Program Overview | Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation Program

Program Overview

The Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation Program provides students with an opportunity to participate in applied research integrating ecological and ethical dimensions for biocultural conservation. This International Research Experience for Student (IRES) project is generously supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF). This IRES will uniquely engage U.S. students in research, education, and conservation projects, preparing them to address complex environmental problems. Students will be encouraged to integrate theory and practice through applied research in the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve with a focus on the Robalo River watershed at Omora Ethnobotanical Park, which provides water for the world's southernmost town, Puerto Williams.

This project is designed for undergraduate students or graduate students with a sincere interest in an addressing complex environmental issues through an interdisplinary approached. Depending on students defined research projects, students will be based in Chile in Punta Arenas, the capital of the Region of Magallanes and Chilean Antarctica, and/or Puerto Williams, the provincial capital of Chilean Antarctica and the southernmost town in the world. Students will work with a Chilean mentor and U.S. advisor for a 6-week period during the UNT wintermester (mid-December to late January), which corresponds to the austral summer. Students are encouraged to enroll in two suggested companion courses offered at UNT to complement their International Research Experience: 1) Introduction to Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation (UNT Fall semester, available via video conference), and 2) Tracing Darwin's Path (UNT Wintermester; available via as a UNT Faculty-Led Study Abroad course).

Students will conduct their research within four project themes, based on critical environmental issues for the sub-Antarctic region:

  1. Discovering the Hidden Biodiversity of Sub-Antarctic Watersheds
  2. Ecology of Exotic Mammals and Their Impacts on Native Birds in Temperate, Sub-Antarctic Watershed Ecosystems
  3. Testing the Cleanest Freshwaters and Air in the Planet
  4. Perspectives on Biodiversity, Decision-Making, and Biocultural Education in a Homogenized World.

Some highly motivated students may elect to have an extended research experience at their own expense, by either departing during the Fall semester or returning during the Spring semester, or to pursue thesis or dissertation research. Students interested in these options must be counseled about academic, logistics, and budgetary issues prior to approval.

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