Vermilion Sea Field Station


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Nestled upon the shores of the Sea of Cortez within the Bahía de los Ángeles Biosphere reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Vermilion Sea Field Station (VSFS) has hosted scientists, conservationists, educators, and students since the 1970’s. Originally the headquarters for gold and silver mining operations, the adobe building was one of the first buildings in town. Later, the San Diego Natural History Museum began using the facility as a field station for natural history research. In the early 1970’s, management of the field station was transfered to Lane McDonald — a college professor who sought to bring his marine biology, human ecology, and natural history students into the natural world. He also encouraged researchers in a variety of fields to begin conducting research on the remarkable ecosystems around the field station. Since then, VSFS has been used by countless schools, educational programs, and researchers, including world-renowned scientists, authors, and media figures. The station has hosted a great variety of universities, including Stanford University, Vanderbilt University, the University of Colorado, and BIOLA.

The Vermilion Sea Field Station – named by Dr. George Lindsey in the mid-1900’s because of the spectacular colors that paint the bay each sunrise and sunset – is adopted and transformed by each group that visits. The main building has 12 large rooms including a large kitchen, classroom, specimen room, lab space, offices, and rooms for changing and storing personal items. Behind the main building is a separate staff house and storage building. The south end of the building has a large storage garage with 30+ comfortable canvas cots, kayak, barbecue grill. Students, researchers, and visitors enjoy the large ocean front veranda and fully-articulated fin whale skeleton.

For more information about visiting the VSFS or about bringing a group of your own, click on Start Your Own Field Course or email us at The cornerstone to all our programming is to provide a safe, respectful, inclusive, and enriching experience to both our visitors and our community here in Bahía de Los Ángeles.

Looking to experience the Baja high desert? Learn about our Rancho San Gregorio Field Station.


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