The Last Untamed Mexican River

I am happy to announce that National Geographic Society / Waitt Grants Program has funded an expedition to the last untamed Mexican River: The San Pedro Mezquital. Together with my friend and colleague Jaime Rojo, we will travel along the three Mexican States that the river crosses: Durango, Sinaloa, and Nayarit. More importantly, this river supplies most of the freshwater for the largest Biosphere Reserve wetland area in the Gulf of California: Marismas Nacionales.

As a function of its relatively pristine state, the San Pedro Mezquital crosses and nurtures unique ecosystems with rare floral and faunal assemblages, as well as singular traditional cultures ranging from the Huichol People in the high sierras to the Meztitlán swamp fishermen in the mangroves of Marismas. Because of its sheer inaccessibility, it has received relative protection from the anthropogenic threats experienced by other riparian ecosystems in Mexico. With the help of several NGOs such as WWF-Mexico and SuMar, we will be able to make this incredible journey. This expedition is of immediate importance for both science and conservation of the San Pedro River, and will serve to further future collaborative efforts of conservationists, academics, and the Mexican government in the protection of an untouched land-ocean connection.

In collaboration with Jaime, we will be posting our adventures, with images and videos, and important scientific findings that we will get during our expedition.

Photo by Octavio Aburto / WWF

 

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Winner of the 2012 Photo Contest: Octavio Aburto

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As a research scientist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO), and a professional photographer associated with the International League of Conservation Photographers, Octavio has been photographing marine ecosystems off the coastal waters of Mexico since 1994. His photographs have been used to illustrate outreach publications about the conservation of marine habitats, Marine Protected Areas, and commercially important species and their fisheries. As a scientist Octavio's research has focused on mangrove ecosystem services, marine reserves, and commercially exploited marine species and their fisheries off the shores of Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica and the U.S. Octavio obtained his PhD at the Center of Marine Biodiversity and Conservation at SIO, and was awarded the Jean Fort Award by the University of California, San Diego, for his significant contribution on an issue of public concern through his doctoral research.