Coastal Ecosystems Curricula

Education > Curricula > Coastal Ecosystems Curricula

USC Sea Grant has developed a number of educational resources that focus on coastal ecosystems specific to the Southern California coast. Curricula and tools are available on important management concepts such as marine protected areas, minimizing aquatic invasive species introductions, as well as curricula that focus on important Southern California species such as kelp, garibaldi and our tidepools.

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)

California was the first state to pass a law requiring the establishment of a science-based, statewide network of MPAs. Our Undersea Legacy: A Curriculum Resource for Marine Protected Areas in Southern California was developed by the Southern California Aquarium Collaborative with the goal of providing resources to teachers about MPAs.

Aquatic Invasive Species

The spread of aquatic invasive species threatens our native coastal habitats.  We have developed a series of educational tools to help educators teach about the impacts of invasive species and help stem the release on non-natives into our ecosystems. Curricula have been developed for a broad range of age groups.


Aquatic Invasions! A Menace to the West - toolkit for science centers

A New Home for an Old Friend (PDF of book)

Download Curriculum


Fish Invaders at Gypsy Point (PDF of book)

Download Curriculum


Invaders from Around the World (Movie - English or Spanish)

Download Guiding Questions

Kelp Forests

Kelp forests are important components of marine ecosystems. They are a critical food source and provide habitat for many other ocean organisms.  In Southern California, due to changes in water quality and the near extinction of the sea otters, which led to increases in sea urchin populations who can quickly decimate kelp forests, these forests have been dramatically reduced.  We have developed curriculum that helps spark the interest in restoring our kelp forests.


Garibaldi is the official marine state fish for California and it is protected in our coastal waters. While its range spans from Baja to Monterey, it is most commonly found in Southern California. Our curriculum guides students to learn more about our state fish.


Tidepools provide fun and plentiful opportunities to learn about tides and intertidal coastal organisms along our coast. But, they are also very sensitive habitats. The video below provides guidance on how to enjoy tidepools without harming the organisms who call them their home.


For more information on these curricula and educational tools, please contact Linda Chilton, Director of Education, 213.740.1965.

  • USC Sea Grant
  • 3454 Trousdale Pkwy, CAS 200
  • Los Angeles, CA 90089-0373
  • (213) 740 - 1961