Cape Horn Research Highlighted in ESA Journal Cover Story and Podcast

coverApril2008.jpgDr. Ricardo Rozzi and colleagues’ article in the April edition of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment has already received attention in various news outlets.

Now, in addition to achieving the cover of this highly prestigious and widely distributed journal, Dr. Rozzi has been interviewed for an ESA podcast that highlights the journal’s most important publications.

The attention Rozzi and his colleagues bring to bear on the previously unrecognized biodiversity found in non-vascular flora in the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve is used as an illustrative example of how cultural viewpoints (“lenses”) influence not only what we study and value, but what we chose to prioritize and conserve.

To learn more, visit ESA, read the article or listen to the podcast.

See local press in Radio Polar.

Collaborative Research in the CHBR

leah.jpgSince 2007, Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity Postdoctoral Fellow Dr. Leah Dudley has been collaborating in the thesis of University of Magallanes student Ana María Caicheo, under the direction of Drs. Ricardo Rozzi and Francisca Massardo. In March, Ana María and Leah finished one of their final field expeditions as part of this innovative thesis that seeks to determine the role of insects in dispersing the spores of Tayloria mirabilis. The relationship of insects and non-vascular plants is a completely undeveloped field of inquiry in the Southern Hemisphere. This project is a collaborative effort between the IEB, UMAG and Omora with international associates from the University of Labrador, University of Connecticut and Cornell University and is a pioneering activity in the CHBR to determine the ecological role of the “miniature forests” of Cape Horn, which not only are some of the most diverse organisisms in the subantarctic biome, but could potentially also fulfill key ecological functions.

OSARA Intern Publishes Seminal Work on the Fío-Fío

PB160205.JPGDuring her OSARA internship in the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve in 2007, Clare Brown worked long and hard to check and fix the Omora Park’s 8 year database of bird banding information, accumulated since 2000 by numerous field technicians and volunteers. She then helped put those data into a manuscript on the autecology and natural history of one of the subantarctic forest’s few long-distance migratory bird species: the fío-fío (Elaenia albiceps). Clare will now use the experience gained with OSARA to conduct a masters in environmental science at Evergreen State Univeristy.

To view the resulting paper, please visit the website of the Anales del Instituto de la Patagonia.

Research, Conservation Intersect at the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve

From UNT Research News Highlights >>>

Cape Horn.JPGUNT and the Chilean Institute for Ecology and Biodiversity (IEB) are using a 10-year, $15 million grant to build a high-tech field station in Chile’s Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve that will support researchers and students working to protect, preserve and sustain one of the last true wilderness areas in the world. <continue reading>

IEB Receives Prestigious Award in Ceremony with President Bachelet

bachelet fondos basales.jpgIn a public ceremony presided over by President Michelle Bachelet and Minister of Education Yansa Provoste, the Chilean Science Commission awarded the prestigious “Basal Financing” awards to the 8 institutions chosen as Centers of Scientific and Technical Excellence. The funding will provide 10 years of support and is part of Chile’s Innovation Program meant to promote development in key areas that will affect the nation’s future stability and wellbeing.

Dr. Mary Kalin received the award on behalf of the Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity, which was also represented by researchers Drs. Juan Armesto, Ricardo Rozzi, Pablo Marquet, Julio Gutiérrez and Andrés Mansilla who represent the IEB’s network of universities, including the Catholic University, the University of Chile, the University of Magallanes, the University of La Serena and the University of Concepción. Part of the new funds will also be used to implement a national network of socio-ecological research sites, taking advantage of the IEB’s 3 existing study sites in the Omora Park-Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve, Senda Darwin Biological Station and Fray Jorge National Park.

To see an article in Spanish, visit the CONICYT site.

Omora Student Implements Flagship Species for Cape Horn

woodpecker.jpgSince 2004, UMAG masters student Ximena Arango has worked in Puerto Williams to define and implement a “charismatic flagship” species that would promote conservation of old-growth forests in the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve. Arango, a native of Columbia, early on identified the Magellanic woodpecker (Campephilus magellanicus) as a keystone species that was also very beloved and recognized by diverse social sectors of the local community.

Arango used her scholarship from the Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity (2004-2007) to position this species as a symbol that motivates the local community to participate in conservation in the subantarctic archipelago. To date, her work has inspired a host of woodpecker-oriented activities, including: a municipal-sponsored drawing contest for school children, various art expositions, postcards, calendars, cloth bags, and presentations, among others. To consolidate this initiative and project it “from the South”, in June 2008 the Omora Park will offer a training course, led by Ximena, to teach this methodology to other conservation initiatives in the region and throughout Chile.

To learn more about how the Omora Park is working to implement charismatic flagship species for conservation see the recently published article in Magallania entitled: “Discovery and implementation of the Magellanic woodpecker (Campephilus magellanicus) as a charismatic flagship species for the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve.” Download the pdf by clicking here (in Spanish with English abstract).

Bellunesi National Park (Italy) Donates to Omora’s “Miniature Forest Garden”

logo bellunesi.gifIn 2006, the Omora Ethnobotanical Park and Bellunesi National Park (Italy) became “sister” parks. The collaboration initially included receiving a group of 15 students and authorities from Italy, including the director and president of Bellunesi N.P. Now, our Italian partners have made a donation of 3,000 Euros to the Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity to support the implementation of the Miniature Forests of Cape Horn Garden, a new trail being implemented in the Omora Park to demonstrate to visitors the diversity, beauty and importance of these tiny plants. In June, the Omora Park will present this initiative in Italy as well in the context of the anniversary of Bellunesi National Park.

OSARA Obtains Donation from BeX

photo birders.jpgThe American Birding Association program Birder’s Exchange (BeX) approved an application submitted by OSARA for UMAG master’s student Cristóbal Pizarro to obtain birding equipment to conduct his thesis on the sea birds of the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve and their possible role as vectors that link marine and terrestrial ecosystems. The donation also proved useful in January as part of this year’s Tracing Darwin’s Path course for students involved in the elaboration of a new ethno-ecology book for which they had to obtain new photos and sound recordings of island birds.

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.

OSARA President to Give Keynote Address at UNT

Anderson NYYC.jpgOSARA President Dr. Christopher Anderson will give the keynote address at the University of North Texas Biology Graduate Student Association’s Annual Symposium. The invitation to participate in the “Annual Research Day in Life Sciences” continues the existing work between OSARA and UNT and offers a new possibility to strengthen collaborations with science graduate students.

Anderson’s talk, entitled “Biocultural Conservation: A ‘Southern’s’ Perspective from the South” will focus on the history and existing programs in the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve. Dr. Anderson will also use this case study and his personal experience to show how students interested in science and conservation can create and implement meaningful programs and initiatives, not just at the ends of the earth, but anywhere they find themselves.

President Michelle Bachelet visits Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve

Presidenta-Anderson-Rozzi low res.jpgDuring her first visit to Puerto Williams this week, President Michelle Bachelet spent the day reviewing public work projects in the town before embarking with the navy to visit Cape Horn.

After inaugurating the new public nursery school, masters students from the University of Magallanes presented the Minister of Education Yasna Provoste and the National Director of the JUNJI (the state-supported nursery school system) Estela Ortíz with gifts that included the books and educational materials that researchers of the Omora Park (Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity and University of Magallanes) have prepared in conjunction with the local teachers for pre-school children.

In the afternoon, before embarking for Cape Horn, Drs. Ricardo Rozzi, Francisca Massardo and Christopher Anderson were asked by Congresswoman Carolina Goic to present the President, the head of the Chilean Navy Admiral Rodolfo Codina, and Rear Admiral Felipe Ojeda with these educational materials, plus ecotourism guide books and other publications produced by the scientists of the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve.

At the meeting with the president, the researchers explained the importance of the Omora Park as a long-term ecological study site, as well as the urgent need to continue implementing the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve as a model of sustainable development being created “from the South”.

President Bachelet received the ad hoc class with enthusiasm, showing her own knowledge of important issues in the archipelago, such as invasive species, and was very pleased to find out that this was one of the research groups to recently receive the “Fondos Basales” award through the Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity, which will help consolidate the infrastructure, investigation and outreach activities that are being conducted in the region, thus reenforcing this long-term, world class initiative.

As Dr. Rozzi explained to President Bachelet, “We are working so that the Omora Park will be to the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve what the Darwin Station has been to the Galapagos Islands Biosphere Reserve, providing a critical link between science and sustainable development to improve social well being and biocultural conservation.”

Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve to receive two new scientists

The University of Magallanes recently received the good news that the Chilean national science commission (CONICYT) will fund its proposal to integrate two new faculty members whose functions will be to study invasive exotic species and fisheries management in the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve (CHBR).

The grant, written by Dr. Andrés Mansilla (OSARA Advisor) and Dr. Christopher Anderson (OSARA President), will significantly strengthen the team of investigators in the CHBR and also re-enforce the new priority of marine-terrestrial studies.

100_0103.jpgThe project is a first for the UMAG, which as a regional university is often at a disadvantage to receive important national funding. The current program will be funded by the prestigious Bicentenniel Initiative of the Chilean government and is meant to strengthen research teams by providing three years of funding for Ph.D. scientists that are subsequently incorporated into the full-time staff of the sponsor institution.

“Miniature Forests” in prestigous journal

The work conducted by scientists in the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve is getting broader attention than ever these days in the major scientific journals of ecology and conservation. In the upcoming issue of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, you will be able to check out a new article written by Dr. Ricardo Rozzi and others that challenges the scientific community to “change the lenses” through which biodiversity is viewed.

Co-author, Dr. Christopher Anderson (OSARA president) points out that “in this article we use the case of the surprising diveristy of mosses, lichens and liverworts (bryophytes) in Cape Horn to show how we can be blind (or not have the right lenses) to even perceive the most diverse organisms around us. While Cape Horn lacks great diversity in mammals and trees, it is truly another ‘Amazon’ when it comes to the ‘miniature forests’.

However, the invitation these scientists make is to explore and discover unseen aspects of our natural world, in order to value, conserve and use them. This is the work that the scientists of the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve are committed to and for which OSARA has the stated mission to support.

For a reprint of the article, please contact us!

Cape Horn Field Station – closer to a reality

Since 2004, OSARA together with the University of North Texas and the Omora Park have been searching for the appropriate way to achieve the construction of a field station in Cape Horn. Various people have been involved in this effort, whose complexity has required a slow, but steady march to arrive our goal.

We are, therefore, pleased to announce that in October, OSARA joined a coalition of organizations to create the Cape Horn Field Station. The new cosortium is lead in Chile by the Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity together with the University of Magallanes and the Omora Park and coordinated in the United States by the Univeristy of North Texas with the participation of various other universities and the Center for Environmental Philosophy.

This new team is now applying for funds from the Chilean government that will supplment the IEB’s current budget by $1 million dollars US per year for 10 years. The IEB has in the past two years taken a leadership role in managing the Omora Park as a long-term ecological research site, and these new new funds specifically will be used for infrastructure in the IEB’s three LTER sites, which also include Fray Jorge National Park (semi-arid ecoregion) and Senda Darwin Biological Station (Valdivian rainforest ecoregion).

OSARA is priviledged to be invited to participate in this initiative. In this way, our small effort is being re-enforced by a strong collaboration with organizations that provide at the same time a foundation, and also a projection for our joint projects.

Thanks to those who have helped with their donation of time, effort and money to help coalese this consotrium. We will be reporting on the progress of this initiative as time goes on.