Resident Scholar


Support and encourage research by university researchers on the Eastern cape.

Ryan Anderson was a BCI Resident Scholar.  Read about his work below.




Scientific Research on the Eastern cape is essential to policy influencers and the public as they decide what the future of this coast will look like.  In the past 5 years there has been tremendous research activity in this region in order to decide what kind of development is sustainable on the Eastern cape.  Much more is needed.

We know little about the capacity of our aquifers, the amount of sediment or waste that can be survived by coral and sealife; and the land-sea relationship.  These questions and many more need to be answered.

Research is expensive.  The Resident Scholar program invites university students to come to Baja to do research for their thesis or classes.

University researchers raise the funds for this Research.


Why It Matters

A few years ago, a proposal for an enormous tourist center just 6 km from the Cabo Pulmo Reefs was proposed. The development promised a marina; 30,000 hotel rooms, homes and 2 golf courses.

Cabo Cortez proposed development

The developers submitted an impact study that assured the government and residents that there would be no damage to the reefs of Cabo Pulmo nor to the availability of fresh water to local residents. The impact report was found to be erroneous about many of the facts it stated.

In this case the errors were discovered before construction could begin…but the risk was significant.  The sediment from construction, the waste from homes and hotels, and the run-off from the golf courses may have threatened the survival of the reef and the population and diversity of sea life that provide resources to the region.  Ranches and villages may have lost access to fresh water.

If the reefs had died, Mexican residents might have lost a key food resource, commercial and recreational fisheries may have suffered, and the small businesses that depend on the reefs might have collapsed.  Future generations might never see areas like Cabo Pulmo, where sea life is protected and the abundance of fish and variety of species makes it possible to imagine ancient pristine oceans.

Development is to be expected on these beautiful shorelines.  It brings benefits - jobs and revenues to the region. But it is essential that both policy makers and Mexican citizens have the necessary scientific data to determine the kind of development that can be built without destroying the natural resources that support people.

We need solid scientific research about the Eastern cape shoreline.  We need to understand how activities on land impact our ocean resources and vice versa.  We need to provide policy makers, developers, and citizens with the tools they need to plan sustainable productive developments and businesses.

We need extensive amounts of research to be ready to make smart decisions for this coast.  BCI’s Resident Scholar program is designed to attract researchers to this region as part of this effort.



BCI promotes research that is relevant to the future use of the coastal region of the Eastern cape.

One method to do that is to support researchers who have projects with funding.


BCI supports that research by providing housing and internet service to selected researchers as part of our Resident Scholar program.

BCI selects Resident Scholars based on the relevance of their work to sustainable development on the Eastern cape.

Ryan Anderson

Ryan Anderson was the first researcher to be selected as a Resident Scholar.

He recently published two papers based on his dissertation. 

He did research for his thesis to receive a doctorate at the University of Kentucky.  Ryan spent a full year doing fieldwork for this thesis. BCI was able to help make the fieldwork possible by providing housing and Internet during that year.

Ryan’s thesis, titled “The Value of Place: Development Politics on the Eastern cape of Baja California Sur, Mexico” provides valuable information about the impact of the expansion of real estate markets in Baja; the values and consequent opinions about development held by residents of the region; the meaning of "sustainable development"; the meaning "community" in Cabo Pulmo; and finally an argument that social conflicts over development are often based on each person’s ability to participate in the development process itself.

The thesis is a fascinating document to read. In addition to its important and relevant examination of attitudes towards sustainable development on the Eastern cape, it provides a unique history of the region.

And it gives a rare glimpse into the personal feelings of Eastern cape residents regarding the near future of this coast as illustrated by this interview with Angeles, manager of “La Palapa” restaurant:

  “…development for me," she laughs,

"it’s something fearful… Because development means a big city, insecurity, massive growth. I don’t know. I love my pueblo as it is—I don’t want to see this in my pueblo.”

Ryan interviewed many people including Oscar who sells fresh produce on the Eastern cape:

‘I ask what "development" means to him. Oscar answers: "Progress. Sources of work. There aren't many sources of work around here."   ‘When asked about the impact of the La Riviera development and La Ribera he answers:

“In La Ribera you can't access the beach anymore. From a certain point of view you feel invaded because you can't go to your places anymore. I can't bring my daughter to these places--where will I take her? La Ribera used to be really beautiful.

People talk about progress, but where does all the money go?  In [Cabo] San Lucas it used to be really beautiful as well, but now you can't access [thebeach] ... and the same thing is going to happen here. People talk about progress and jobs, but it really hasn't happened. Los Cabos used to be really affordable and cheap, but not now. They have made a mess of Cabo San Lucas, and they always blame the gringos, but it was investors from Spain and Mexico [who were at fault].”

 (Link to thesis)

Ryan’s research is a study of the values and concerns of East presidents regarding development.

BCI is interested in projects for research in Marine science, terrestrial science, and sustainable development. Applications are now being accepted.

 Ryan Anderson, BCI Resident Scholar




Cabo Pulmo water, desert, beach and sea



(these are in the dropbox in resident scholar file – link sent to you.)

Link to Anderson dissertation

Link to Anderson article 1

Link to Andersaon article 2

Link to application



Are you a student or research scientist who would like to do research on the Eastern cape?

Apply for BCI’s Resident Scholar program:

E-mail:  Resident Scholar at

[email protected]