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Juan Luis Cifuentes Lemus: Doctor Taxista

Published Aug 3, 2007 - (Updated Jan 31, 2012)

The enthusiasm and passion of Dr. Juan Luis Cifuentes Lemus, Honoris Causa of CUCosta (Centro Universitario de la Costa, UDG), precedes this marine biologist, public activist and environmentalist. With a motto of “living beings well-evaluated” (los seres vivos bien evaluados), he focuses his prime attention on the youth, believing that “what we know, we take care of.”

Although his early years were spent studying botany, it was through the doorway of the microscope that he first entered the fascinating world of the protozoa. Step by step, he was led to the sea by the “amazing invertebrates of which there are some 50,000 species. Investigating just those consisting of microscopic shells, I could lose myself completely.”

“It’s my passion that keeps me going. That they pay me to just have a good time continues to astonish me. In my early days, they used to call me “Doctor Taxista” because, in Mexico City, I went from school to school where I gave my classes by taxi. I learned that if I didn’t create a different class for each group, sometimes five times a day, I would end up getting bored myself!”

Throughout his life, he has continued to find his way to the edge of the sea, even though he says he is no longer able to dive. Never flagging in enthusiasm, never discontinuing his classes since he began in 1963, Dr. Cifuentes says, “My objective is to not only pass on my experience but, most of all, to inject my enthusiasm about the natural world into the learning process.”

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