Our Organization 2016-11-15T13:34:45+00:00

In 1980 when the doors of the Intercultural Center for the Study of Deserts and Ocean (CEDO) first opened in Puerto Peñasco, Sonora, an environmental vision emerged for the Northern Gulf of California: we saw a future where coastal communities would participate actively in creating vibrant and sustainable livelihoods that are in balance with healthy and resilient ecosystems.

Field research was among the first activities of this young institution. Through partnerships with visiting researchers from across the U.S. and Mexico, community monitoring projects, and its own studies, CEDO built a research program that advanced understanding of biophysical, ecological and socio-economic processes, making the Northern Gulf one of the best understood ecosystems in all of Mexico.

From the beginning, CEDO committed to sharing this knowledge with the community of Puerto Peñasco, and later with eight other coastal communities, fostering an environmental culture among residents and visitors, and impacting hundreds of thousands of lives throughout the southwestern U.S. and northwestern Mexico. But with population growth, the influx of tourism, and increasing pressure on marine and coastal resources, the resulting impacts to species, habitats and processes grew to unsustainable levels. CEDO has responded with strategic conservation and management initiatives that bring together people, knowledge and solutions.

Thirty-five years later, CEDO has gleaned the local solutions and ideas offered during hundreds of inititatives as diverse as kids participating in environmental contests, commercial divers establishing a voluntary marine reserve, women making jewelry and handcrafts from recycled materials, and fisherman sharing thousands of hours of conservation and on-board observation to form the building blocks of CEDO’s integrated approach. Tried and proven technical solutions in an array of disciplines (education & training, research & monitoring, climate change assessment & adaptation, and economic initiatives) are today being scaled to address the socio-economic needs of nine communities that depend critically on the sustainable management of two interdependent ecological systems across the Northern Gulf of California. CEDO has grown from a staff of two to 26 with annual budget of almost $2 million and is now an international leader in ecosystem-based management. We believe that successful holistic solutions for complex systems can only spring from a core of community engagement and development. We invite you to join us as we continue to strengthen and challenge coastal communities to become stewards of their future and our oceans.


The Intercultural Center for the Studies of Deserts and Oceans (CEDO) is an active conservation, research and education center, that has been inspiring and empowering stewards for healthy Gulf of California ecosystems since 1980. Operated as a collaboration between Mexican and US non-profit organizations, CEDO offers programs and materials for the general public, school groups, researchers and stakeholders in nine communities of the Northern Gulf of California and throughout the US. Field station facilities support researchers and schools studying the area. Exhibits and educational programs, including field trips, nature talks and ecotours, offer the general public a glimpse into the fascinating natural history of the area. CEDO’s own research program focuses on climate change, ecosystem-based management and marine fisheries monitoring, management and conservation.

CEDO’s primary field office is located along the Northern Gulf of California coastline, in the Las Conchas subdivision in Puerto Peñasco, Sonora, Mexico.  It is in an area characterized by extreme tides, salinities, temperatures and a range of habitats such as islands, rocky reefs, bays, wetlands and estuaries. Thirty miles to the north lies the Pinacate Biosphere Reserve with dormant volcanoes, lava fields, and craters.

In addition to the main facility in Mexico, CEDO has a small administrative office in Tucson, Arizona, and can be contacted via USPS mail at CEDO, PO Box 44208, Tucson, AZ  85733 or phone at (520) 320-5473.

CEDO is a multi-use facility open to the public, visiting classes, and other groups.  CEDO functions as a field station for the exploration of local habitats, providing the following resources to enhance studies of the area.  At CEDO’s facilities in Puerto Peñasco, we connect people with science and conservation initiatives. CEDO invites everyone with an interest in the Northern Gulf to visit our facilities and join us in building a sustainable, healthy future.


Edificio Agustín Cortes
-Henry Harris Memorial Library: books and articles in both Spanish and English emphasizing the upper Gulf of California and surrounding Sonoran Desert.
-Reference collections of local flora and fauna.
-Laboratory: Dry and wet lab space, aquaria, and microscopes.
-Departure point for CEDO’s Naturarte Eco-Tours
-Location of bi-weekly Nature Talks free to the public on Tuesdays and Saturdays


Visitor’s Center
-Gift and Book store with local field guides, tide calendars, T-shirts etc. in a unique “Earthship” construction
-Exhibits: 55-ft. fin whale skeleton and as well as fisheries and historical displays