IEMM investigates and helps find solutions for pressing ecological challenges in California through rigorous research methods, innovative technology, multi-sector collaborations, and community engagement.

Please select one of our areas of expertise below to learn more:

Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation

IEMM supports planning for climate resilience in local ecosystems and communities. We do this through research into climate impacts on ecological systems and identification of specific climate adaptation strategies that can be employed to reduce the effects of those impacts. IEMM supports adaptive management strategies that pair actions with monitoring to ensure these actions are effective and efficient in addressing climate impacts.

Meaningful Stakeholder Engagement

IEMM has been a leader in facilitating meaningful stakeholder engagement across the region. We focus on co-production, collaboration, and consensus building with partners and stakeholders. We strive to include diverse perspectives by fostering inclusion and trust, which are key to IEMM’s goal of delivering actionable science. IEMM is committed to interdisciplinary approaches, cross-jurisdictional partnerships, and multi-sector engagement.

Translating Science into Action

Effectively communicating the results of our scientific work is one of the key goals of the IEMM. The Institute specializes in translational and accessible applied science. We strive to develop scientific products to meet the needs of our partners, stakeholders, and our local communities. IEMM scientists also provide project-associated training and workshops for stakeholders and more generalized training in conceptualizing and writing management and monitoring strategies and plans, climate adaptation strategies, and adaptive management planning.

Decision Support Tools

IEMM scientists have provided science and decision support tools to facilitate decision making. Our approach  is fundamentally collaborative in nature and strives to provide the most meaningful evaluation to all stakeholders. IEMM research applies multiple criteria evaluation techniques to generate meaningful recommendations and support for decision making. Research topics include acquisitions, restoration targets, and other management strategies.

Watershed Processes and Wetland Health

IEMM scientists focus on the effects of urbanization and fire on watershed processes in semi-arid climates. Watershed analysis describes and quantifies connections between natural landscape properties, human activities, and ecosystem services related to soil, water resources, and aquatic ecosystems. Our work focuses on understanding the main processes that control water quantity, water quality, sediment transport, and aquatic habitat for natural systems and people.

Landscape and Connectivity Modeling

We use a broad array of theoretical, modeling, and observation based techniques to innovate concepts, methods, and applications in environmental and natural resource conservation and policy-making. IEMM regularly leads projects focused on landscape connectivity modeling and planning. Data from IEMM studies are being used to guide reserve design, land acquisitions, as well as restoration and management targets.

Population Monitoring and Assessment

We work with land managers and other partners to monitor and assess species and natural communities. IEMM collects a range of temporal, spatial, biological, and other data that is analyzed to detect population trends and areas of concern. We also generate conceptual models for understanding how monitoring can be directly linked with management. Based on our monitoring and assessments, IEMM makes recommendations for developing and refining species, habitat, and ecosystem management objectives, practices, and plans.

Biogeography and Vegetation Mapping

Work within IEMM focuses especially on Mediterranean-type ecosystems that are common in Southern California. Our expertise lies in the areas of spatial and temporal patterns of species diversity, community composition, post-disturbance resilience, influence of exotic species, and habitat preference of species. Results from our studies have guided refinements to vegetation mapping and restoration and management targets.

Population and Conservation Genetics

IEMM supports multiple projects that involve field-based monitoring and assessment techniques to track populations through genetic analysis to guide management strategies. One IEMM approach is to consider questions of fundamental and applied importance in a broad sense, and then refine the questions based on field experience and observations of natural systems.

Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES)

IEMM conducts research on the ecological, socioeconomic, and policy impacts of PES programs. Highlighted ecosystem services such as climate change mitigation, watershed services, and biodiversity conservation are all critical policy issues in Southern California and beyond.