Arizona doesn't have ocean-front property, but there is a strong connection to the sea and its natural resources.

The Sea of Corterz, also known as the Gulf of California, is about 200 miles from Tucson, and scientists say it is an integral part of the Sonoran Desert's environment.

Many residents in this land-locked state are also attracted to the water for recreation and other purposes such as education.

Katrina Mangin, director of science education outreach at the University of Arizona's Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, says students can take various courses on a wide range of topics, including freshwater and marine algae, ecology and ichthyology, the study of fish.

Highlights abound outside the classroom, since some participants get their feet wet when they travel to the seaside community of Puerto PeƱasco, Mexico.

There is also a summer program in the Galapagos Islands in the Pacific Ocean.

"So part of the program is working with school children in the Galapagos and doing volunteer work at the national park as well as studying marine ecology and terrestrial ecology," Mangin says.