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Applied Estuarine Ecology of the Yucatan
Celestun, Mexico (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms:
Program Terms: Summer
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This program is currently not accepting applications.
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Minimum GPA Required:
APA Program Type: Summer Programs APA Advisor: Marissa Baham
Program Description:
Program Description:

Applied Estuarine Ecology of the Yucatan 2018

Yucatan Birds


This trip has been postponed!  Look for an update in May!  You can also email Dr. Ringelman,, to express interest in an upcoming trip.


Let's geaux to Mexico!

This summer you have the opportunity to study with three LSU faculty members at Ducks Unlimited de Mexico's (DUMAC) John Walker Center. Dr. Kevin Ringelman, Dr. Andy Nyman, and Dr. Luke Laborde will lead the group to Celestun, Mexico for a field-intensive field course focused on natural history, ecological restoration, and research techniques. DUMACs research center is located on the Yucatan peninsula and inside the Ria Celestun Biosphere Reserve.  Even though the Biosphere Reserve is small, it contains well preserved wetlands with diverse environments, including mangroves, coastal dunes and lagoons, grasslands and low flood forests. As you can imagine with diverse settings like those, the Biosphere Reserve is home to a large variety of  plants and wildlife. The group will conduct bird patrols at dawn and dusk in the different environments of the Biosphere Reserve, additionally you will participate in mangrove restoration activities.  You will spend your time exploring the Ria Celestun, the mangrove restoration site, Mayan Ruins, salt ponds, and an inland wetland restoration site. Not only will you learn from LSU faculty, you will work side by side with local guides and researchers. 

Dr. Ringelman is the program director and is an Assistant Professor specializing in waterbird ecology and wetland management. Dr. Nyman is a Professor who teaches courses in wetland plants and restoration ecology. Dr. Laborde is an instructor who teaches courses in wildlife ecology, natural history,and policy.  Dr. Ringelman, Dr. Laborde and Dr. Nyman have each spent time at the DUMAC center.  

Want to meet the students and faculty who will be going with you to Mexico this summer?  Like our Facebook page!

Dates & Costs

Start Date End Date Program Fee LSU Tuition & Fees (2 hours)
LSU Tuition & Fees (2 hours)
June 18 June 30 $2,525 instate: $955
out of state: $1,803
instate: $1,188
out of state: $1,984

Program Fee Includes

  • Housing at the DUMAC John Walker Center
  • All meals
  • Airfare from Baton Rouge to Merida, Mexico
  • Ground transportation between Merida Airport and the center
  • Fieldtrips and cultural events
  • Health insurance

Housing: Students live at DUMAC John Walker Center.  The center is gated and is accustomed to accommodating groups.

Meals: The Center will provide most meals and there will be a few meals off site

Celestun Reserve

Program Fee Does NOT Include

Tuition and Fees: You must pay tuition and fees for all courses you take through LSU.  The tuition you pay is based on whether or not you are a resident of Louisiana.  If you are an out of state student, you will pay out of state tuition and fees for all courses taken through LSU.

Spending money: Although most meals are provided, you should plan for additional expenditures, including meals not covered by the program fee, snacks, souvenirs, and outings with friends.


Course Description Professor
RNR 4062     Applied Estuarine Ecology of the Yucatan (2 hrs) Dr. Kevin Ringelman
RNR 7029 Applied Estuarine Ecology of the Yucatan (2 hrs graduate level) Dr. Kevin Ringelman

The group will often have to get up early (4:00am - 5:00am), follow tight daily schedules, work outside in adverse environmental conditions (heat, insects), and visit areas where you must act in a courteous and professional manner.  

Yucatan Mangrove



June 18 Group travels to Merida, Mexico together from Baton Rouge. Travel by van to Celestun, Mexico
June 19 Boat tour of Ria Celestun
June 20 Bird patrols
Mangrove Ecology discussions
Trip to coastal forest
June 21 Mangrove Restoration discussion
Trip to degraded and restored coastal forest
Bird Patrols
June 22 Bird Patrols
June 23 Trip to Mayan Ruin either Dzibilchaltun or Oxkintok
June 24 RnR day at the Center
Celestun beach trip
June 25 Discussion of San Bruno Mangrove Restoration by DUMAC
Birds and vegetation field trip to Coastal Forests
June 26 Field trip to San Bruno Mangrove Restoration project
June 27 Bird Patrols
Estuarine ecology, policy and politics 
Fish and SAV sampling
June 28 Bird Patrols
In person study of birds, non-woody vegetation, and vegetation the of beaches, dunes, and salt ponds
June 29 Ria Celestun river tour
Final exams
June 30 Group flys from Merida to Baton Rouge

Please note: this itinerary is tentative and subject to change


Faculty Member Department  
Dr. Kevin Ringelman Renewable Natural Resources Kevin Ringelman headshot
Dr. John Andy Nyman Renewable Natural Resources Andy Nyman
Dr. Luke Laborde Renewable Natural Resources Luke Laborde

Eligibility & Withdrawal

In order to be eligible for the program, you must:

  • Have a cumulative GPA of 2.5 (undergraduate) or 3.0 (graduate students).
  • Completed at least 60 credit hours
  • Succesfully completed RNR 2101/2070 or Biol 1209 and permission of instructor
  • Applicants are expected to have an interest in field biology
  • Be at least 18 years old by the first day of the program
  • Have stamina for field work in the summer heat (for more guidance on this, please contact Dr. Ringelman).
  • Not be on disciplinary or scholastic probation

NOTE: This program is open to students from all disciplines. Qualified applications from other insitutions are also welcome.

Application Deadline
March 23, 2018

Although the application deadline is March 23, you are advised to register early in order to secure a spot in the program. The program will fill on a first come, first served basis from those who meet the eligibility requirements.

Deposit: A $500 deposit will be placed on your LSU billing statement at the time that you apply to the program. Students at other universities must send in a check or money order (made payable to "Louisiana State University") for the $500 deposit along with their applications.

The $500 deposit is nonrefundable after February 2, 2018.

Payment Deadlines: the $500 deposit is put on your billing statement when you are accepted into the program and is due at the time that the charge appears.  The rest of the program fee (minus the $500 deposit) and tuition/fees for the courses will appear on your summer fee bill.  Those fee bills are available via myLSU in early May and are due in late May (specific dates TBD by the Registrar).

If you withdraw from the program: After February 2, you will be responsible for making payments on your study abroad program, even if you do not go on the program. The amount that you will owe is based on the date on which you withdraw. The withdrawal schedule is:

Date Withdrawal Costs
February 2, 2018 $500 deposit is non-refundable; student is obligated to pay for any non-refundable reservations the program has already paid, or is already contractually obligated to pay, on the student's behalf

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This program is currently not accepting applications.