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There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Fact Sheet:
Program Type: Global Learning Faculty-led
Language of Instruction:
Fields of Study:
Marine Biology Housing Options: Other
Program Description:
WWU Global Learning Programs Program Details Instructor Cost

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Global Learning

Tropical Marine Biological Research in La Paz, Mexico

BIOL 437A (Tropical Marine Organismal Biological Research) and BIOL 437B (Tropical Marine Ecological Research)
12 credits (6 credits each)

BIOL437 Syllabus 2016.pdf

Program dates:  Introduction to Tropical Marine Biology (BIOL 397A), 1 credit class spring quarter 2016;
June 27-July 29, 2016
Travel dates: June 25-July 31, 2016

This is an apprenticeship in conducting research in tropical marine habitats.  Students from Western Washington University and students from Universidad Autónoma de Baja California Sur (UABCS) work together to enhance their science skills.  The unique collaboration between WWU and UABCS faculty allows students to use different methods employed by scientists and to learn about marine biology from experts in the region.  Students conduct three laboratory and field-based guided projects and one independent research project.  This course is an enhanced culminating experience for students on their way to becoming scientists.

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Program Details

Program highlights:

  • Learning science skills and marine biological concepts with students from México.
  • Exploring ecosystems different than those found in the Pacific Northwest.
  • Experiencing a new culture through direct interactions with instructors and students from México.


  • The BIOL 200 series is a pre-requisite
  • Introduction to Tropical Marine Biology BIOL397A (Spring quarter) is a pre-requisite
  • BIOL497A is a co-requisite for BIOL497B
  • BIOL497B is a co-requisite for BIOL407A

Program Itinerary:

Calendar 2016.pdf


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Alejandro Acevedo-Gutiérrez
Born and raised in Mexico City, Alejandro Acevedo-Gutiérrez went to the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California Sur and earned the equivalent of a B.Sc. in marine biology.  (One of his best college friends is Dr. Flores-Ramirez, the Mexican instructor of this course). He earned his Ph.D. from Texas A&M University studying dolphin-shark interactions in a remote tropical island.  He loves living in Bellingham and working at Western, where his research lab studies harbor seal ecology.  His family is his wife Lisa, their son Ethan, and the memory of their beloved daughter Alima.  His career choice has allowed him to travel to many places, live in various countries, encounter fascinating creatures, learn about many cultures and meet wonderful people.

Phone: 360-650-3653
Office Location: Biol 309

Deborah Donovan
Deborah Donovan has been teaching at Western Washington University since 1998.  Her position is split between the Biology Department, where she teaches marine emphasis classes, and the Science Education Group, where she teaches classes for students training to be K12 teachers.  She holds a Master’s degree in Ecology from the University of California, Davis and a Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of British Columbia.  Her research focuses on the physiological ecology of marine mollusks and she is particularly interested in how marine invertebrates adapt to their environment.  She has been fortunate to complete research projects in many far away places including Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, the south island of New Zealand, Mexico’s Sea of Cortez, and Jamaica’s Discovery Bay.

Phone: 360 650- 7251
Office Location: BI310

Benjamin Miner
Benjamin Miner’s research focuses on the ability of organisms to change their behavior or morphology in response to environmental conditions, a phenomenon called phenotypic plasticity, and his expertise is in marine invertebrates. He has been lucky enough to work at institutions that have strong programs in marine biology.  His undergraduate degree is from UC Santa Cruz.  He worked at UC Santa Barbara as a research technician.  He earned my Ph.D. from the University of Florida, and did post-doctoral research at UC Davis’s marine lab, Bodega Marine Laboratory.   Since 2006, he has been teaching and researching at Western Washington University.

Phone: (360) 650-3640
Office Location: BI410

Sergio Francisco Flores Ramírez
Sergio was born in Puebla, Mexico. He attended the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California Sur in La Paz (UABCS), Mexico, —where he met Alejandro Acevedo, one of Western’s instructors for this course— and earned the equivalent of a B.Sc. in marine biology. Sergio earned his Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico. He is currently a professor in the department of Marine Biology at UABCS, where he and his students conduct conservation-based research on molecular ecology and applied genetics.


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Please click the budget sheet for program cost and payment information.


Program Ratings:
Academic Experience:
1 2 3 4 5
Program Value:
1 2 3 4 5
Housing Experience:
1 2 3
Cultural Immersion:
1 2 3
Program Administration:
1 2 3
Overall Experience:
1 2 3 4 5

This program is currently not accepting applications.