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Second cohort of NSF-funded International Research Experience for Students application is now open!

Dr. Jaime Jimenez announces 2nd cohort of the NSF-funded International Research Experience for Students (IRES) is now open for applications.

"It is my pleasure to announce the call for the second cohort of students application of our NSF International Research Experience for Students (IRES) grant, 'IRES: Cross-cutting interdisciplinary research and integration of ecology and biocultural conservation in the world's southernmost forests.'"

Application deadline is August 15. More information here!

Four institutions sign letter of intent to expand ecological research in Chile

The President of the Catholic University of Chile, Ignacio Sánchez welcomed the presidents of the University of North Texas, Dr. Neal Smatresk and the University of Magallanes, Dr. Juan Oyarzo, as well as the director of UNT's Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation Program and the Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity, Dr. Ricardo Rozzi, to the Catholic University in Santiago, Chile, in order to consolidate a partnership strategy for the management of the future Sub-Antarctic Cape Horn Center.

This center for scientific excellence will be built in Puerto Williams, at the southern end of South America in the Cape Horn County and aims to become a national and international model for the long-term study of social sciences and ecology in the context of global climate change.

Within this framework, the participating institutions are committed to supporting the development and implementation of a working plan which will permit the sustainable operation of the Sub-Antarctic Cape Horn Center, to take on the challenges of management and logistics for scientific research and education, and to disseminate the results and recommendations to the region's public services and local community as part of a long-term and sustainable strategy that will serve as a model of innovation where science, conservation, and economic progress are successfully integrated.

Speaking about the consolidation of this working plan by the participating institutions, President Ignacio Sanchez explained that for the Catholic University this project is very valuable. "For the Catholic University this is a great opportunity to learn and also to acknowledge the efforts of scholars and students whose research creates an important body of work for further investigations and for teaching."

President Sánchez also emphasized the value of this project, and how it can foster progress in diverse fields. In addition, he stressed the importance of the relationship between the universities and the region. "It seems to us that this project is an extraordinary opportunity to consolidate research, teaching and training resources, and prospects for tourism, toward regional self-reliance in a remote area that has unique characteristics. For example, its culture, natural resources, and its people."

As well, Dr. Neal Smatresk, president of the University of North Texas, highlighted the value of this opportunity to collaborate with institutions that work to promote similar interests, such as eco-tourism, sustainability, the conservation of nature, and education, among others. "We, as a university, are committed to environmental philosophy and science, sustainable tourism, and the scientific capability to support this effort. Having visited Chile, I see a tremendous opportunity for collaboration. This will be as beneficial for us as educational institutions as it will be for Chile."

The president of the University of Magallanes, Dr. Juan Oyarzo, emphasized the opportunity borne from the willingness of the institutions to create partnerships, which will be crucial for the development of this and future projects. He also underscored the considerable opportunity to generate support for the communities served by the Center. "We must also consider how we serve the community with our research, by creating recreational activities, providing training and the teaching of languages, etc., it will all be hugely significant."

Finally, the President of the Institute for Ecology and Biology, Dr. Ricardo Rozzi thanked all of the participating institutions for their efforts and emphasized that within this framework, the future of this project is significantly promising. "Today we signed a letter of intent in which the three universities along with the Institute, unite to work toward the creation of a long-term and sustainable inter-institutional relationship."

Workshop about the contributions to the sustainable economic and social development of the region

The workshop entitled, "Challenges and opportunities for scientific centers who contribute to the sustainable economic and social development in the region" was held at the headquarters of Chilean Regional Universities in Santiago. It included the participation of the US Ambassador in Chile, along with the presidents of participating universities, government authorities, scholars, and related professionals. A diversity of themes were discussed related to the management and governing of centers of scientific research in Chile and the United States.

During the workshop, US Ambassador Carol Pérez emphasized that for her it was a privilege to be involved in this initiative, which can do so much good for international relations between Chile and the United States.

"The Sub-Antarctic Cape Horn Center offers us many possibilities for a bilateral relationship. For example, how do we promote a scientific relationship in areas which are of interest as much for Chile and for the United States and for the entire world; how do we strengthen the capabilities for the sustainable management of protected marine areas; and how should we work with the private sector to encourage economic development. Also, there is an opportunity to promote education in both English and in Spanish."

The panelists presented topics throughout the workshop, such as, "Science, Conservation and Sustainable Development in Cape Horn," led by Dr. Ricardo Rozzi, who is also the director of the Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation Program; "From astronomy to ecotourism with a hand lens: an international collaboration of scientific centers in Chile," led by Ambassador Carol Pérez; "Natural laboratories in Chile and effects of the interdisciplinary research program at Cape Horn," led by Dr. José Miguel Aguilera, Professor Emeritus in Engineering, Catholic University.

The workshop closed with a panel discussion entitled, "Linking Science, the State, and Sustainable Enterprise," which included members of the private sector, government authorities, and scholars. Participants at this discussion included the governor of the Antarctic Province of Chile, Juan José Arcos, the executive director of the Image of Chile Foundation, Myriam Gómez, the president of the Federation of Southern Fishing Industry, Carlos Vial, and the Manager of CTR Regional Telecommunications Company, Iván Rodriguez.

It is important to note that the University of Magallanes has led the effort to create the Sub-Antarctic Cape Horn Center, a facility that will allow for the development of research in socio-ecology, environmental ethics, and conservation in relation to ecotourism in one of the recognized World Biosphere Reserves and which aspires to become an international center dedicated to the foundation for human endeavor with specializations in ecology and sustainable tourism, to the welcoming of both local and international visitors to the southernmost biosphere reserve, and to encouraging globally renown research on the Sub-Antarctic.

Translated from Spanish. Original written by Maximiliano Monsalves, Director of Communications at Catholic University, Chile.

Diego Ramirez - Drake Passage Marine Park is now a reality.

On January 22, 2018, the government of Chile approved the creation of the Diego Ramirez - Drake Passage Marine Park.

It will encompass an area of ​​140 thousand km2 of land and marine habitats of the Diego Ramirez archipelago, at the southern end of the continental shelf of the American continent, which provides a unique refuge for the protection of threatened and endangered species like the Grey-headed albatross and southern rockhopper penguins. This decree also grants legal protection to the submerged continental escarpment that dramatically drops into the Drake Passage off the southern coast of Chile, as well as the South Pacific Ocean's most important underwater mountain, Sars Seamount.

Dr. Ricardo Rozzi, Director of the Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation Program, who has led the technical-scientific proposal for the creation of the marine park, said that "this event marks a milestone in marine conservation for the country and the planet because it integrates the regional, national, and international scales to harmonize environmental sustainability with economic and social sustainability. Its design does not adversely affect artisanal fishing practices, generates synergy with tourism of special interests, and generates an innovative approach to industrial fishing practices. The establishment of this park represents a milestone since it proposes an innovative model that overcomes dichotomies between conservation and development."

The team of researchers and professionals at the Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation Program (SBCP), led by the University of Magallanes in Chile and the University of North Texas in the United States, took particular care to ensure the marine park integrated the conservation of the area with the existing economic activities. The SBC Program is committed to President Bachelet's vision of conservation and fulfillment of long-term research, monitoring the impact of global warming on sub-Antarctic biodiversity. Additionally, it shares the researchers' findings through educational programs and the transfer of knowledge to the local community and the private sector, in order to promote sustainable practices in the Cape Horn region.

To this end, the SBC Program has actively collaborated with national and regional government agencies and with the Cape Horn municipality to implement the Management Plan for the Marine Park, which is now the largest marine protected area in southern South America, just north of Antarctica. Also involved are an alliance of Chilean academic centers led by the Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity and the P. Catholic University of Chile, as well as international programs led by the University of North Texas. This consortium has established an academic platform, which will be strengthened by the new Sub-Antarctic Cape Horn Center that will be built in Puerto Williams this year. The Center, along with the declaration of protections for the Diego Ramirez - Drake Passage Marine Park, are examples of advances that will work to successfully overcome challenges associated with the aim of achieving long term sustainability for the sub-Antarctic region and the planet.

"This marine park will be implemented in collaboration with the Chilean Navy, the Ministry of National Assets, the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Economy, and the Regional Government, integrating a multiple-dimensional concept of sustainability to confront current, challenging times of socio-environmental change global," concluded Rozzi.

Read more about the Park in this article in La Prensa Austral.

Grey-headed albatross

Southern Rockhopper penguins

Images by Omar Barroso

Clean water research by Dr. James Kennedy and dignitaries meet in Puerto Williams to discuss the Sub-Antarctic Cape Horn Center

Decades of on-site research into clean water at the world's southernmost city Puerto Williams with faculty and students from the University of North Texas and the University of Magallanes, provides strong data about the purity of the water in the Robalo River, which runs through Navarino Island.

The long-term research into water quality and other ecological and environmental questions will continue and get a boost with the construction of the Sub-Antarctic Cape Horn Center. Earlier this month, dignitaries from the University of North Texas, the University of Magallanes, the Catholic University, the American embassy in Chile, and local and regional government, met in Puerto Williams for an international seminar, "Challenges for the Sub-Antarctic Cape Horn Center: Science, Technology, and Education." During this seminar, representatives from all of the universities and government agencies were joined by members of the Chilean Navy to discuss crucial topics about the cultural, social, economic, and ecological effects of the research done by all the partner institutions and the importance of sustainable industry and tourism for the larger Magallanes region. The Sub-Antarctic Cape Horn Center will serve as a world-class platform for education, research, and community engagement with support from all partners and institutions, including the Institute for Ecology and Biodiversity and the Omora Foundation.

Pictured, l to r:

Dr. Jose Maripani, Provost, University of Magallanes; Patricio Fernández, Mayor of the municipality of Cape Horn; Dr. Pedro Bouchon, Vice-President for Research, Catholic University of Chile; Dr. Juan Oyarzo, President, University of Magallanes; Daniela Díaz, Governor of the Chilean Antarctic Province; Dr. Ricardo Rozzi, Director of the Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation Program, UNT/UMAG; Dr. Neal Smatresk, President, University of North Texas; Dr. Igancio Sánchez, President, Catholic University of Chile; Andrew Griffin, First Secretary for Economic Affairs, US Embassy in Chile; Dr. Jennifer Cowley, Provost, University of North Texas.

UNT President Neal Smatresk visits Chile

UNT President Neal Smatresk traveled to Chile earlier this month to meet with program partners, including University of Magallanes President Juan Oyarzo Perez (pictured at left) and Pontifical Catholic University of Chile President Ignacio Sánchez (right). One topic of discussion was the large grant, received by the Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation Program (SBCP) for the construction of the Cape Horn Sub-Antarctic Center in Puerto Williams - the southernmost city in the world. See links to the UNT story and to information about Puerto Williams.

UNT Research and Innovation story

Puerto Williams, Magellan and Chilean Antarctica Region, Chile

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