The Laguna San Ignacio Science Program (LSIESP) investigates the ecological status of the lagoon and its living marine resources, and provides science based information that is relevant to resource management questions and concerns about development, eco-tourism and the sustainability of the lagoon ecosystem as a viable habitat for marine wildlife. The program monitors the gray whales that visit the lagoon each winter, the lagoon, and its wildlife as an entire inter-related system. LSIESP encourages social awareness, education and community participation in the conservation of this marine protected area, promotes human activities and alternatives that are in balance with the natural components of the region, and that recognize the needs of the local community.
The program provides graduate students opportunities to participate in applied wildlife field research and to learn skills that will serve them in their careers as wildlife conservation scientists. As appropriate, the program forms partnerships and collaborations with other conservation and wildlife management groups and organizations investigating various aspects of the Laguna San Ignacio marine protected area. LSIESP researchers provide classroom presentations at local schools and “hands on” learning activities led by LSIESP researchers on the lagoon’s wildlife and its significance as a coastal resource for marine life and the local economy. This educational outreach program strengthens the students’ awareness of the need to conserve Laguna San Ignacio and its living marine resources for future generations.
LSIESP researchers host annual community workshops (“Reunions”) to review scientific findings and provide a public forum for the exchange of information on the lagoon and human activities that affect it. The workshop participants include subject experts, representatives of government regulatory agencies, eco-tourism operators, local residents, non-government environmental organizations, students and instructors from local schools, and interested public. Program findings are distributed via the internet Website (www.lsiecosystem.org), in peer reviewed published articles, in the local media, at professional scientific meetings, and in local publications.