Coastal Ecosystems

Focus Areas > Coastal Ecosystems

USC Sea Grant's vision is for a healthier urban environment, reflected by cleaner coastal waters that afford better opportunities for recreation and commerce and the protection of human and ecosystem health.

Coastal Ecology and Biology

Millions of Californians and visitors explore the shores each year, enjoying the rocky intertidal zone, which is filled with tidepools, brilliant anemones, sea stars, crabs and other creatures clinging tightly to the rocks...more

Aquatic Invasive Species

The increasing presence of aquatic invasive species in native assemblages poses a worldwide threat to coastal ecosystems, and coastal regions are among the most heavily invaded of all marine habitats. It is...more

Harmful Algal Blooms

Certain algae (i.e. Pseudo-nitzschia a and Alexandrium catenell) are capable of toxic or harmful algal blooms (HABs), releasing compounds (for example, domoic acid....more

Water Quality

Water pollution problems in the Los Angeles region can be severe. Not only is public health at risk but also the health of marine ecosystems because intense urban development, runoff from streets and surfaces transports...more


It is well documented that many California coastal environments are contaminated, such as industrialized and developed shorelines, ports and marinas, and in regions around wastewater treatment plant outfalls. Potential hazards...more

Marine Protected Areas

Marine protected areas (MPAs) are discreet geographic marine or estuarine areas designed to protect or conserve marine life and habitat. There are three types of MPAs recognized in California...more

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  • Los Angeles, CA 90089-0373
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