extensive research efforts over the years, including many publications, theses, and surveys of plants and animals ranging from bobcats, California gnatcatchers, and cactus wrens to research focused upon restoration ecology and plant-animal interactions.

UCI Ecological Preserve Publications (PDF)

UC Natural Reserve System

The UC Natural Reserve System is a network of protected natural areas throughout California. Its 38 sites include more than 750,000 acres, making it the largest university-administered reserve system in the world. Founded in 1965 to provide undisturbed environments for research, education, and public service, the Natural Reserve System contributes to the understanding and wise stewardship of the earth.

San Joaquin Marsh Reserve, Steele Burnand Anza-Borrego Desert Research Center, and Burns Piñon Ridge Reserve are all part of the UC Natural Reserve system.

Crystal Cove State Park & Marine Research Facility

UCI, in partnership with Crystal Cove State Park and the Crystal Cove Alliance supports the Crystal Cove research facility for use in small-scale and low-impact scientific research.

  • Contact for UCI or other University of California researchers:
    For scientists not affiliated with the University of California:
    Phone: 949-494-3539

UC ANR South Coast Research and Extension Center (SCREC)

The South Coast Research and Extension Center (SCREC) was established by the University of California in 1956 as a representative site for agricultural research in California’s south coastal plain-temperate climatic zone. The center also provides labor, equipment, facilities and technical and management support to UC academics and to personnel from cooperating, non-UC organizations such as USDA.

  • Contact: Darren L. Haver, Ph.D., Director
    Phone: 949-653-1810
    Location: 7601 Irvine Boulevard, Irvine, CA 92618