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President Bachelet announced investments of $29 billion in Puerto Williams for 2015.

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International Association of Bryologists (IAB) Conference 2015 meets in Puerto Williams, Chile

The University of North Texas (UNT) Cape Horn Field Station and Omora Ethnobotanical Park in the UNESCO Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve at the southern tip of South America, one of the 24 pristine regions of the planet, served as the site for the International Association of Bryologists World Conference in January 11-15, 2015.

This international event was hosted by UNT's Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation Program and the Center for Environmental Philosophy, and the University of Connecticut (UConn) from the U.S. and the Chilean host partners were the Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity (IEB), Omora Ethobotanical Park, and the University of Magallanes (UMAG). The conference marked that the research developed during the last 15 years discovered that the Cape Horn Region is a hotspot of bryophyte diversity. Not only bryologists participated in this meeting, also environmental philosophers and ecologists from across the world converged at Omora Ethnobotanical Park on Navarino Island.

The conference was inaugurated by the President of Chile, Ms. Michelle Bachelet together with three Ministries of the State and many other Chilean authorities. The details of the conference was highlighted by different media outlets in Chile and internationally.

All the conference attendees had an opportunity for a great navigational experience with the Chilean Navy from Puerto Williams to Wulaia Bay which is on the west coast of Navarino Island and has an extraordinary historical value considering Darwin's visit and it was the starting point for the development of his human evolution hypothesis. Students from Tracing Darwin's Path study abroad course were trained in Ecotourism with Hand Lens to guide all the conference participants during the trail walk in the Omora Ethnobotanical Park.

The conference was organized with several oral and poster presentations. Following topics were the categories used for the presentations.

  1. Bryophyte flora of (Sub)Antarctic
  2. Bryophyte flora of (Sub)(Ant)Arctic
  3. Bryophyte Conservation
  4. Evolution of Early Land Plants
  5. Bryophytes in the Genomic Age
  6. Bryophyte Ecology
  7. Bryophyte Diversity & Bryology - outreach and education

For 15 years, the UNT SBCP program has been co-directed by philosophy professors Ricardo Rozzi and Eugene Hargrove and biology professors James Kennedy and Jaime Jiménez, who has led work in science, tourism and education in the biosphere reserve, one of the world's last pristine wilderness areas and home to many species of mosses and lichens.

During the International Bryology Conference 2015, leading researchers and students from the U.S. and Chile, Chilean authorities and tourism operators participated in the UNT field course "Tracing Darwin's Path" and the workshop "Ecotourism with a Hand Lens." Dr. Richard Nader, Vice Provost for International Affairs from UNT-International also participated in the IAB inauguration and met all the TDP students in Puerto Williams.

The field course "Tracing Darwin's Path", has been co-taught by UNT and UMAG for the last 9 years. Our students this year represented 6 universities; 3 U.S. universities: UNT, UConn, Buena Vista University, and 3 Chilean universities: UMAG, Universidad de Chile, and Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.

Dr. Ricardo Rozzi, UNT Philosophy Professor and IAB Organizing Committee member welcomes President of Chile, Ms. Michelle Bachelet in the gate of the IAB Conference Hall on January 11, 2015 in Puerto Williams.

Photo Credit: Gonzalo Arriagada

Dr. Ricardo Rozzi, UNT Philosophy Professor and IAB Organizing Committee member with President of Chile, Ms. Michelle Bachelet in the gate of the IAB Conference Hall on January 11, 2015 in Puerto Williams.

Photo Credit: Gonzalo Arriagada

Dr. Ricardo Rozzi, UNT Philosophy Professor and IAB Organizing Committee member gives Welcome Speech during the inauguration of IAB Conference on January 11, 2015 in Puerto Williams.

Photo Credit: Gonzalo Arriagada

President of Chile, Ms. Michelle Bachelet Inauguration Speech during IAB Conference on January 11, 2015 in Puerto Williams.

Photo Credit: Gonzalo Arriagada

Dr. James Kennedy, UNT Biology Professor meets with President of Chile, Ms. Michelle Bachelet during the IAB Conference on January 11, 2015 in Puerto Williams.

Photo Credit: Gonzalo Arriagada

Dr. Francisca Massardo, Universidad de Magallanes - IEB member of IAB Organizing Committee, interacting with IAB participants at the reception dinner in the Chilean Naval Hall at the Puerto Williams Naval Base during the IAB Conference on January 11, 2015 in Puerto Williams.

Photo Credit: Gonzalo Arriagada

Dr. Richard Nader, Vice Provost for International Affairs from UNT-International, Dr. Dietmar Quandt, former IAB President, Dr. Bernard Goffinet, current IAB President , Dr. Mary Kalin-Arroyo, Director - Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity, Dr. Ricardo Rozzi, Professor UNT, Dr. Francisca Massardo Director, University of Magallanes - Puerto Williams, during the IAB Conference on January 11, 2015 in Puerto Williams. Note the latter four are IAB Organizing Committee members.

Photo Credit Gastón Peralta

Dr. James Kennedy, UNT Biology Professor, Dr. Tamara Contador, UMAG stream ecologist, Fernando Saldivia, high-school student winner of the first-prize Science for School of Chile, Chilean President Ms. Michelle Bachelet and Ms. Soledad Mancilla during the IAB Conference on January 11, 2015 in Puerto Williams.

Photo Credit Gastón Peralta

Dr. Richard Nader, Vice Provost for International Affairs from UNT-International and Dr. Francisca Massardo, Dr. Francisca Massardo Director, University of Magallanes - Puerto Williams during the IAB Conference on January 11, 2015 in Puerto Williams.

Photo Credit Gaston Peralta.

Dr. Francisca Massardo, Director, University of Magallanes-Puerto Williams and President Ms. Michelle Bachelet with Senator, Carolina Goic and conference participants during the IAB Conference on January 11, 2015 in Puerto Williams.

Photo Credit Gaston Peralta

Dr. Bernard Goffinet, UConn and IAB Organizing Committee member gives Welcome Speech during the inauguration of IAB Conference on January 11, 2015 in Puerto Williams.

Photo Credit: Gonzalo Arriagada.

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