On land, the Point Lobos State Park is characterized by dramatic geological formations. Underwater, the MPA is similarly made up of mostly high-relief contiguous bedrock. High densities of giant kelp ( Macrocystis) dominate the forest canopy, and coralline red algae are present in higher densities here than any other sites in the CCSR. Large numbers of cabezon and senorita were observed. Among the invertebrate species counted, California hydrocorals and red urchins were particularly abundant.
The reference sites for Point Lobos SMR have similar habitat characteristics: high-relief substrates comprised almost entirely of bedrock. Giant kelp densities were also similar to those seen within the MP A. The sub-canopy kelps Laminaria and Pterygophora were present in somewhat higher numbers. Urchin densities were high at both the MP A and reference sites, but purple urchin densities were higher here than at any of the other MP A or reference sites. Fish densities were generally extremely high at these reference sites. Kelp, black and yellow, and black rockfishes were recorded at the highest densities seen along the CCSR. Striped surfperch and lingcod also occurred in particularly high numbers.