The Partnership of Regional Institutions for Sage Scrub Monitoring (PRISSM) is a multi-institutional effort to set up long-term bio-monitoring programs in California sage scrub fragments throughout southern California. PRISSM was initiated with National Science Foundation support to the Robert J. Bernard Field Station and with significant contribution from land managers and researchers throughout the region.

Since 2014, PRISSM has been focused on building stronger collaborations among biologists and educators to gather key biological information required for effective management and preservation of biodiversity in the endangered California sage scrub (CSS) ecosystem (see Rundel 2007 for a description of the ecosystem). PRISSM’s programmatic goals are to: (1) build collaboration among natural area/reserve/biological field station directors/managers tasked with managing CSS fragments and among the researchers that study this ecosystem; and (2) design and implement bio-monitoring programs that will support and enhance current and future research in CSS throughout Southern California.

Bio-monitoring protocols were developed to document and assess changes in diversity and phenology of four distinct taxonomic groups: plants, invertebrates, birds, and other vertebrates. Protocols were developed based on two criteria: (1) that they collect data in a way that can reveal changes in the biota at both the patch and regional levels; and (2) that they are practical (i.e., they could be implemented with the resources at most institutions).

Currently, bio-monitoring efforts are being conducted at three sites – Voorhis Ecological Reserve, Robert J. Bernard Field Station, and the North Etiwanda Preserve. We anticipate that this process will develop as a long-term, dynamic and inclusive program; i.e., collaboration among contributors and the number of collaborators will increase in subsequent years. To learn more about the program, please read our PRISSM Project Description, and contact any contributor to become involved. You do not need to implement every component of the program to be involved.


  • Rundel, P.W. 2007. Sage scrub. In M.G. Barbour, T. Keeler-Wolf, and A.A. Schoenherr, eds., Terrestrial Vegetation of California, pp. 208–228. University of California Press, Berkeley.