SURMAR/ASIMAR aspires to deepen our understanding of natural processes in the central Gulf of California to conserve natural resources and enhance ecosystem health in this important region. It’s programs are carried out in collaboration with Instituto Tecnologico Superior de Mulegé (ITESME) in Santa Rosalia, Baja California Sur, where the program is developing a new regional facility, the “Gulf of California International Research Center” (GCIRC). This facility will feature laboratory and aquarium facilities that will be available to researchers for projects that are consistent with SURMAR’s goals. SURMAR has been affiliated with TOF since 2011.
Research encompasses the ecology of local marine and terrestrial environments, the physiology and behavior of organisms inhabiting these regions, and conservation-related issues. In addition, applied and social research addresses sustainable utilization of resources and facilitation of social decision-making.
Education and Outreach engage students of ITESME and participating institutions in research and provide training in marine science. Students from ITESME participate in SURMAR’s monitoring efforts of rocky intertidal habitats and in collaborative workshops. We are working with ITEMSE staff to develop teaching opportunities in marine technology. SURMAR is a partner organization with Fundación Hagamos más por Santa Rosalía, a non-profit dedicated to serving the Santa Rosalia community. It is also a partner with the Western Flyer Foundation in developing collaborative programs in Mexico that will involve the restored vessel that John Steinbeck and Ed Ricketts used to explore the Sea of Cortez in 1940.
Conservation and monitoring efforts are currently focused on rocky intertidal invertebrates, subtidal reef fishes, jumbo squid resources, and water-column properties in the Santa Rosalia area. We are in the process of extending these activities to the Gulf waters of the Vizcaíno Biosphere Reserve in conjunction with Western Flyer Foundation efforts. We are also collaborating with Ecologists Without Borders on developing a Fishery Improvement Project for Santa Rosalia and surrounding communities.