UA's Tumamoc Lecture Series Focuses on World's Most Endangered Marine Mammal

Jan. 15, 2019

UA's Tumamoc Lecture Series Focuses on World's Most Endangered Marine Mammal

  • What: A series of monthly public talks about the vaquita porpoise
  • When: 6 p.m. on Wednesdays, Jan. 16, Feb. 20, March 20, April 17, May 15
  • Where: Desert Laboratory on Tumamoc Hill

TUCSON, Ariz. — This spring, the UA Science Tumamoc Hill public lecture series will focus on the world's smallest porpoise, the vaquita (Phocoena sinus), which has been pushed to the brink of extinction by illegal gill net fishing practices. The vaquita is endemic to the northern Gulf of California in Mexico, and only 60 animals of the critically endangered species are estimated to be alive today, although data on the elusive marine mammal is sparse.

During the lecture series, "La Vaquita Marina , the World’s Most Endangered Marine Mammal: Where Do We Go from Here?", experts from the U.S. and Mexico will share insights into the biology, ecology and socio-economic connections surrounding the vaquita.

The free lectures begin at 6 p.m., and are open to the public. Seating is limited, and reservations are required to ensure sufficient shuttle service to the Desert Laboratory buildings, which are located roughly halfway up the hill. Contact Cynthia Anson at or 520-629-9455 to reserve a seat.


  • Jan. 16: Vanishing Vaquitas: Lessons from a Humble Porpoise
    Speaker: Barbara Taylor, U.S. National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) 
  • Feb. 20: Stories from the Field
    Speakers: Brooke Bessesen, author, and Pablo Curiel, World Wildlife Fund (WWF)
  • March 20: Managing Two Species on the Brink of Extinction
    Speakers: Ana Luisa Figueroa, CONANP (National Commission for Natural Protected Areas, Mexico), and Marcela Vasquez-Leon, UA Center for Latin American Studies
  • April 17: Local Livelihoods
    Speakers: Lorenzo Bracho Rojas, CIRVA (International Committee for Vaquita Recovery), and Victor Ricárdez, social anthropologist, Center for the Study of Deserts and Oceans (CEDO), Puerto Penasco, Mexico
  • May 15: Lessons to be Learned and Market-Driven Solutions
    Speakers: Sarah Mesnik, NOAA/Southwest Fisheries Center, and Peggy Turk Boyer, CEDO

Media contact:
Benjamin Wilder
Tumamoc Hill
Established in 1885, the University of Arizona, the state's super land-grant university with two medical schools, produces graduates who are real-world ready through its 100% Engagement initiative. Recognized as a global leader and ranked 16th for the employability of its graduates, the UA is also a leader in research, bringing more than $622 million in research investment each year, and ranking 21st among all public universities. The UA is advancing the frontiers of interdisciplinary scholarship and entrepreneurial partnerships, and is a member of the Association of American Universities, the 62 leading public and private research universities. It benefits the state with an estimated economic impact of $8.3 billion annually.