New Lichen Expedition a Success

Lichen Expedition 2008.JPGA multi-national group of scientists, lead by Spanish lichenologist Dr. Leopoldo Sancho from the Universidad Complutense in Madrid, Spain, returned to the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve (CHBR) for a second major expedition in January. The trip continued work begun in 2005. This year the multidisciplinary team included taxonomists, geomorphologists, botanists, philosphers, UMAG masters students and UNT undergrads. The scientists and students navigated through the Northwest Arm of the Beagle Channel, studying principally the lichen flora found along recently receeded glacial valleys.

The taxanomic and ecological study will be linked to work done by Dr. Sancho and his colleagues in Antarctica and included the installation of a climate station in the Omora Park. Future work will continue to explore the effect of climate change and Antarctic-Subantarctic connections by using lichens. In addition, the team is helping Dr. Ricardo Rozzi, UMAG master’s student Yanet Medina and UNT undergrad Kelli Moses develop content for the narrative of the new “Garden of the Cape Horn Miniature Forest,” a trail being implemented in the Omora Park to bring this hidden aspect of biodiversity to tourists’ attention.