Science and Conservation

A detailed descriptions of Scientists and their projects supported by Selkie Travels

Find out more about the Projects and Scientists you can join through Selkie Travels. Supporting these hard working people and their projects could make a big difference for the amazing marine wildlife in Baja California Sur!

Lourdes (Luli) Martinez Estevez.

She is a mexican biologist focused on the study and conservation of terrestrial and marine wildlife. Luli has a master’s degree in Biological Sciences from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and is currently studying a PhD at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her PhD project is focused on the ecology of hawksbill turtles in the Gulf of California and the design of strategies focused on their conservation.

She is co-editor of two books: one on the dry forests of the Pacific coast of Mexico and the priority sites for their conservation, and another on the freshwater fish species of Mexico in danger of extinction. In addition to this, she has several publications in scientific journals, outreach, and book chapters.

She is a member of the Latin American Conservation Biology Consortium that organizes, since 2011, the Latin American Course on Conservation Biology in various countries including Mexico, Peru, Costa Rica, and Colombia.

Her research has been supported by internationally recognized organizations and foundations. These include: the WWF-Telcel Alliance, the Packard Foundation, NOAA Southwest Fisheries, UC Mexus, The Rufford Small Grants for Nature Conservation, The Myers Oceanographic and Marine Biology Trust, The UC Mexico Initiative, and National Geographic. She has been supported by CONACYT-UCMexus Scholarship, SEP Complemento Scholarship and P.E.O. International Peace Scholarship to carry out her PhD studies abroad.

She is an active member of several scientific organizations which include: Iniciativa Carey del Pacifico Oriental (ICAPO), the Mexican Pacific Telemetry Group, The Next Generation Sonoran Desert Researchers, and the Society for Conservation Biology. In the latter, she is a board member of the marine section where she coordinates the activities of the Diversity Committee in charge of promoting diversity and inclusion in marine sciences.

Maria de Lourdes Martinez Estevez_edited

Lulis Hawksbill Sea Turtle Research Project: 

Sea turtles are the most endangered group of marine vertebrates with 86% of all species threatened with extinction. Hawksbill sea turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) are Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List and are estimated to have declined over 80% in the past 3 generations. Thus, there is a critical need for focused conservation research to inform effective strategies for hawksbill recovery.

The goal of my research is to increase the formal spatial protection for the species while understanding how biological data of the species and fisheries activities can be combined as an ecosystem-based means to establish effective protected areas. To achieve this, I’m studying the spatial ecology of hawksbill sea turtles in the Gulf of California using satellite tagging methods (SPLASH, SPOT, Wildlife Computers) to identify key areas of high use and long term spatiotemporal distribution patterns. Also, I’m developing a high-resolution analysis on a known area of high hawksbill densities - a mangrove estuary at San Jose island, Mexico to examine sea turtle habitat utilization using VEMCO acoustic coded tags linked to acoustic monitoring receivers and critter cams (Go Pro cameras). Finally, I’m conducting a presence/absence survey in other habitats within the Gulf of California to identify areas where hawksbill sea turtles can be protected, to then work with Mexican partners and fishing communities to design a network of locally managed marine areas focused on the mitigation of hawksbill turtle declines while protecting fish nursery areas important for small-scale fisheries.