Home Features Marine biology professors plan to make a splash in Baja

Marine biology professors plan to make a splash in Baja


Students will be taking a field trip to Baja for units towards their education.
Photo courtesy of Comisión Mexicana de Filmaciones/Creative Commons

By Lindsay Darbyshire
Features Editor

This summer, Marine Biology students have the opportunity to visit Baja California with Professors Laurie McConnico and Silvio Favoreto in classes 222 and 222L.

The class, a University of California/California State University transferable course, will take students on a journey consisting of one week learning on campus starting June 11, and then a two week trip to Bahia de Los Angeles to study marine biology by snorkeling, collecting data, learning the local marine aquatic plant and animal life, and the opportunity to see marine life up close.

McConnico, who has been a marine biologist for 15 years, has been teaching at Cuesta College for ten years.

She instructs marine biology with Lab, ecology with lab, coastal field studies, and environmental biology lab.

McConnico earned her PhD at Universidad Autonoma de Baja California Sur, a university in Baja California, while studying seaweed and marine invertebrates.

McConnico has been doing research in Baja since 2000.

“The two week experience is likely to cost $900 and is a great deal. This price includes two weeks in Mexico, transportation to the field station and back, all food prepared by a chef, except three meals on travel days, seven boat excursions, hiking, a local museum trip and lodging at field station, as well as exploration time on the road,” said McConnico, who adds that scholarships are available to help with costs.

Favoreto, who teaches general microbiology, marine microbiology and microbiology of safe food, earned his PhD in microbiology in Sao Paulo, Brazil, at the Federal School of Medicine.

He got involved in microbiology by working with the Tropical Medicine project in foreign countries during his time as an undergraduate student.

“I was a laboratory researcher for 12 years in the US, always wanted to expand my academic skills to teaching and had the opportunity to do that at Cuesta,” Favoreto said. “[I] have been here for seven years and have a passion for my job.”

McConnico and Favoreto have made the trip down to Baja California together a total of four times.

“The Baja Class is a unique experience for the students to learn about Marine Biology in a diverse, rich environment, along with the cultural exposure to a foreign culture and the unique conditions found in the Sea of Cortez,” Favoreto said.