Biodiversity of Southwest Mexico by Land and Sea
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Biodiversity of Southwest Mexico by Land and Sea
Natural History Expedition • Barra de Potosí • February 16-24 & March 6-14, 2015
Help Biologists Conduct Critical Conservation Research
Oceanic Society invites you on an expedition to beautiful Barra de Potosí, just south of Zihuatanejo, Mexico.
This region hosts a wealth of marine and terrestrial species and is an important part of the migration route for the
northeastern Pacific population of humpback whales. While the presence of whales has been documented in the
area for years, there have been no formal studies of them until now.
As a participant on this expedition you will have the chance to help scientists better understand this important
whale population by working in the field as a citizen scientist with the Whales of Guerrero Research Project. For
3-4 days, visitors will work alongside American and Mexican scientists and local fishermen to spot, identify, and
make scientific observations of humpback whales and any of four species of dolphins found in the area. We also
frequently observe olive ridley sea turtles, manta rays, golden cow nosed and spotted eagle rays, red-billed tropic
birds, frigate birds, and countless other noteworthy marine species. In addition to learning humpback whale fluke
identification and hydro-acoustic recording techniques, you will also assist with recording other key ecosystem
data. Our citizen scientists come away with a wealth of knowledge about humpback whale behavior and biology
and the unique experience of being a part of a truly pioneering project.
Explore the Flora and Fauna of One of Mexico’s Best Hidden Treasures
On this biodiversity-focused tour, you will spend a day in Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo with a local naturalist guide,
along with some visiting experts on regional wildlife. Our local guides all have an extensive intimate knowledge
of regional fauna and flora. You will explore nature reserves in Ixtapa by land and kayak, see crocodiles, and
have opportunities to snorkel around Isla Ixtapa. The mangrove-filled lagoon directly behind the village of Barra
de Potosí serves as a nursery for hundreds of species of fish and birds including roseate spoonbills, boobies,
white pelicans, herons, and egrets. We will explore the lagoon in a panga and you will have opportunities to
independently explore the lagoon in kayaks throughout the week.
As a traveler on this tour you will also be invited to join guest scientists and interns on a science walk on the
beach and through the jungle to see the world through a biologist’s eyes. We will explore an exceptional variety of
ecosystems by visiting all eight biomes, or microclimates, that are found within a 75 square mile radius of Barra
de Potosí. You will also be invited to attend a night tour of a lagoon where crocodiles are commonly seen. We will
also make a trip to Valentin Lagoon, a gorgeous freshwater lagoon about 15 miles from town.
To help you get the most out of the experience and tailor it to your particular interests, we offer several add-on
activities at an additional cost through our local partners. For example, you can go horseback riding through the
jungle to a 20-mile beach known as “turtle beach,” for the thousands of turtle eggs that are laid there each year.
Or, you can enjoy a kayak tour on the lagoon with a trained naturalist. For surfers, our guides can clue you into our
local secret spots; board and wetsuit rentals are available, as well as local instructors for beginners.
In between field research trips and other activities, you can relax in the pool or take a siesta in a hammock. If
turtles hatch during the week, you will be invited to visit the nearby Ayotcalli Field Camp, which protects turtle
eggs and shepherds newborn turtles to the sea. Certified SCUBA divers (additional cost) and snorkelers will have
the opportunity to dive with a biologist or trained naturalist in one of our local hot spots to observe marine wildlife.
SPACE IS LIMITED
Call Oceanic Society today at (415) 256-9604 or email us at
firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a space.
Meet Our Team
Katherina Audley is the founder and director of the Whales of Guerrero Research Project. Fifteen
years of marine mammal studies have brought her up close to whales, dolphins and pinnipeds
in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, Hawaii, Mexico, Bolivia, Argentina and New Zealand.
Katherina has worked in Bahia de Potosí for the past 16 years and has maintained meaningful
relationships in both local and expat communities in the region.
ecotourism outfit in Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo that provides informative tours for travelers interested in
local biodiversity. Pablo was born and raised in Zihuatanejo and has an intimate scientific and
experiential knowledge of the regional fauna and flora. Pablo has been instrumental in bringing
together local communities to help conservationists generate awareness about migrating whales
in the region.
Denise King, M.S. has studied and taught subjects ranging from botany and ecology to marine
biology, microbiology, and evolution. Prior to setting anchor at the Exploratorium in San Francisco
as a senior exhibit developer in 2001, Denise worked as a field biologist and a lecturer at SF State.
King first visited the Bahia de Potosí region in 1999 and will be returning as a guest scientist and
Day 1: Arrive to Barra de Potosí (D)
Arrive at Zihuatanejo/Ixtapa airport where you
will be picked up and brought to your hotel.
Enjoy a welcome dinner with the project team.
Days 2-5: Whale Monitoring and Research (B,L)
We will spend most of the day out on the
water monitoring humpbacks whales and
dolphins and seeing other bay wildlife.
Day 6: Play Day (B,L)
A day to explore the area
and participate in other activities such as
horseback riding, kayaking, snorkeling, diving,
or simply relaxing in a hammock.*
Day 7: Crocodiles, Birds and Sea Turtles (B,L)
We will travel to Ixtapa and spend the day
having a close look at the area’s crocodiles,
birds, sea turtles and other fauna of interest.
Day 8: Encounter Eight Ecosystems in a Day
A biologist will guide us on an extensive
whirlwind tour of Barra de Potosí’s diverse
ecosystems. Special goodbye dinner in the
village or on the beach.
Day 9: Depart Barra de Potosi (B)
You will be dropped off at the Zihuatanejo/
Ixtapa airport and make your way home or to
your next destination.
Some of these activities may incur an
LOCAL PARTNERS: Whales of Guerrero
PROGRAM RATES INCLUDE: Educational
program by expert local guides • All
accommodations and meals as specified
in the itinerary • Local transportation
to and from airport • All excursions
• Complete packet of pre-departure
U.S. domestic and international airfare
• Passport and visa fees • Medical
expenses and immunizations • Trip
cancellation/interruption and baggage
insurance • Optional excursions or
deviations from the scheduled tour •
Excess-baggage charges • Meals not
specified in the itinerary; dishes and
beverages not part of the included meals
• Alcohol or soft drinks except where
indicated as included • Private transfers
or transfers not on program arrival and
departure days • Personal items such
as room service; email, telephone, and
fax charges; laundry; gratuities for non-
group services; and other items of a
Interact With Local Communities
You will also have the opportunity to participate in our outreach and education efforts by assisting
with informational workshops at local libraries and schools, where children are learning about
marine biology and the importance of biodiversity and have become extremely interested in the
humpback whales that return to their local waters each year.
Our guests will stay in a local Guest House with comfortable rooms surrounded by tall coconut
palm trees and verdant tropical gardens. Each room has a shaded porch area, table and chairs.
All rooms have ceiling fans and mini-fridges. The design of the rooms makes use of natural light
sources and refreshing tropical breezes. Daily maid service is provided.
Whales of Guerrero
This project was founded in 2013 with
the mission of using scientific research
and effective community outreach
strategies to provide local fishermen and
boat operators with a means to survive
without depleting local natural resources,
and to promote the unique region of
Potosi as a place worth protecting and
visiting. Our immediate scientific goals
are to conduct a study of the humpback
whale population in order to establish
a population count, contribute to the
Regional Fluke Identification Catalog,
record vocalizations, cow/calf pairs,
behaviors and movement patterns
around the bay.
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