• The Point Reyes Beach as viewed from the Point Reyes Headlands

    Point Reyes

    National Seashore California

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Natural Features & Ecosystems

Nature and Science

California's diversity of natural features attracts a variety of plants and animals.

California enjoys one of the most diverse assemblages of land forms, vegetation types, and ecosystems in the world. There is more climatic and topographic variation in California than in any other region of comparable size in the United States. This variation has contributed to a remarkable diversity of natural features and ecosystems found at Point Reyes National Seashore, located within California.

Point Reyes National Seashore is blanketed with subtle natural features nestled over a variety of ecosystems. The overriding natural feature is the presence of the eastern San Andreas Fault that bisects the geologic peninsula from the rest of the California mainland. The remaining sides of the peninsula are intermittently edged by beaches, sea cliffs, and intertidal zones cascading into the Pacific Ocean. Encircled by this rich assemblage is a mosaic of ecosystems arranged by factors such as geologic foundation, climate, and exposure. While there are dozens of ways to classify and name the exact type of ecosystem, the broadest and closest category places Point Reyes National Seashore into a Mediterranean Ecosystem.

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Did You Know?

Dorsal view of a gray whale breaching. Photo by Merrill Gosho/NOAA.

The Endangered Species Act turned 40 on December 28, 2013. 99 percent of the plants and animals protected by the ESA have been saved from extinction, including the bald eagle, brown pelican, gray whale, and peregrine falcon, all of which can be seen at Point Reyes. More...