2017 Citizen Science Trip Details

Updated September 20, 2017

October 22 - 29, 2017 / The Aquarium of the World: Marine Reef Biodiversity

October 22 - 29, 2017
Dr. Carlos Sanchez-Ortiz 
Southern Safari
The Aquarium of the World: Marine Reef Biodiversity
$2200 per person, quad occupancy
About the Trip

Join the amazing crew of the Quino El Guardian, Dr. Carlos Sanchez-Ortiz (UABCS) and Dr. Jaime Gomez Gutirerez (CICIMAR, Mexico) on one of the most inspiring dive adventures of your lifetime!

Baja is a unique area offering a prolific array of life with corals, invertebrates, fishes, whales and other mammals in unprecedented numbers.

Dr. Sanchez has extensive knowledge in most all animal species found in the Sea of Cortez and specializes in invertebrates, sea fans, gorgonians, and corals. One-third of the biodiversity of the Sea of Cortez is in corals. It is amazing how little is known about these animals. We need to learn more so that we can care for and conserve them.

Dr. Jaime Gomez Gutirerez is a top expert in marine ecology invertebrates and biodiversity - mainly in Zooplankton and plankton production. 

Activities include

- Describing the individual species
- Census monitoring
- Establish the health of the reef
- Human impact study
- Climate impact study
- Collection of plankton and inspection under a microscope (where the food chain begins)

Dr. Sanchez provides indepth knowledge of the area mammals such as whales, dolphins and sea lions as well as whale sharks.

Enjoy daily research projects and presentations to help answer these questions and more:

- Why did Jacques Cousteau once call the Sea of Cortez the Aquarium of the World?- Why is the Gulf of California so productive?
- How many and what specicies are in the Gulf of California?
- How healthy is Cabo Pulmo reef?
- How the climate change or human impacts are affecting the reefs biodiversity?

Research goals include but are not limited to:

- Invertebrates (sponge, corals and echinoderm) taxonomy to understand their biodiversity
- Invertebrates inventorying to determine their diversity
- Invertebrates and fish tissue sampling to examine their large-scale connectivity through genetics
- Invertebrates and fish monitoring to evaluate the health status of the reef ecosystem
- Assessing the economic value of the reef ecosystem conservation.

Take part in as much or as little as you like!

Additional and supporting information can be found here:

http://datamares.ucsd.edu/eng/ - excellent source of scientific information presented in layman terms

Facebook: PFA UABCS 

Download the Flyer HERE: Citizen_Science_Sanchez_October2017_Rev2

November 4 - 11, 2017 / Mobula Research

November 4 - 11, 2017
Marta D. Palacios & Frida Lara Lizardi
Southern Safari
Marvelous Mobulas!
$2200 per person, quad occupancy
About the Trip

Join the amazing crew of The Quino el Guardian and Marine Biologists Marta D. Palacios and Frida Lara Lizardi on one of the most inspiring dive adventures: DEVIL RAYS in the Sea of Cortez!

Once called DEVIL RAYS by fishermen, sailors, and explorers, the young and upcoming Marine Biologists call them MOBULAS. Scientific study is about observation, documentation, studying behavioral patterns, compiling data and then analysis. That is what the Mobula Expedition is all about. You, Marta and Frida will answer:

What do Mobulas eat? Mobulas are filter feeders. We will observe their feeding behavior and take water samples from the Sea of Cortez to determine just what they eat.

Where do Mobulas swim to and how far? Right now Marta is tracking and collecting data on Mobulas through a network of acoustic receivers placed in Cabo Pulmo, Cerralvo Island, and Espiritu Santos.

Why do Mobulas like Espiritu Santo so much? Juveniles are drawn to Ensenada Grande, a shallow bay at Espiritu Santo Island. You will observe and collect data during your dives in the day and at night. Maybe the bay offers protection for feeding and growing?

CHECK OUT what we will be doing to help answer these questions:

Zooplankton tows at different depths to identify the zooplankton community and look for the two main food sources of Mobulas

Microplastic tows at different points during the trip. Mobulas are filter feeders and are likely to ingest large quantities of plastic that are now endangering many species of marine life. Part of the expedition is to study the quantities and composition of plastic fragments found in the water.

Visual census of Mobulas to learn how to identify different species and observe their behavior. Observing and recording the amount of pregnant females, mating train formations, gender recognition, size, and mating scars.

Photo-ID to identify the species – bring your cameras! Notations on gender, size, and reproductive status.

Visual census at Ensenada Grande to collect data on the number, size, gender, and behavior patterns at night and day. We will search for previously tagged Mobulas that are easily visible to divers.

Setting up Remote Underwater Video Stations at night. We will install these cameras, equipped with lights, in different parts of the Ensenada Grande to record behavior and numbers of the mobulas when interacting with divers and how the behavior changes, if at all, when swimming without divers.

Recover and replace some of the acoustic receivers located in the area (to be determined).

PRESENTATIONS

Mobulids of the Gulf
How to identify them, characteristics, what we know, threats, conservation strategies. Presentation by Marta D. Palacios.

Sharks in the Gulf of California
How to identify the different species, where can we find them in the Sea of Cortez, conservation problems. Presentation by Frida Lara Lizardi.

Pelagios Kakunja studies with sharks in Cabo Pulmo
The recovery of top predators. Presentation given by Frida Lara Lizardi.

The Lost Mantas of the Sea of Cortez
Manta birostris characteristics, how to identify them, migration, problems in the past and today’s conservation. Presentation given by Marta D. Palacios.

ITINERARY

This is a unique trip - it's all about Mobulas and our primary goal will be finding them.  This is an excellent time of year and we will be in the best place possible.  The following is our plan yet we will remain flexible should the Mobulas have other things in mind 🙂 

Updated September 1, 2017

Saturday - Board at 5pm in La Paz / Travel all night to Las Animas

Sunday - Las Animas and San Diego - look for mobulas

Monday - Dora's Sea Mound, Mangroves near San Jose to look for Mobulas, night dive with the Mobulas

Tuesday - El Bajo, Los Islotes, night dive with the Mobulas

Wednesday - Los Islotes, Salva Tierra, look for Mobulas

Thursday - Cerralvo, look for Mobulas

Friday - Cabo Pulmo

Saturday - Disembark San Jose Del Cabo at 7am

ABOUT THE SCIENTISTS

Marta D. Palacios is a Marine Biologist that earned her degree in the Canary Islands, during which time she had the opportunity to study in the two peninsulas of Mexico. She has collaborated in research around the globe: from projects that study freshwater dolphins in the Amazon and penguins in New Zealand, to monitoring coral reefs in Indonesia and the assessment of environmental impacts from divers in Ecuador. She studied the Oceanic Manta and Mobula Ray population in the Galapagos where she realized the urgency of studying these amazing creatures to help in their protection.

As a Master Student at CICIMAR-IPN, she is currently carrying out a Research project focused on the movements and habitat use of M. munkiana around Espiritu Santo Archipelago in collaboration with the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Manta Trust and Pelagios Kakunja.

Frida Lara Lizardi is originally from Veracruz, México. From a very young age she has shown a special interest in diving and traveling. Frida completed her degree in Marine Biology in Yucatan and obtained a master's degree at the University of London. During her training she has worked in different projects in the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea, Red Sea and Indian Ocean. She is particularly interested in studying the behavior, conservation and management of sharks. She has been part of the Pelagios Kakunjá team since 2014 and is currently in her last year of her PhD at CICMAR, studying sharks in the Archipelago of Revillagigedo.

Download the Flyer HERE: Citizen_Science_Flyer_Mobulas_November_2017_rev629

November 11 - 20, 2017 / Shark Research

November 11 - 20, 2017
Dr. James Ketchum
Socorro Islands
Shark Expedition
$3200 per person, quad occupancy
About the Trip

Join the amazing crew of the Quino El Guardian and Dr. James Ketchum on one of the most inspiring dive adventures of your lifetime!

The Revillagigedo Archipelago is filled with over 7 species of sharks, many in unprecedented numbers.

Participate in catching and tagging animals, identification, counts and more.

Enjoy daily presentations on shark ecology, migration, reproduction, and conservation.

Take part as much or as little as you like!

 

Watch shark expert Dr. James Ketchum of Pelagios Kakunja and the Mission Blue team as he presents his shark research in the Gulf of California Hope Spot. (Filmed February 26th 2016)

Learn more about Pelagios Kakunja at www.pelagioskakunja.org

Download the Flyer HERE:  Citizen_Science_Ketchum_Nov_2017

November 21 - 30, 2017 / Shark Research

November 21 - 30, 2017
Dr. Edgar Mauricio Hoyos Padilla
Socorro Islands
Shark Expedition
$3200 per person, quad occupancy
About the Trip

Join the amazing crew of the Quino El Guardian and Dr. Mauricio Hoyas Padilla on one of the most inspiring dive adventures of your lifetime!

The Revillagigedo Archipelago is filled with over 7 species of sharks, many in unprecedented numbers.

Participate in catching and tagging animals, identification, counts and more.

Enjoy daily presentations on shark ecology, migration, reproduction, and conservation.

Take part as much or as little as you like!

Download the Flyer HERE:  Citizen_Science_Hoyos_Nov_2017

 

December 1 - 10, 2017 / Ultrasounding Whale Sharks and Giant Manta Rays

December 1 - 10, 2017
Socorro
Dr. Deni Ramirez Macias
Ultrasounding Pregnant Whale Sharks and Manta Rays
$3200 per person, quad occupancy
 About the Trip

Join the amazing crew of the Quino El Guardian, Dr. Deni Ramirez Macias and world renown photographers, Erick Higuera and Hayes Baxley as we attempt to ultrasound pregnant Whale Sharks and Manta Rays in the Archipielago de Revillagigedo!

The Whale Shark (Rhincodon typus) and the Giant Manta Ray (Manta birostris) are filter feeder elasmobranchs. In some countries these species constitute a fishing resource while in other countries they are more valuable as an opportunity to attract tourism. Therefore, the sustainable exploitation of these species depends greatly on the knowledge of their populations. This knowledge is extremely limited.

Both species are especially vulnerable due to their biological characteristics as they are slow growing, late to reach sexual maturity and are found in small populations. All of this is why these species are recognized by the IUCN Red List for the Conservation of Nature.

In the Archipielago of Revillagigedo, we can find giant Manta Rays and Whale Sharks which enable Dr. Dení Ramírez Macias and Marine Biologist Erick Higuera an opportunity to study these charismatic giants. Their studies have focused on demonstrating the presence of pregnant females in both species. This in turn demonstrates that this is a critical habitat for these elasmobranchs and require a top priority for its conservation.

Our expedition will be focused on obtaining an ultrasound in females of both species to corroborate that they are pregnant and to evaluate the degree of the embryonic development. This information will be used to help corroborate the theory that these waters are necessary for reproduction and to strengthen the protection of habitat for the conservation of the species.

Our goal is to use the regular itinerary for diving in Socorro knowing that we will be open to using any opportunity that presents itself to ultrasound Whale Sharks and Mantas.

Additional information on this research can be found at www.WhaleSharkMexico.com.