College of Science

California Undersea Imagery Archive


Come take a virtual dive with scientists as they explore and conduct research inside marine protected areas (MPAs) across coastal California. Observe fishes, invertebrates and even marine mammals in kelp forests ranging from La Jolla State Marine Reserve in the south to Gerstle Cove State Marine Reserve in northern Sonoma County. [Note: for longer transects at selected sites navigate to the Inventory > Diver-Operated Videos page.]

Immersion logo diver
diver in rocky habitat
fish school
whale shark

Options for Viewing 360 Video

Adventure Gateway - Trying scrolling through MPA videos via our desktop StoryMap version

Smartphone - Use this URL ( in your browser. When you click on the selected link, the video will be opened in the YouTube app. (Note: the YouTube app is required to view 360 degree videos.) Once the video is up & running you can rotate your phone in all directions to observe the underwater environment just as the divers did when they collected the imagery. Don't forget to look behind you.

Desktop or Laptop Computer - Review the VR videos listed below ( When you click on a selected link from the table, the video will open in YouTube. Once the video is up & running you can turn in all directions using the 'w' (up), 's' (down), 'a' (left), and 'd' (right) keys on your keyboard. You can also use your computer mouse to swipe around the underwater scene.

VR Headset - Videos are hosted on the YouTube channel of the 'California Undersea Imagery Archive'. If you are prompted to choose a projection, select "Monoscopic 360". Controls may vary between headset models. Open the YouTube VR app in your headset. Type 'California Undersea Imagery Archive' into the search window. A number of videos will appear in the library. Navigate to the 'IMMERSION! 360 Videos' playlist. The VR videos are indicated by a '360' in the upper left corner.

Immersion Quick Looks -- 1 minute VR dives

Dive Location Description Immersion Video
Shalebeds, Monterey California Metridium fields Quick Look (1 min)
Galápagos Islands whale shark Quick Look (1 min)
Monastery State Beach, Carmel California urchin barren Quick Look (1 min)
Big Creek State Marine Reserve, Big Sur CA kelp & reef tour Quick Look (1 min)
San Clemente Island BOSS video lander Quick Look (90 secs)
Monterey Bay breakwater to Anacapa Island California Sheephead Quick Look (1 min)
Close Encounters at the Galápagos Islands Galapagos shark, Spotted Eagle Ray, Green Sea Turtle Quick Look (1 min)
Monastery State Beach, Carmel California temperate reef wall Quick Look (1 min)

Immersion MPA VR dives

Dive Location Depth of Dive Description Immersion Video
Gerstle Cove State Marine Reserve 10-44 FSW Salt Point SP/Gerstle Cove is one of the first underwater areas in California where marine life was completely protected. Short Dunk (3 mins)
Hopkins Marine Reserve 20-50 FSW Located within the Lovers Point State Marine Reserve - This reserve is associated with Stanford University's Hopkins Marine Station and has been closed to all but research scientists for decades. Short Dunk (3 mins)
Edward F. Ricketts State Marine Conservation Area 20-50 FSW Come explore the 'Breakwater Wall' and nearby 'Metridium Field'. These sites are some of the most dived locations in California due to the convenient entry/exit used by SCUBA dive classes from across northern California.  Short Dunk (4 mins)
Point Lobos State Marine Reserve 40-100 FSW The Point Lobos MPA is one of the oldest in California. This video takes divers along the edge of the kelp forest of south Monastery Beach. Short Dunk (3 mins)
Point Lobos State Marine Reserve 10-57 FSW This deep to shallow transect explores the wonders of the Carmel Canyon Head & north Monastery Beach. Short Dunk (3 mins)
Anacapa Island State Marine Reserve 18-42 FSW This virtual dive highlights the unique habitats of Anacapa Island's MPA, part of the Northern Channel Islands. Short Dunk (3 mins)
La Jolla Underwater Park 40-80 FSW Located within the Matlahuayl State Marine Reserve Short Dunk (4 mins)

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