Results from the UC Natural Reserve Resurveys

two people admire a racer

Small mammal surveyors stop 

to admire a racer at Younger Lagoon.

The UCNRS Resurvey project is an ambitious project to document every species - from mosses to mammals - currently present at each of the 40 UC Natural Reserves, starting with the four UCSC Natural Reserves.

For the UCSC Natural Reserves, all data, including photos, field notes and specimens, will be stored and available to the public at the Kenneth S. Norris Center for Natural History. Where previous data already exist, the Resurvey allows researchers to study how species richness has changed over time. Where the Resurvey data are the first of their kind, they will represent a crucial baseline to study future change.

The Resurvey represents a unique way for students to get experience collecting field data, learning to identify local organisms, and working in a natural history museum. The project is a true collaboration between natural history museums and the UC Natural Reserves: learning occurs in the field, and in the museum, training students as natural historians and museum scientists. 

Results After One Quarter

The resurvey began in Spring 2019 at Younger Lagoon Reserve. Compared with the number of species vouchered since 1973 (the earliest recorded voucher from Younger Lagoon), the resurvey team accomplished a tremendous amount in just one quarter. 

Species Vouchered from 1973 - Winter 2019 Species Vouchered in Spring 2019 Percent Increase Number of Interns and Community Members in Spring 2019
Insects 18 218 1211% 2
Lichen and Fungi 10 43 430% 3
Reptiles and Amphibians 8 10 125% 2
Mammals 7 3 0% 0
Plants 138 62 0% 2
Birds 266 15 0% 1

First-Ever Vouchers

The resurvey team documented a huge number of species for the first time ever at Younger Lagoon. For the first time ever, there are now verifiable, publically available records for all of these species at Younger Lagoon. Additionally, the resurvey team documented numerous species for the first time in over 20 years, adding valuable data on which species are persisting at Younger Lagoon over the long term.


First Species Voucher in Over 20 Years First Species Voucher Ever
Insects 0 212
Lichen and Fungi 0 43
Plants 23 30
Reptiles and Amphibians 1 5
Mammals 0 2

Taxon Team Stories

Each taxon team had a different story, with a different history of knowledge at Younger Lagoon. Here are some of the details from each team over the quarter.


  • Thanks to dedicated eBird-ers and an ongoing bird banding station, birds are the best documented group of organisms at Younger Lagoon.
  • One intern worked to photo voucher birds that came into the bird banding station.
  • The intern vouchered 15 species of birds
spring insect collecting team

The insect team (minus An-Ya Cheng) pinning,

identifying, and organizing the Younger Lagoon

insect collection.


  • Previous BioBlitzes documented at least 19 species of arthropods at Younger Lagoon.
  • In one Spring, the insect resurvey team vouchered 354 specimens of at least 200 species, the majority of which have not been documented before at Younger Lagoon.

Lichens and Fungi

  • Only 10 species of fungi were documented previously at Younger Lagoon.
  • Over Spring and Summer 2019, one student intern and two community volunteers helped voucher 43 species of lichen, effectively quadrupling the number of vouchered species at Younger Lagoon.
  • All 43 had never been documented before at Younger Lagoon, and some may represent new records for Santa Cruz County.


  • Teams of up to nine undergradutes conducted only eight nights of small mammal trapping at Younger Lagoon this Spring.
  • Despite the small effort, they vouchered three species, one of which had never been documented at Younger Lagoon before.
  • Fall plans include camera trapping and acoustic surveys.


  • two people and some herbarium specimens

    The plant team puts the final touches

    on their herbarium specimens.

    Two interns surveyed Younger Lagoon in the Spring.
  • Previous work showed that while 200 species are known from Younger Lagoon, only 138 are associated with verifiable vouchers, and only 34 with an actual herbarium specimen.
  • In one quarter, the two interns added herbarium specimens for 62 species, 30 of which were vouchered for the first time at Younger Lagoon, and 23 of which had not been vouchered in over 20 years.

Reptiles and Amphibians

  • In one quarter, two interns found 10 species of reptile and amphibian at Younger Lagoon.
  • They increased the total number of vouchered species at Younger Lagoon by three, vouchered five species for the first time ever at Younger Lagoon, and vouchered one species that had not been vouchered in over 20 years.