Conserving Wetlands and Traditional Agriculture in Mexico

Wildlife & Ecosystems

Conserving Wetlands and Traditional Agriculture in Mexico

Help gather critical data on the sustainable use of one of Mexico City’s last wetlands.

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The facts

Why the research is important

Why the research is important

During the last few decades, there have been major changes in water and soil quality due to more intensive farming methods, urban development, and exotic species introduction.

The wetlands of Xochimilco represent many other developing urban areas around the world that suffer from water shortages and diminishing water quality, stemming largely from urbanization.

Sustainable agriculture in Mexico's Wetlands

Researchers and volunteers explore Mexico’s wetlands to gather critical data on the sustainable use of this ecosystem.

The researchers are also conducting an analysis of the economic and ecological values of natural resources in Mexico, with a focus on identifying economic tools for environmental management. They hope to demonstrate to local authorities that general welfare in Xochimilco will be enhanced if a more organic and sustainable agricultural approach is adopted, rather than the intensive agriculture that has been increasingly used over the past few years. The data collected will be used to increase local awareness, improve ecosystem health, and promote sustainable agricultural methods and business strategies to local farmers.

You will assist the researchers by collecting water and soil quality data at various locations throughout the Xochimilco wetlands, testing the effects of different land use and restoration methods on the health of the ecosystem. Water quality data includes dissolved oxygen, temperature, pH, conductivity, eutrophication indicators (nutrients such as nitrates, phosphates, turbidity, and water color), and organic pollution (fecal coliform, enterococos and biological indicators). In addition you will collect data on the presence of endemic species such as the axolotl salamander as well as indicator species such as macroinvertebrates.

Your data will contribute to a multiyear-long study on water quality where data is collected during both the dry and wet seasons. This data is also being collected as part of Earthwatch’s FreshWater Watch Program - a massive global research project investigating the health of freshwater ecosystems.

About the research area

Xochimilco, Mexico, Mexico, Central America & The Caribbean

Daily life in the field


This is a summary:

The Scientists


Ponce de Leon
Professor, Faculty of Sciences, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico

ABOUT Claudia Ponce de Leon

Dr. Claudia Ponce de Leon is a faculty member at UNAM in charge of the Environmental Analysis Unit and the Ecology and Natural Resources Area in the Faculty of Sciences. She has a PhD from the University of Cincinnati and a Master's degree from the University of East Anglia. Dr. Ponce de Leon specializes in water chemistry and the effects caused by environmental stressors on aquatic organisms, communities and ecosystems.



Accommodations and Food

Accommodations and Food


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