Report from “6th Southern Connection Conference”

0001 (2).jpgDuring the 6th Southern Connection Conference, carried out in Bariloche, Argentina from 15-19 February 2010, the Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation Program co-sponsored with its Chilean and Argentine colleagues a symposium to address the use of long-term socio-ecological research (LTSER) sites as a platform to affect conservation and management of the southern temperate forest biome found in Argentina, Chile, New Zealand and Australia. The Southern Connection Conference is a tri-annual meeting of ecologists, geographers, geologists and paleobiologists, begun in 1993 as an effort for the countries that were once part of the Gondwana supercontinent (Argentina, Chile, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand), to have the opportunity to share experiences and to generate collaborations. The invited participants to the LTSER symposium included representatives from Chile, Argentina and Tasmania, in the Program’s broader effort to promote LTSER initiatives in the Southern Hemisphere. In this context, the event co-organized by Dr. Christopher Anderson, Subantarctic Program Coordinator, and Dr. Guillermo Martinez Pastur, a forest ecologist at the Austral Scientific Research Center in Ushuaia, Argentina, was intended to further the ongoing work of the University of North Texas, the University of Magallanes and the Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity to implement a Chilean network of LTSER sites that work also on the integration of academic disciplines and the academy with society. Additionally, the Program will launch in March a special edition of the Revista Chilena de Historia Natural, which shares the proceedings of a previous workshop held at the Omora Park in 2008 about this topic.

Minister of National Lands Visits Omora Park to Expand Its Boundaries

Ministra pendon2.JPGOn February 12, the Minister of National Lands in Chile Jacqueline Weinstein presided over a ceremony in the Omora Park to give the University of Magallanes a new lease to extend the park’s boundaries. With the incorporation of these new parcels of land, the Omora Park now extends over 1,000 hectares and is better able to fulfill its primary function of protecting the watershed that provides drinking water to the town of Puerto Williams. Furthermore, the new lease includes the summit of Robalo Mountain and ensures a complete altitudinal profile for the long-term research and studies conducted in the park.

Subantarctic Biocultural Conservation Program in US/Chile Binational Working Group

Ambassador.jpgIn January, Drs. Kenneth Sewell (Associate Vice-President for Research) and Ricardo Rozzi (Director of Omora Park) traveled to Washington D.C. accompanied by Dr. Mary Kalin (Director Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity), to present the Subantarctic Biocultural Conservation Program’s research, education and conservation agenda in the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve for consideration in the deliberations regarding the binational working plan on environmental cooperation. These conversations took place in the context of the Fifth Meeting of the Environmental Affairs Council and Third Meeting of the Joint Commission for Environmental Cooperation. At that time, the Chilean Delegation, headed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Environment Commission, prioritized the Cape Horn project as one of national priority, which now sets the stage to materialize this long-term program goal into a concrete action plan for strengthening this binational partnership. In addition to the meetings at the State Department, Drs. Sewell and Rozzi also met with the Executive Director of the Ecological Society of America, Program Officers at the National Science Foundation, the Finnish Embassy and were hosted for a breakfast by the Chilean Ambassador to the United States (see photo).

Tracing Darwin’s Path Integrates Art, Philosophy and Ecology

Group panorama pic.jpgIn its 5th version Tracing Darwin’s Path, the Subantarctic Biocultural Conservation Program’s premier field experience for Chilean and US students, took on the challenge of integrating art, philosophy and ecology. With the collaboration of Magallenic artist Paola Vezzani students utilized techniques from drawing and the arts to enhance their observation, description and comprehension of biological and cultural diversity in the subantarctic ecoregion. This year also for the first time, Melissa Armstrong, SEEDS Program Manager from the Ecological Society of America, participated with the course sharing her experience promoting diversity in ecological education, but also collaborating in a formal evaluation of the course. Subsequently, 8 students remained in southern Chile and Argentina to conduct independent research as part of an NSF-funded project to provide international research experience to students.

Sub-Antarctic Conservation Program Launches Search for Ecosystem Ecologist

Logo_UNT2.jpgThe University of North Texas (UNT: seeks a Senior Level Ecosystem Ecologist (rank open, preference full professor) with a Ph.D. in ecology or related field and research and teaching activities in a specific subdiscipline, such as biogeochemistry or similar area, to be part of an interdisciplinary program in Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Research and Conservation (, focusing on ecology and culture in southern Chile. Coordinated by the Departments of Biological Sciences and Philosophy & Religion Studies, the Program has numerous collaborations, including the Chilean Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity ( and the Universidad de Magallanes ( For posting details and how to apply visit For more information: Dr. Christopher B. Anderson, UNT is an AA/ADA/EOE.

Tourism with a Hand Lens in the Tropics

Cape Horn held a special place in the recent Ibero-American Conference on Biodiversity and Ecotourism, held from 9-12 November at the National Biodiversity Institute in San Jose, Costa Rica. Bringing together invited lecturers from Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Spain, this event offered a forum to discuss how biodiversity is being used in sustainable tourism, and also what are the impacts of tourism on biodiversity. In this context, Dr. Christopher Anderson, in representation of the Omora Alliance (UNT, UMAG and IEB) presented the experience of Tourism with a Hand Lens. In his analysis of the state of ecotourism/biodviersity in the extreme south of the Americas, he showed how traditionally small areas of the region (e.g., penguin colonies) or particular large fauna (including exotic species) have been included in tourism ventures. Even Charles Darwin himself observed in the early 1800s that Patagonia only had a few lizards and birds. However, in reality thanks to the research at the Omora Ethnobotanical Park, today we not only know, but can appreciate the amazing, and sometimes small, diversity of life found in the subantarctic ecoregion. This approach, including Tourism with a Hand Lens, was so well received by the participants of the conference that a special segment for Costa Rican television was filmed. Check soon for a link to the video.

Great-great-granddaughter of Charles Darwin Visits Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve

Sarah D and RR.JPGDuring the recent inauguration of the project “Ecotourism with a Hand Lens in the Chilean Subantarctic Region”, a series of national and international authorities traveled to Puerto Williams and Punta Arenas to celebrate the Omora Park’s new initiative, financed by the Chilean Ministry of Economy. Among these, Sarah Darwin flew in from Brazil, where she is filming a new documentary about her famous ancestor, to participate with Dr. Ricardo Rozzi in the part of the event that took place in Wulaia Bay, where Darwin had some of his most crucial encounters with the Yahgan tribe (in the photo, Sarah Darwin and Ricardo Rozzi review the notes Charles Darwin took from Wulaia bay in 1833 while a Dutch film crew records the event).

Inauguration of “Ecotourism with a Hand Lens”

Urban in front of sign at Program House.JPGThe Omora Park celebrated the inauguration of its INNOVA-CORFO project “Ecotourism with a Hand Lens in the Chilean Subantarctic Region”, funded by the Chilean Ministry of Economy, with a two day celebration in Punta Arenas and Puerto Williams that included authorities from the Universidad de Magallanes, the Chilean Environment Commission, the Chilean Ministry of Economy, the Chilean Commission of Science and Technology, the Magallanes Regional Government, the Chilean Air Force, the Chilean Navy, the University of North Texas, and the US Embassy in Chile, as well as various representatives from major media outlets. These delegates conducted various meetings with university officials, including a videoconference with UNT administrators, as part of the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve’s ongoing efforts to consolidate an international, interdisciplinary and inter-institutional program for biocultural research, education and conservation (in the photo, Deputy US Ambassador to Chile Carol Urban at the Omora Program Office in Punta Arenas).

In the press:


logo ASM.pngDr. Christopher Anderson, Director of the Sub-Antarctic Research Alliance being created between the University of North Texas and the Universidad de Magallanes, was an invited attendee at the tri-annual All Scientist Meeting of the United States Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network, funded by the National Science Foundation. Anderson’s participation on behalf of UNT and UMAG was also related to his collaboration with the emerging Chilean Long-Term Socio-Ecological Research Program (LTSER), coordinated by the Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity. The meeting’s theme – “The integration of science and society in an ever changing world” – dealt with many themes that are relevant to the OSARA program’s goals of integrating acaemia and society and within academia building a bridge between the humanities and the sciences. Held in Estes Park, Colorado, the event’s 900 participants came together in various workshops included International Science Agenda for LTER, Ecosystem Services Working Group and Humanities and LTER. For more information, visit the meeting website.

ISEE’s South American Chapter Launches a Bilingual Occassional Paper Series

occasional.gifThe International Society for Environmental Ethics (ISEE) offers an ideal forum for investigating the reticulated specificity of the causes of environmental problems, as well as for favoring the expression of diverse forms of ecological knowledge, languages, and practices. Recently, the ISEE Bulletin began to be published “online” and include a special section in Spanish. As representative of the South American Chapter of ISEE, Dr. Ricardo Rozzi and Mark Woods, the editor of the ISEE Bulletin, initiated a series of bilingual essays to provide a vision of South American environmental philosophy written by different authors. The goal here is to promote a multi-vocal expression that overcomes the frequent homogenizing (even oppressing) effect that exert univocal discourses that with their synthesis take over the voice and talk for instead of with those with whom we coinhabit the southern part of the New World. To learn more about this effort, supported by ISEE, the Center for Environmental Philosophy and the Program in Biocultural Research and Conservation (UNT-UMAG-IEB), please click here.

Cape Horn on German Television

ZDF.jpgGerman Public Television ZDF will feature a series of reports on the Cape Horn Archipelago, as part of a program that includes stories from both the Argentine and Chilean sides of Patagonia. The Cape Horn segments will cover life at Horn Island by the Naval family that maintains the light house, the king and queen crab fishery and the effects of invasive beavers. To watch OSARA President Dr. Christopher Anderson guide the segment on beavers, click here.

UNT Ranked Nationally as “Emerging” Research University

Logo_UNT2.jpg DENTON (UNT), Texas – The University of North Texas has been designated as one of the top national universities because of its innovative changes in the 2010 U.S. News & World Report’s rankings of colleges and universities released today (Aug. 20) by the magazine. UNT tied for ninth among public National Universities on U.S. News & World and Report’s “Top Up-and-Coming Schools” list in its America’s Best Colleges, 2010 Edition. UNT was the only Texas public university on the list, which includes such institutions as Arizona State University, Clemson University and Ohio State University-Columbus. Continue reading….

Omora Park Manager, a Transdisciplinary “Sub-Antarctic Inhabitant”

rodrigo_molina.jpgSince September 2008, Rodrigo Molina has worked as the Manager of the Omora Park, financed by the Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity to help implement one of the three Long-Term Socio-Ecological Research Sites in Chile. A veterinarian by training, Rodrigo is currently finishing a Masters in Conservation at the University of Chile, using the Róbalo watershed as a model for the creation of a management plan that harmonizes use and conservation in association with criteria from various governmental agencies such as the General Direction of Water and the Agriculture and Livestock Service. However, Rodrigo is also a sculptor and was recently notified that his project entitled “Sub-Antarctic Inhabitant” was favored for funding by the Regional Art Council. The project will consist of a series of sculptures and engravings that reflect the experience of living in the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve.

Fulbright Creates Regional Award to Benefit Research in Cape Horn

LOGO_FULBRIGHTOficial.jpgRecently, the Chilean Fulbright Commission announced the creation of “regional” awards that will be available to select centers of excellence deemed capable of participating in this prestigious scholarship program. Fortunately, the Masters of Science in Subantarctic Conservation Program, coordinated by the University of Magallanes in assocation with the Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity and the University of North Texas, was one of only 4 centers in Chile which will compete for the 2-3 Science Initiative scholarships to be provided annually. According to Dr. Christopher Anderson, Magallanes Regional Delegate for the Chilean Fulbright Commission, “the inclusion in this group is not only a high recongition of the quality of the work being conducted in the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve by the UMAG’s graduate students, but also offers a new opportunity to strengthen the international interaction of the students and scientists working in the Omora Park.”