BIOL 419 Field Studies--Sea of Cortez (2 credits for spring quarter)

March 22-30, 2018 (spring break)

This class is designed for experienced biology students who have had at least moderate training in marine biology.  Students must have at least taken the third quarter of General Biology.  Taking place during spring break, 2018, the class will study the marine communities at several locations in the Sea of Cortez and in the adjacent Sonora Desert of Baja California, Mexico.  We will fly to Mexico right after winter quarter final exams are finished and return just in time to spend the weekend getting ready for spring quarter classes.  Enrollment is limited so contact Dave Cowles ASAP at 527-2264 if you are interested.
Links to important supplemental materials: Information MP3 from Risk and Safety session:
 Power Point of trip highlights shown at orientation meeting Nov 17, 2016  Power Point for second class Lecture:
  Audio MP3 for Part 1:  History
  Audio MP3 for Part 2:  Marine Biogeography
   Power Point for third class Lecture:
  Power Point of First Class Lecture Checklist of items to bring with you on the trip
    Audio MP3 recording of First Class Lecture: (First 50 minutes = discussing syllabus and forms) Trip Itinerary and currency exchange rate table

Trip Itinerary:
Thursday, March 22: Fly to Loreto, Baja California Sur, Mexico.  Camp at Juncalito beach
Friday, March 23:  Travel by boat to offshore islands, explore the subtropical marine community
Sabbath, March 24: Worship near camp, then explore the adjacent shoreline and a trip into the Sierra Gigante mountains
Sunday, March 25: Drive north through the Sonora and Vizcaino deserts to the warm temperate Bahia de Los Angeles
Monday, March 26: Travel by boat to offshore islands, explore the warm temperate marine community, bird and sea lion colonies
Tuesday, March 27: Travel to Scammon's Lagoon on the Pacific.  Visit gray whale cows and calves by boat, explore the desert and dune communities
Wednesday, March 28: Visit San Ignacio mission, travel to Bahia Concepcion and camp there
Thursday, March 29: Return to Juncalito beach.  More shoreline exploration, opportunity for a SCUBA trip
Friday, March 30: Fly back to USA

Interested?  Here is what you need to do:

Notify the instructor, Dave Cowles, of your interest and get your name onto the email list
Come to the first organizational meeting in the Biology lounge/library:  Wednesday, November 15 at 6 pm in the Biology lounge
  More details of the trip, including costs will be discussed.
  If you would like to take this class, even if you think you may not be able to afford it, come to the organizational meeting--I may have some good news for you! 
Renew your passport if it will expire in 2018
Pay the $250 deposit to hold your place. Be sure to specify that it is for BIOL 419 Field Studies: Sea of Cortez
Receive clearance from Dr. Cowles to register (must use an Add/Drop slip). To receive clearance, you need to see Nancy Cleveland in the Student Finance Office to make specific arrangements. As soon as 6 students have completed this process and paid the required tuition and fees, they will receive clearance to register and the trip will be officially scheduled. The earlier you complete this the more likely you will be able to purchase an inexpensive ticket. Make sure your tuition and fees for the class are paid by JAN 12 at the latest.  See Nancy Cleveland in the Student Finance Office for specific information.
  Note:  Your registration may be dropped if fees are not paid.  Some but not all fees are refundable.  The deposit is not refundable.
Make sure your passport is up to date (a valid passport is REQUIRED to return from Mexico.  Non-US citizens must also have all their immigration visa papers in order.)
DO NOT buy your ticket until instructed by Dr. Cowles that it is safe to do so.
Make an appointment with Health Services to check on your immunizations, etc.
Attend subsequent organizational meetings and the several evening classes which will be held winter quarter
Purchase your airline ticket
Let's Go!

More photos of marine and desert life in the Sea of Cortez and lower (Baja) California:

An ocotillo keeps watch over Bahia de Los Angeles

Camping in a palapa

Jen gets acquainted with a sea hare.

A friendly scorpion wanders into our camp from the surrounding desert.

Sally Lightfoot crab-they can run like the wind!

Exploring on islands in Bahia de Los Angeles

A stingray cruises by in Bahia Concepcion
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A boojum forest, Lower Sonora Desert

Camp at Juncalito Beach

Lyndsi experiences a close encounter with a gray whale calf, with the mother hovering proudly nearby

Zoanthids and an anemone in Bahia Concepcion

A ghost crab ready to skitter off into the night

A seahorse at Bahia de Los Angeles

An osprey on its nest

A punctate sand dollar

A sacoglossan nudibranch

Snorkeling the Sea of Cortez

2009 class at Bahia de Los Angeles 

2012 class

A seastar
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Cardon cactus Another boojum tree

A barrel sponge

Sea lions

Another beach camp

A palapa at Playa Armenita, Bahia Concepcion. You'll love the airy outhouses!