Monday, November 24, 2008

Never Seen Anything Like It!

Here are the photos of an incredible jelly found by Maureen Savino whilst she was walking on the beach in Playa Miramar. Fortunately she was close to the house of some friends, Sue and Jim Adams, and so went to tell them about her discovery and to ask them to bring a camera down to the beach. They had never seen anything like it!

Since then however, no-one has been able to identify the huge jelly, and so we're posting it on here not only to share these amazing photos with all of you, but in the hope that there's a jelly genius out there who can help us identify it....

Any ideas please feel free to post a comment or mail

Monday, October 20, 2008

Tide Calendar 2009

Today I saw a sneak preview of the new tide calendar and, not being very good at keeping secrets, decided I'd share it with all of you guys!

For your chance to get your hands on a copy visit us on the 15th of November for our book-signing and tide calendar event (mentioned below), and enjoy our informative coffee morning style talk on tides and the critters that live in their wake.

Alternatively, you can order your copy online: from our eco shop at

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Book signing event ahoy!

To celebrate the release of the incredible brand new book "The Edge of the Sea of Cortez" we shall be having a book signing event here at the CEDO field station with the authors Betty Hupp and Marilyn Malone, on the 15th of November.
The book focuses on tidewalking and the discovery of the many varied and dazzling creatures that can be found on the shores of Puerto Peñasco and the Upper Gulf of California.

Come along to get your copy and listen to the free talks on tides while enjoying a coffee (and maybe a cookie too!), and fire your previously unanswered questions at our director and the authors themselves.

Be sure to keep the date in your diary, times to be confirmed closer to the event.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Gus' Point of View

Ready for a bit of a change? Instead of just reading what I have to say every week, allow me to introduce our latest team member on the blogging front - Gus, a 13 year old from the States.

Gus' enthusiasm and interest in all things marine based is astounding, and since his writing skills rival those of many we have decided to bring him on board to express his points of view on various issues. I shall; leave you to read on in Gus' own words.....

note: photo of the Tessoro construction at the mouth of Estero Morúa.


Hi , my name is Gus and I’m a 13-year old volunteer at CEDO. I’m here to tell you about my experience on CEDO’s Sunset Estero tour. It was a very fun, hands-on, and specialized encounter with nature, and I would recommend it to anyone, young or old.

The tour was led by Kat, who is a dedicated intern at CEDO. She is extremely knowledgeable, and is a very passionate person. We were very lucky to have her as our guide.

Along with my mother and I, two adults came, Richard and Doreen. They own a house in Las Conchas, and are very environmentally conscious. They, too, thoroughly enjoyed the tour.

First, we piled into the CEDO van for the bumpy ride to Estero Morua with our survival gear (sun block and water.) In a few minutes, we arrived, and took seats under the palapas owned by the estuary’s oyster farmers. There, as the sun began to sink, Kat gave us an educational talk about the features of the estero. She told us how it is a safe haven and breeding grounds for one of Puerto Penasco’s essential revenues: shrimp. She also pointed out the many different species of bird living in Morua, and how it is a crucial resting place for many migrating flocks.

Sadly, Kat told us, the beautiful Estero Morua is under threat from developers who want to turn it into a mass tourist attraction and have thousands of people disturbing its fragile ecosystem. Not only would this be bad for Puerto Penasco’s shrimp population (which the town relies on for much of its income,) but also to the millions of other species that call the estero home. While the Mexican government has put useless protections on Estero Morua, such as stating that “No building or establishment shall harm the flamingoes in Estero Morua” while there are no flamingoes to be seen there, builders have already begun construction on “Tessoro,” which means treasure in Spanish, in the estuary. Tessoro is a huge resort, and perhaps to the people in charge of the project it does seem like a treasure that will bring them lots of money, but to the people of CEDO and all of the other people who love the natural world, it is a parasite living off the estuary’s beauty. If more resorts are built, there will be extreme damage done to the esteros that will not be able to be undone. Once gone, the estuaries are lost forever.

Once we finished our talk, we proceeded down to the water’s edge. While Richard and Doreen chose not to go into the water because they wanted to avoid getting nipped by swimming crabs (or Jaibas,) my mom, Kat, and I went plunging into the warm water to check out the boxes of oysters that were floating nearby. Kat explained to us how the oysters get their nourishment from the rich estuary water, and how Morua has a very large difference from low tide to high tide. As we were standing there, admiring the oyster farmers’ work, my mom suddenly gave a scream of fright. Kat and I started and looked around at her. She exclaimed “Something just pinched my foot!” Uh-oh. I knew it must have been the mischievous Jaibas! No sooner had I realized this than I, too felt something grab my big toe. “Ayiii!” I exclaimed. Everybody was laughing, albeit a bit nervously, and to avoid further Jaiba encounters, we headed back to the shore.

Kat then took us for a walk over to where the mud is softer and more nutrient-rich. There, she said, there would be great big fiddler crabs living in holes along the sand. Sure enough, we rounded some rocks and found hundreds, even thousands of giant fiddler crabs! Kat explained that the male crabs were attempting to attract mates by waving their big right claws at them. She said that if we could catch one, we would be able to get a better look at its intriguing structure. I saw a particularly big crab scurrying for cover as we approached. I chased him into a small water outlet running into the main estuary water. The little guy was incredibly fast for his size, and I barely managed to block his exit as Kat came up and grabbed him from behind. As she had said, the crab was very interesting, and we learned that its muscular structure was quite unique.

Next, we dropped our stuff off and walked for a little bit longer until we came to some good, soft, wet sand. Kat taught us how to do the shrimp dance, which consisted of simultaneously wiggling our toes and stomping our feet. In no time, everybody was knee deep in mud and laughing. Amazingly, this dance really did seem to attract the shrimp, for they began appearing all around us in the big holes we created. I decided to build a little pen for them, although they kept escaping by digging into the mud. We chose to move on, and I emptied the shrimp from my enclosure back into the holes from which they came. Getting out of the holes was quite difficult, but we managed it. It was such fun!

Before we walked back to the palapas, Kat showed us these salty plants that you can eat. She gave some to all of us and we tried it. Surprisingly, the edible plants are extremely tasty. I couldn’t stop eating them! We picked some to use to make salads for later, and then retrieved our stuff.

On the way back, we ran into a couple of oyster farmers making their final checks of the day on their oyster beds. Kat asked them whether they would show us how they did their work. They accepted with enthusiasm, and went on to describe to us in Spanish (with Kat as their translator) how they take care of their oysters. It was fascinating, and when my mom and I both got another good nip from a curious Jaiba, the farmers laughed and exclaimed “El Jaiba!”

We said goodbye to the oyster farmers and thanked them for letting us explore their farms. As we walked back up to the car, I gazed at the beautiful setting sun and reflected how extremely unique this place was. I reflected on the experience that I had just had, and as I took one last look out at the vast Estero Morua, a great, swelling feeling of happiness and awe swept over me. I got into the car, and put my arm around my mom.

All in one small trip, I had experienced a colossal adventure. I had learned amazing things, gained an environmental respect for the estuary, and made friends with two former strangers. My mom and I also found ourselves nearer together from this bonding experience. It’s not every day that you get the opportunity to do something as magical as what I was able to do, but luckily, CEDO is dedicated to bringing people closer to nature and all of its creatures through tours like this one. From the estuary adventure that I have been fortunate enough to experience, I have gained new determination to protect the beauty of Puerto Penasco and its unique environment. I believe that ordinary people, such as you and me, are the key to conserving the Sea of Cortez’s irreplaceable natural wonder. Together, we can save the Sea. Thank you Kat, for your kindness and enthusiasm, and thank you CEDO, for your wonderful contribution to conservation.


Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Head Out to Isla San Jorge on Saturday

Hop in a boat, travel through the waters of the Gulf and get ready for some fun with sea lions and birds, because this Saturday CEDO's Isla San Jorge Sojourn is on deck. The boat tour and snorkeling is not to be missed! This extremely fun eco-adventure also includes an introductory slideshow and talk on Gulf island ecology and CEDO research.

The all day event then takes you out to Isla San Jorge, consisting of three main islands and four smaller islands, full of an abundance of wildlife, including fish-eating bats, magnificent tropic birds, and those California sea lions. The reefs and waters around San Jorge support a diversity of life. Marine invertebrates of commercial importance, like sea cucumbers, scallops, mussels, oysters, snails and octopi as well as a variety of fish live in the waters. Don't miss your chance! The outing begins at CEDO's Nature Center in Puerto Peñasco at 7 am and goes until 2 pm. Click here to visit our website for more information and to make a reservation. See you on the island!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Saturday = Tidepool Time!

Enjoy an amazing evening checking out tidepools! From 6 - 8 pm on Saturday, Sept. 27, CEDO naturalists will take you on a journey through the rocky intertidal zone. Get hands on and be ready to see an array of life: crabs, brittle stars, chittons and all of their invertebrate companions. The Tidepool Exploration begins at 6 pm at the CEDO Nature Center in Puerto Peñasco. Click here to visit our website for more information. We'd love to see you out there!

Friday, September 19, 2008

The world's your oyster!

This Saturday (and every second Saturday after) we will be running the Oyster Experience tour out to the Punta Roja cooperative in Estero Morúa. This is truly an incredible day out, read on to discover one individual's previous experience, then conact me on to make your reservation!

“Escaping into the cool shade of CEDO’s castle–like main building, the day began with a natural history talk on the Gulf of California and it’s surrounding areas, before we made the short trip out to estero Morúa and the oyster farm.
Upon arriving at Punta Roja cooperative, we were surprised to discover how these local dedicated farmers live their lives completely intertwined with nature – working in accordance with lunar cycles and living in basic housing on the shores of these incredible wetlands, one of the most productive in the world.

Wading into the shallow waters we examined the floating boxes in which the oysters grow, and learned about the processes involved in maintaining them healthy and free of predators. During this talk however, an American Oyster Catcher, another inhabitant of the areas esteros, flew down and tried to steal a couple of tasty shellfish from the neighboring boxes!

Choosing our favorite shells carefully, we returned to consult Doña Antonia on the best way to cook our prizes. We experimented a little, using plants from the estuary, ginger and lots of butter to create ourselves a feast worthy of royal attention, and took our seats in the shade to eat and discuss the estuary, the cooperative and the future with Doña Antonia and the other members of the cooperative.”

- Preferred anon.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Cedo... but Not What You'd Expect!!

This week a wholly unexpected surprise dropped into my mail box- the delightful news that we have a dog named after us!! The Pepper/Martin family are huge fans of the work we're doing here in the Gulf, and felt for various reasons that our name would suit Cedo the dog - pictured right -fantastically.

Read on for the full story in Alisa Martin's own words:

" My fiancee's parents, Phil & Vicki Pepper have been visiting Puerto Peñasco for 30 years. The very first time they visited, Vicki was pregnant with Jacob! They have been supporters of CEDO for years. Now that they have their own home and a vacation rental in Las Conchas, they actively send visitors your way to learn more about the unique Sea of Cortez and it's ecology.
Jacob and I met...6.5 years ago at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). Since then, we have been vacationing in Peñasco with friends & family every chance that we get. We too have enjoyed numerous Natural History talks at CEDO and referred our friends to do the same.

About 5 years ago, Jacob and I decided to adopt a dog from a shelter. We took a trip to the shelter and saw many adorable dogs, but this one stood out. He was 6 months old and had an "interesting face", we thought "what is he"? We did not adopt a dog that day. But, a friend of ours in Santa Barbara had rescued 6 dogs from the shelter. These were dogs that she thought had great potential and needed to be rescued before their time ran out. We went to her house and there he was...that dog with the "interesting face"! We fostered him for a few days and fell in love.

For weeks we could not come up with a name for him. At this juncture, we were doing lots of the 9 hour long, drive through the night trips from Santa Barbara to Peñasco. I was thinking about some of the standout things in Peñasco. We were constantly giving directions to the Peppers' home in section 1, they endearingly refer to as, "The Shipwreck"...."it's the first right after CEDO and the whale bones. Naturally, people then wonder and ask..."what is CEDO?"Everywhere we went, people would see our dog and ask, "what is he"? Out of nowhere I finally said to Jacob..."Let's name his Cedo"! It was perfect, and it stuck! We are constantly explaining to people what his name means. So, you have advocates in Santa Barbara, California explaining that CEDO is the Center for the Study of Deserts & Oceans! He is also a German Shepard, Sharpei, Lab mix!"

Kat: Love it!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Fish Tales

This week one of our prominent CEDO researchers is off putting Peñasco's conservation efforts on the map! René has travelled to Acapulco to speak at a coastal fishing forum, on the successes of a subcommittee who have placed a temporary ban on the fishing of the Jaiba (or Swimming Crab in English) during it's reproductive cycle, allowing the jaiba to flourish unlike before.

The fisheries department is also working with local fishermen in the Northern Gulf, principally here in Peñasco, involving them in the monitoring of the jaiba, rock scallop and snails. CEDO seeks to work with the community and involve them directly in the conservation of the local areas, knowing that this is the way to successful conservation efforts - we can't do the job alone!

The estuaries of the Northern Gulf of Califonia are said to be the 3rd most productive ecosystem in the entire world, only following on the rainforests and coral reefs. The wetlands research team is currently disecting moluscs in order to analyse the carbon levels within the species. This is part of a wider project which, in short (!), is aimed at working out who eats who, and what, in these vital wetlands; information that will then help scientifically prove the value of the area, and hopefully further conservation laws.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Join CEDO for a Sunset Estero Excursion!

Head out with CEDO on Saturday, Sept. 13 to experience the beauty of a coastal wetland filled with the bountiful wildlife of the Northern Gulf of California: crabs, oysters, birds and so much more.

Prepare to get your hands and feet dirty all in the name of fun. Available for people of all ages. The adventure lasts three hours and starts at 4 p.m at CEDO's field station in Puerto Penasco, Sonora. For more information visit our website and to reserve a spot on the excursion, or ask any questions, email:

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Hearts and Souls

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, caring citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead.

Today, people throughout the world have come to accept degraded environments as staus quo, and yet this needn't be so. Here at CEDO we believe that education is the key to future conservation efforts, and it is our desire to reach as many people as possible, to get into their hearts and souls, and to inspire the green thoughts that reside in all ages and races.

It's no surprise that as we're growing up we often take our surroundings for granted having never known anything else, yet people care for the things they love, not those they take for granted. Knowing this the education team is busy preparing to take nearly 1000 5th graders from Puerto Peñasco under their wing in the 'Youth Towards a Sustainable Northern Gulf' program, and will soon be heading out to remote communities around the Northern Gulf in order to work with the next generation of conservationists!

The eco tourism team are also working hard with local hotels and developers to spread the word about our fantastic range of eco tours, ensuring that a greater number of people are aware of, and can enjoy, the wonders of the Sea of Cortez and the surrounding Sonoran Desert.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Well Under Way

With a new blogging community up and running and a new season of visitors shortly to step through our doors, things are well under way for Autumn 2008 here at CEDO.

Kick off your time here with a tidepool excursion this Saturday 30th August from 7-9am, accompanied by CEDO experts. Let the secrets of the tidepools be revealed to you as we hunt for starfish, urchins, anemones and many more wondeful creatures. Especially great for kids!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Check Out CEDO's New Website:

Our brand-new website has hit cyberspace and is ready for you to peruse at:

The site has been overhauled and redesigned to make it more friendly, informative and useful. Here at CEDO we are really excited to share it with you.

Our new website can be used to: plan a visit to CEDO in Puerto Peñasco, schedule an eco-adventure, learn about our conservation and research programs, and support CEDO's programs and campaigns, plus a variety of other things, too.

Feel free to post any comments, questions or recommendations about our new site here, or tell us what you think by emailing

What are you waiting for, go check it out now:

the Blog is Back!

A long time has passed since CEDO posted on it's blog, but that time has come to end.

We are going to be redesigning and reconfiguring our blog, adding all types of useful information to it for our eager CEDO friends out there: conservation news updates, photos of nature, wildlife and tidepools, and anything else related to the beautiful and bountiful Gulf of California and Sonoran Desert.

So stay tuned in here at the Tidepool. And check back often, there's bound to be something just for you, like the stunning scenery of Estero Morúa pictured above.