Latest News | Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation Program

Latest News

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

Dr. Ricardo Rozzi is awarded the 2017 Enrique Beltran Prize for the Conservation of Natural Resources

Click to see a video about the award and Dr. Rozzi's contributions to the field. COIRENAT YOUTUBE

Video courtesy of 3hd Studio and

The prize is awarded by The Wildlife Society of Mexico, in conjunction with the International Council on Natural Resources and Wildlife. This prize is named after Enrique Beltran who is recognized as the first biologist in Mexico and, among other accomplishments, founded the Mexican Institute for Sustainable Natural Resources in 1952 and is known as one of the first conservationists working in Mexico.

This year was the first year that the committee of judges for the prize decided to open the nominations to include researchers and scholars from outside of Mexico. Therefore, Dr. Mary Kalin Arroyo, professor of biology at the University of Chile and the 2010 recipient of the Chilean National Prize of Sciences, nominated Dr. Ricardo Rozzi. Both Dr. Arroyo and Dr. Rozzi work with the Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity in Santiago, Chile.

The awarding of this prize coincides with the announcement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Chile of the creation of the Cape Horn Marine Park near the southernmost point of Chile. The park measures 140,000 square kilometers or just under 87,000 square miles and includes the Diego Ramirez Archipelago.

The creation of the park is a result of research which Dr. Rozzi has been leading since 2000 in and around Cape Horn. The work started with the discovery of a "hotspot" of diverse vegetation in a region that has been known for its difficult navigation, through the documentation of journeys made by Charles Darwin, and also as the birthplace of the Yaghan people.

The creation of the park delineates a large aquatic area in which Dr. Rozzi and his colleagues can continue to research and promote the region. To that end, Dr. Rozzi has been working on the design and construction of the Sub-Antarctic Center in Puerto Williams, on the northern end of Cape Horn, since 2010.

With the addition of this protected area and the continued work on the Sub-Antarctic Center, Dr. Rozzi proposes to continue his conservation work in the Cape Horn region, what he refers to as the "jewel of our planet." It is for this purpose that Dr. Rozzi created and heads the Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation Program. This program is a multidisciplinary effort including coordination from, the University of North Texas, the University of Magallanes, the Institute for Ecology and Biodiversity, and the Omora Foundation. The aim of the Program is to help educate and assist local constituents to maintain the territory in a sustainable way with the aim to help preserve the broader environment and the native flora, fauna, and wildlife.

Progress toward the construction of the Sub-Antarctic Cape Horn Center in Puerto Williams, Chile

Article from the newspaper, La Prensa Austral out of Punta Arenas, Chile from Friday, September 15, 2017 (in Spanish)

Image courtesy of Ennead Architects

Read more about the architects and design here: (in English)

Parque Omora: Una Nueva forma de ver Aves

Read the article from El Mercurio, written by Montserrat Sanchez (in Spanish) here, for more information.