UNT-Omora Student Wins IEB Scholarship

S4030912.JPGThe Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity (IEB) has provided a doctoral dissertation support award to Tamara Contador, Ph.D. student at the University of North Texas (UNT) who is working with Drs. James Kennedy (UNT), Ricardo Rozzi (UNT-IEB-UMAG) and Christopher Anderson (UNT-IEB-UMAG) on a stream ecology project in the Robalo River watershed. The award (approximately $1,200) will aid in the development of Tamara’s dissertation in the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve and helps to re-enforce the network of institutions, graduate students and projects encompassed by the Chilean Long-Term Socio-Ecological Research Network, coordinated by the IEB, and the Omora Alliance’s Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation Program, coordinated by UNT and UMAG.

Discovering “Hidden” Underwater Life

S4030912.JPGTwo graduate students at the Omora Park have received funding from the Chilean National Environment Commission to support their research on the “hidden” underwater diversity of subantarctic stream and marine ecosystems. However, Jaime Ojeda (M.S. Conservation, University of Magallanes) and Tamara Contador (Ph.D. Biology, University of North Texas) will not only do their research, but also conduct workshops with pre-school and elementary school children, teachers, and tourism operators from Puerto Williams and Punta Arenas. The workshops will aim to not only discover but also value the importance of the hidden biodiversity of freshwater and marine invertebrates that inhabit the aquatic systems of the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve.

UMAG Student Wins National Award for Thesis

Intendenta con musgos y niños.jpgOSARA is proud to report that Yanet Medina, masters of science student at the Omora Park-University of Magallanes, has won second place in the national competition to select the nation’s best theses and dissertations in the area of tourism. The $1,000 award was given to Ms. Medina by the regional secretary of the Chilean Tourism Ministry and recognizes her work in the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve to consolidate “tourism with a hand lens” via her thesis entitled: “Miniature Forest Garden of Cape Horn: Tourism with a Hand Lens as a Tool for Conservation, Education and Scientific Tourism in the Chilean Sub-Antarctic Ecoregion”.

UNT and OSARA Receive National Science Foundation Grant

chile - omora park 240.jpgThe University of North Texas and the Omora Sub-Antarctic Research Alliance have received a $150,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to conduct international research experiences for US students in the Chilean sub-antarctic region. The grant is also supported by the Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity’s Long-Term Socio-Ecological Research Network, which includes sites at the Omora Ethnobotanical Park (Cape Horn), Senda Darwin Biological Station (Chiloé) and Fray Jorge Experimental Site (Coquimbo). The Chilean LTSER Network extends across a latitudinal gradient from the subantarctic archipelago to the temperate rainforests and the arid desert regions of Chile and provides a platform for students to not only visit diverse ecosystems, but also interact with Chilean and Argentine mentors, learn how to combine social and ecological studies to create biocultural conservation and research, and study together with students from Chile and Latin America. For more information, go to the project website.

New Study Explores the Freshwater Fish of Cape Horn

michelle1.jpgMichelle Moorman (OSARA Board of Directors) recently published the results of her pioneering study on Cape Horn’s freshwater fish in the journal Transactions of the American Fisheries Society. The work, based on her master’s thesis research conducted in 2006, surveyed the native freshwater fish species in the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve and determined the effect of multiple invasive species on this relatively unknown biodiversity. These surveys discovered two rare and threatened fish speices that were previously unknown south of the Beagle Channel (Aplochiton zebra and A. taenitus). In addition, it was not possible to confirm the previously reported presence of invasive brown trout in the CHBR, but introduced brook and rainbow trout were common in many catchments. The overall effect of invasive beavers on puye, the only common native fish species, was to actually increase abundance of this species, while predatory trout reduced these numbers. For more information visit the journal’s website.

New Fulbrighter for Cape Horn

jhkennedy pine creek pa.JPGDr. Jim Kennedy, OSARA Advisor and Member of the Governing Board of the UNT-UMAG Sub-Antarctic Conservation Program, recently received a Fulbright Senior Specialist Award to work at the Unversidad de Magallanes this fall semester. During his stay Dr. Kennedy will help teach the Sub-Antarctic Ecology Course in the UMAG’s Masters of Science Program and also help prepare the dual masters degree that will be offered by the University of North Texas and the University of Magallanes. With this honor, the researchers associated with the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve have now received a total of four Fulbright awards.

UMAG-Omora Student Wins Rufford Grant

DSC01594-1.JPGCristóbal Pizarro, a master’s of conservation student at the Omora Park-University of Magallanes, has been chosen to receive a Rufford Grant For Nature Conservation from the Rufford Maurice Laing Foundation (United Kingdom). Pizarro’s project is based around the consolidation of the Omora Park’s bird observatory to include marine species as part of long-term global change monitoring. The award of £5,700 is part of the foundation’s efforts to support small conservation programs and pilot projects around the world. This latest award in recognition of Mr. Pizarro’s efforts is in addition to receiving the prize for the best poster at the Chilean Ornithology Congress in August and being the recipient of a scholarship from the Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity.

Program on Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation Launches Special Edition of the Journal “Environmental Ethics”

Logoomoraantarica-bajatrans.jpgTogether with the Center for Environmental Philosophy, the UNT Program on Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation launched a special fall edition of Environmental Ethics, the oldest and most respected journal in this field. This special edition is dedicated to the preceedings of the international workshop entitled “Integrating ecological sciences and environmental ethics in the southwestern archipelago wilderness area of southern South America.” The event, held in March 2007, was funded by the National Science Foundation and the Chilean Ministry of Planning and held in Santiago, Chiloé and Punta Arenas, Chile. This workshop and the resulting journal are unique in bringing together ecologists, philosopher and policy analysts to explore the implications and methods of bridging sciences and the humanities to achieve the creation of a transdiscipline of biocultural conservation. Now, this special edition is being published simultaneously in Spanish with the University of Magallanes, as part of UNT and UMAG’s efforts to create a binational program and dual master’s degree.

Bi-National Bird Banding Workshop

image2-php.jpgAs announced previously, the Chilean Network of Long-Term Socio-Ecological Research Sites hosted a two day workshop in Ushuaia, Argentina on bird banding and monitoring to expand the Omora Park’s 8 year program to both sides of the Beagle Channel. More than 35 individuals from divers backgrounds, including the Austral Center for Research (CADIC), the provincial government for natural resources, administrators of the national parks systems and local tourism operators. This activity is one in a set of activities that began in 2003 with the goal of linking researchers from the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve with adjacent Argentine colleagues.

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Minister of National Lands Visits Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve

image-php.jpgThe Minister of National Lands Romy Schmidt recently visited the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve as part of an initiative to return ancestral property to the Yahgan Community in the area of Wulaia Bay on Navarino Island. During her visit from from 20-21 October, Minister Schmidt also visited the Omora Park, where she re-confirmed her committment to the University of Magallanes and the Omora Foundation’s efforts to use this site as a natural laboratory and “outdoor classroom” that also is a priority conservation site identified by the Chilean National Environment Commission. The minister’s activities were guided in the field by Dr. Andrés Mansilla (director of research and postgraduate programs at the UMAG), Rodrigo Medina (station manager of the Omora Park), and Ximena Arango (local education coordinator of the Omora Park).

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Bi-National Bird Banding Workshop Planned

From 16-17 October, researchers from the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve will conduct a bird-banding workshop in Ushuaia, Argentina, to expand the Omora Park’s 8 year program to a new site across the Beagle Channel. After the June 2008 workshop on long-term socio-ecological research, held in Punta Arenas and Puerto Williams, researchers at the Centro Austral de Investigaciones Cientifícas, in Ushuaia requested training to implement a complementary and coordinated study in their own area. This effort is being supported, as well, by the visit and participation of Dr. Chris Elphick (U. of Connecticut), who has advised the Cape Horn bird banding program since 2001.

Linking Chilean Research with the ILTER

stara lesna.jpgFrom 18-23 August in the Slovakian village of Stara Lesna in the High Tatras Biosphere Reserve, representatives from more than 30 countries will convene for the annual International Long-Term Ecological Research (ILTER) Network meeting. In representation of the Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity’s recently inaugurated “Chilean temperate and subantarctic forest long-term socio-ecological research (LTSER) network,” Dr. Christopher Anderson will attend the meetings to present the new Chilean initiative and begin the process of application for membership in the ILTER. The global network will provide important links for the efforts in the austral part of South America to articulate itself with this global program to enhance and consolidate the national program that the IEB is pioneering.

Beaver Control Program Highlighted in Nature

beaver dam CB Anderson.jpgThe journal Nature, the world’s leading scientific periodical, recently published a piece on the proposed control/eradication program for beavers in the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve. The article now has sparked broader interest, and currently the German magazine Der Spiegel is preparing an article. The articles cite OSARA President Christopher Anderson, who has advised and reviewed the projects and proposals. While acknowledging the challenges and difficulties of such an initiative, Dr. Anderson is quoted as saying “invasive species are an extremely important subject in Cape Horn, which is one of the world’s last wilderness areas. While it may not be feasible to eradicate beavers, it is certainly technically possible, as they were nearly exterminated in North American in the 1800s.” Anderson goes on to point out that “even if it is not possible to completely eliminate problem species in the archipelago, we will learn a great deal our our natural resources by working on binational (Chile and Argentina) conservation programs.” Click here to read the article in Nature.

Innovating from the “South” – The Integration of Environmental Ethics and Ecological Science

TAPA RAD 23-1.JPGThe scientists and philosophers involved in the creation and implementation of the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve are firmly committed to putting their research into practice. Part of this work involves the definition of the new trans-discipline of “biocultural conservation,” which requires overcoming significant challenges such as “translating” between academic disciplines, languages, cultures and ways of perceiving the world.

In this effort, Drs. Ricardo Rozzi and Francisca Massardo, as well as others from the CHBR, have been working for the past few years to create a seminal body of work that will serve as a foundation for environmental philosophy in Latin America and for biocultural conservation in general. Now a special edition of the journal Revista Ambiente y Desarrollo has publish these texts in Spanish and included commentaries from well-known thinkers from the realms of policy, ecology and philosophy from throughout the Americas and Europe. To learn more visit the CIPMA website, download the pdfs from the journal directly with the link above, or read the Introduction (in Spanish).