The underwater environment at Lovers SMR features a mixture of medium relief sand and boulder substrate. Algal composition was primarily by the giant kelp Macrocystis with low levels of turf algae. The primary fish species are the blue rockfish (S. mystinus), the olive / yellowtail rockfish and to a lesser extent the kelp rockfish (S. atrovirens). The benthic habitat was dominated by bat stars (A. miniata), and giant sea stars (P. giganteus).
The reference sites for Lovers SMR are similar to the MPA sites, typically varied with slight to high and moderate relief and a primarily bedrock substrate. The rocky bottom makes ideal habitat for the giant kelp Macrocystis typically paired with the understory of Laminaria. The benthic environment is primarily made up sea stars mainly A. miniata but also the giant sea star P. gianteus and higher than usual numbers of abalone. The rockfish are found in the water column in large abundances, typically blue rock fish (S. mystinius) and to a lesser extent olive / yellowtail rockfish.