The Living Estuary

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I am very fortunate to live within two miles of an amazing body of water. It is El Estero del Soldado, an estuary connected to the Sea of Cortez near Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico.

This lagoon is a superorganism. It is a hierarchy of Nature’s patterns — crabs, shrimp, fish, herons, pelicans, ospreys, migrating birds, and three species of the mangrove plant. It is connected to the sea and its creatures are connected to it. This dynamic estuary moves its lifeblood of nutrients from the Sea of Cortez with the ebb and flow of the tides.

In return for sustenance, this estuary and others along the western coast of Mexico help sustain the Sea of Cortez. The sea’s creatures are born in the protected waters of the estuaries but migrate to open water with time. It is because of El Estero del Soldado and other lagoons — nurseries of the sea — that the Sea of Cortez is such a resilient body of water.

As I sit here each day I marvel at this symphony of interdependencies that exist without a conductor. These patterns in Nature, all superorganisms themselves sustaining each other without a leader.

The only superorganism that doesn’t contribute to this vital network of life is man, and his creatures and inventions. With our dogs, our ATVs, our fishing nets, or crabbing forks, our agricultural runoff, and our plans for marinas, we serve to destroy the incredible synergy of these hierarchal superorganisms.

The creatures and organisms of El Estero del Soldado are interconnected because that is how they grow.  But, by us being connected, we destroy.

My name is Bill Graham. As a Marine Biologist who has worked in the US and Mexico for 30 years, I am a student of Nature, a teacher, a researcher, and a nature photographer. Through my work, I have acquired an ever growing passion for how everything in Nature is connected. Today, I travel extensively contemplating about, writing about, and photographing Nature’s connections. I also work with conservation projects in the USA and Mexico and mentor talented youth.

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