Michael Simanonok first visited Chile as a Tracing Darwin’s Path student in 2008. After that experience he changed his focus within his major in Biological Sciences to concentrate on ecology. Since then, he has worked for the Lewisville Aquatic Ecosystem Research Facility and was recently selected for a Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation Program International Research Experience for Students award, funded by the US National Science Foundation. While on his IRES fellowship, Mike lived in southern Chile and Argentina for 3 months, collaborating with Drs. Guillermo Martínez Pastur and Vanessa Lencinas at the Centro Austral de Investigaciones Científicas in Ushuaia, Argentina. His research subsequently was transformed into an honors thesis studying the effects of forestry management and invasive beavers on stream ecosystems in Tierra del Fuego. Now, Mike has also been awarded the “Best Poster” in the natural science category at the UNT Scholar’s Day event, a university-wide initiative to highlight undergraduate research at UNT. Congratulations Mike!
Kelli Moses has worked for the Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation Program since before it existed. As the student assistant for the Tracing Darwin’s Path study abroad program, Kelli has been a vital contact between the program and UNT’s study body. For these and other efforts, Kelli was recently selected at a university level for recognition as a “2010 Student Employee of the Year” award. Congratulations Kelli!
–> Stephen Dillenberg presenting his analysis of the historical trends in conservation research regarding the inclusion of ecological and social criteria. His findings showed a clear bias within academia to consider principally ecological considerations, while broader social criteria are still lacking.
–> Kelli Moses and a host of collaborators for their part presented the Miniature Forests of Cape Horn and how this novel research-conversation program has been able to link local, regional, national and international scales.
–> Michael Simanonok, for his part, gave the results of his honors thesis, which was supported by an NSF IRES grant. His work explored the dual effects of forestry and invasive beavers on stream ecosystems in Tierra del Fuego, finding that well managed forestry practices were able to maintain natural biodiversity and stream function, while beaver meadows exhibited high impacts on streams (see previous story on Mike’s award).
In January 2010, the U.S. and Chilean governments agreed on their binational environmental cooperation agenda. For the first time, this plan includes the implementation of the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve as a priority for both governments. In the meetings held in Washington, Drs. Ricardo Rozzi, Mary Kalin and Kenneth Sewell represented our program’s activities in the governmental meetings, in addition to sustaining talks with the Ecological Society of America and the National Science Foundation. In April, Dr. Jacqueline Tront from the State Department’s Office of Environmental Policy visited the Magallanes Region to hold meetings with the regional government authorities, including the regional director of CORFO (see photo) and the governor of the Chilean Antarctic Province. In addition, she held conversations with University of Magallanes officials and regional tourism operators to understand the meaning and impact of the Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation Program’s effort to link research and sustainability. The State Department is interested not only in supporting this novel venture in Cape Horn, but also taking the lessons learned at this remote wilderness area for application in other parts of Latin America and the world where their office works to mitigate the environmental impacts of trade.