Summer Marine Biology course safe for now

While summer session potentially faces elimination altogether, Pierce College’s annual Marine Biology summer course that travels to the Sea of Cortez remains safe for the time being, according to Dr. Raymond Wells, professor of biology.

“I am under the assumption that my course will go on as it has for 26 years as part of the Marine Science program,” said Wells.

Biology 123, also known as Marine Biology of the Sea of Cortez in Bahia de los Angeles, Baja California, has been taught for 26 years at Pierce, according to Wells.

“It’s the longest running international education course I can think of anywhere of its kind,” said Wells. “Its a class that has a life of its own.”

Since the Sea of Cortez is such a diverse body of water students are able to take advantage of this by being able to snorkel around the local islands to learn about everything from fish and invertebrate behavior, to the ecology of seabirds and marine mammals, according to, Well’s website dedicated to the course.

“It wouldn’t be a good thing to cut a class like this,” said Pierce student, Meagan Truxal. “It’s so unique and we should try to cherish it.”

This course brings the subject to life by making the material relevant, according to Truxal.

“You learn about it in theory then seeing how it actually works is beneficial,” said Truxal.

Joana Salas, biology major and veteran of the course looks forward to taking it again this summer.

“It was the most amazing experience of my life,” said Salas. “I’m excited for whale watching.”

The course fulfills both biology and a lab requirement that is spread out over a five-week period and is taught like a graduate course, according to Wells.

“There is no other community college in California that teaches as many marine biology oceanography courses as Pierce,” said Wells.

While this class can potentially face elimination with the downfall of summer session, biology students remain hopeful.

“This class has more of an emotional value than any other class,” said Salas.