The SBC LTER is located in the Santa Barbara Channel region of the Southern California Bight along the coast of southern California, USA. The site lies on the active boundary of the Pacific Oceanic Plate and the North American Continental Plate. High levels of tectonic activity have created dramatic elevational gradients in both the terrestrial and the underwater landscapes of the site. The channel includes some of the deepest ocean basins known on the continental shelf, along with remarkable submarine canyons and escarpments. It is bounded by the steep east-west trending Santa Ynez Mountains and coastal plain to the north and the unique Northern Channel Islands archipelago to the south. Point Conception, where the coast of California returns to a north to south orientation, lies at the western boundary of the channel and the Santa Clara River marks its eastern edge.