EcoWB is partnering with five other organization to construct and operate a modern laboratory and field station on the ITESME campus in Santa Rosalía, Baja California, MX to serve as a center for research, education and conservation efforts for the middle Sea of Cortez region.

Position Title:

Director of Research and Operations, SURMAR/ASIMAR[1] Program and associated marine laboratory  


SURMAR was formed in 2012 as a fiscal sponsorship project of The Ocean Foundation, Washington, DC, to represent shared interests of educational institutions, businesses, community groups, and non-profit organizations concerned with the ecological integrity of the Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California) and the social and economic well-being of residents of Santa Rosalía, BCS, México and surrounding areas. SUMAR’s mission is to deepen our understanding of natural processes in ways that will foster sustainable utilization and conservation of local natural resources. Supported activities include basic and applied research in the natural and social sciences, education, conservation, and community outreach.

Supporting organizations include:

  • Minera y Metalúrgica del Boleo (MMB)
  • Instituto Tecnológico Superior De Mulegé (ITESME)
  • Fundación Hagamos Mas por Santa Rosalía (FHMSR)
  • Ecologists Without Borders (EcoWB)
  • Western Flyer Foundation (WFF)
  • Stanford University

A major goal of SURMAR is to construct and operate a modern laboratory and field station on the ITESME campus in Santa Rosalía to serve as a center for research, education and conservation efforts. Construction of the SURMAR laboratory will be completed in 2019.  Several research and monitoring projects are already underway.  Dr. William Gilly (Hopkins Marine Station, Stanford University) and Dr. Unai Markaida (Colegio de la Frontera Sur, Campeche) are Co-Directors of SURMAR/ASIMAR. A Board of Directors includes representatives from the supporting institutions listed above.

Position Description:

A Director of Research and Operations (DRO) is sought to develop and run SURMAR programs and infrastructure in Santa Rosalia. This is a full-time position, although hours will be flexible. Compensation and benefits are described below.

Working closely with Dr. Gilly, the SURMAR Board of Directors and representatives of supporting organizations, the DRO will engage in five primary activities:

  1. Plan, implement, and coordinate programs designed to establish, grow, and sustain a scientific research-education center that is focused on marine and terrestrial habitats, taxa, and processes in the area of the Vizcaino Biosphere Reserve and Guaymas Basin;
  2. Oversee final construction, set up, and operation of the SURMAR laboratory;
  3. Participate and gradually assume a leadership role in ongoing marine monitoring activities and sustainable fisheries projects in Santa Rosalia;
  4. Conceive of, communicate, secure funding for, and implement strategic initiatives and projects consistent with SURMAR’s mission; and
  5. Hire and coordinate staff and solicit and direct volunteers to accomplish SURMAR’s objectives

This position requires significant individual discipline, patience, perseverance, and self-motivation to help shape and accomplish SURMAR goals and objectives, and to constructively interact with other project participants and beneficiaries. The DRO position is ideally suited for someone who has recently received a PhD or retired with extensive experience in the natural sciences, including marine ecology, fisheries science, natural resource management, and oceanography. Such an individual must possess an aptitude for and derive enjoyment from conducting research and working collaboratively with students and faculty, fishermen, and other stakeholders. Fluency in English and Spanish is necessary. Mexican residency or citizenship is desirable but not required.

The DRO will work with, and be accountable to the SURMAR Board of Directors as well as to individual project sponsors. They will receive logistical and financial support, including administrative assistance, from these and other organizations. After a 3-month start-up period, the DRO will be expected to oversee the administration and management of ongoing monitoring and fishery improvement projects. Depending on their performance and the availability of funding, the DRO’s responsibilities and compensation may be adjusted upwards in the first quarter of 2019.

If successful, the DRO will take on more responsibilities and wield greater influence over SURMAR-sponsored projects and initiatives in the future.

Work hours: 

The DRO is expected to work an average of 40 hours per week, including time spent in travel. Work hours will need to be flexible to accommodate project schedules and deadlines.


​$2,500 – $3,000 per month, depending on qualifications, skills, and competencies, plus basic accommodations, allowances for travel, and communications. The DRO will be provided rent-free, a one-bedroom casita in Playa Dos Amigos, located in a small community on San Lucas Cove eight miles south of Santa Rosalía. They will be expected to pay for propane (there is limited solar power) and basic upkeep of the accommodations. A vehicle fuel allowance of $100 per month will be available for use while employed by SURMAR.  A truck will available for limited personal use during this time.  Automobile insurance, including liability insurance and personal injury protection in accordance with Mexican law, will be provided.

Most of the work will be performed in Santa Rosalía and surrounding communities.  However, some travel to fishing ports and towns within a 200-mile radius of Santa Rosalía will be required. The DRO may also be required to travel to other places in México and the United States to perform project-related work.

Office and equipment storage space will be provided.

The DRO will need to provide their own computer and phone.  An $80 per month allowance will be provided to cover computer and phone-related costs.

The DRO will be responsible for their own health insurance and medical costs.  Foreigners may enroll in a limited health care program at reasonable cost in Santa Rosalía.


  • PhD (granted or in progress) in a field related to marine or fisheries science
  • Self-directed and self-motivated with a high level of integrity
  • Ability to live and work in Santa Rosalía for most of the year
  • Fluency in English and Spanish
  • Acceptable verbal and written communication skills, including ability to write reports, scientific publications, research proposals, and grant applications
  • Familiarity with online and print media
  • Scientific research, monitoring, and assessment experience.
  • Project management experience, including planning, administration, financial management, document preparation and delivery, and personnel management.
  • Technical skills, including ability to operate computer equipment and software, sampling gear and instruments, automobiles and small boats.
  • Ability to work with individuals and organizations representing diverse interests and backgrounds.
  • Ability to assume leadership of ongoing marine monitoring and assessment, and small-scale fishery improvement projects.
  • Ability to complete projects on budget and on time, even when priorities shift or multiple, high-priority tasks need simultaneous attention.
  • Ability to participate in SURMAR meetings, plan and facilitate stakeholder workshops, solicit and exchange information, and lead discussions, with the goal of promoting the SURMAR vision and desired outcomes.

Application Process: 

Submit a resume, list of publications, and a brief cover letter describing your interest, qualifications, and ability to complete the work outlined in this announcement. Email your application materials to Be sure to include your phone number and email address.

The application period for this position will remain open until someone is hired for the position.  We will review applications as they are received until an acceptable candidate is found.

All respondents will be contacted by a SURMAR representative to discuss the position and their qualifications in greater detail. On the basis of information received, promising applicants will be reviewed and interviewed by the additional members of the SURMAR Board of Directors.

The selected applicant will be required to sign a contract and agree to a scope of work prior to being hired.

[1] Sustainable Utilization and Research of the Mar De Cortés/Aprovechamiento Sustentable e Investigación del Centro Mar de Cortés.


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