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* Field Marine Biology in Todos Santos, Mexico
Todos Santos, Mexico (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms: Summer
Budget Sheets Summer
CSU Deadlines / Program Dates:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Summer 2018 12/01/2017 12/15/2017 05/20/2018 06/15/2018
Priority Deadline: December 1 - Final Deadline: February 15 (pending spots available)
Fact Sheet:
Recommended Programs: Biological Science and Zoology
Grade Point Average:
Language(s) of Instruction:
Program Coordinator:
Emily Garner
Program Type: CSU Short Term Program
Areas of Study:
Natural Sciences
Program Description:

Field Marine Biology

in Todos Santos, Baja California Sur, Mexico

Whalemx_TS_Group_Field Marinems_TS_Bird

Living in a landlocked state makes it hard to bring marine biology to life. However, studying the organisms and ecosystems of Todos Santos, Mexico is an opportunity to experience first-hand the subject matter that you would normally only read about in a textbook. Step outside of the classroom and gain practical knowledge from fieldwork that strengthens your capabilities as a scientist.

Program At-a-Glance

WHEN:  May 20 - June 15, 2018
NOTE: Accepted participants will be required to meet weekly in April and May for pre-departure preparation. 

CREDITS:  All committed students will be registered for BZ 482A Study Abroad: Practices in Marine Ecology (4 credits) through CSU's Division of Continuing Education. All tuition and program charges will be billed at the start of the summer term.

COST: See Budget Sheet for details.  The program fee includes tuition and fees for 4 credit hours, lodging and most meals, international medical and evacuation insurance, excursions, on-site transportation, and staff support.  Program fees do not include international airfare, some meals, passport fees, and personal spending money.

SCHOLARSHIPS: Applicants for this program are eligible for scholarships through the Office of International Programs. Well-qualified students in field marine biology are also encouraged to apply to the Lerner-Gray Fund for Marine Research. Grants made from this program are generally between $500 and $2,000 and are meant to act as seed money for new researchers.

PROGRAM LEADERS: Dr. Graham Peers, Assistant Professor and Dr. Shane Kanatous, Associate Professor, Biology Department in the College of Natural Sciences at Colorado State University

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS:  Minimum 3.0 GPA. Instructor Approval. Good disciplinary standing. Prerequisite: LIFE 320. 

Academic Overview

This summer faculty-led program is sponsored by the Department of Biology at Colorado State University. This novel program will expose Colorado State students to two of the most productive and biologically diverse marine areas in North America. This upper level program is an introduction to field sampling and exploration of marine ecosystems from levels of primary production to the top level predators.  Students in this first summer session course will learn a wide variety of hands on sampling techniques and data analyses with the goal of comparing the ecology of the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of California, which surround the Baja California region of Mexico. The program will include intensive field work both in and out of the water. The program will also focus on the interactions of humans with the marine environment by interacting with fishing communities in Todos Santos and by observing ecosystem recovery in Marine Protected Areas. Overall this experience will provide students with a strong foundation for pursuing a career in marine sciences. 

Course Objective: This upper level course is an introduction to field sampling and exploration of marine ecosystems.  Upon completing this course students will be able to:
  • Collect and analyze data from different trophic levels in the marine environment
  • Contrast the properties of marine and terrestrial environments
  • Interpret an organism’s form and function in relation to the physical properties of the marine environment
  • Organize the diversity of marine life into their ecological roles
  • Describe and discuss marine food webs from primary producers to apex predators
  • Critically and effectively quantify, debate and discuss the influence of human populations on the marine environment


Magdalena Bay Exploration
Magdalena Bay is the largest wetlands ecosystem on the west coast of Baja and one of the most important in North America. The World Wildlife Fund ranks it as one of the most important coastal habitats in Mexico. The Bay is the prime calving ground for the gray whale. Magdalena Bay also has mangrove forests, barrier beaches and sand dune islands, all of which contribute to the incredible scenery and biological diversity of the area.

Isla Espiritu Santo & the Sea of Cortez
The group will take a high speed motor boat to Isla Espiritu Santo to conduct field research while also kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, swimming with sea lions, swimming with whale sharks, hiking, snorkeling and exploring.

Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park
The Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park is home to the Sea of Cortez’s only living coral reef - the northernmost coral reef in the eastern Pacific - and is a UN World Heritage Site. The marine park was established in 1995 as a result of the efforts of local citizens who wanted to restore the marine life that had been dramatically depleted due to over-fishing. In 2009, the Scripps Institute of Oceanography in San Diego released the results of a 10-year study on Cabo Pulmo in which they called the park the “most robust marine preserve in the world”, and demonstrated that the total amount of fish in the reserve had increased 460% between 1999 and 2009. Cabo Pulmo has recovered to a level comparable to a pristine site that has never been fished by humans and it’s an absolutely remarkable place to investigate. 


Todos Santos is located in beautiful Baja California Sur, just an hour north of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.  The quiet town is one mile from beaches on the Pacific Ocean. For more information, click here.

Housing and Meals

Accommodations include shared residence hall rooms in the CSU Todos Santos Center and tent camping and hotels while on excursions.  Breakfast will be served at the center daily while at the CSU center.  Most meals will be provided when on excursions.