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 graduate students with a sincere interest in and addressing complex environmental issues through an interdisplinary approached. Depending on students' roles in the research project, 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 21-day period during the UNT wintermester (Winter: mid-December to late January; Summer: mid-May to mid-late June), which corresponds to the austral summer/winter. 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 assist in research in one or more of the following areas:

1. Bird hosts: Study of the prevalence of Haemosporidian parasites in bird species affected Avian Malaria during the reproductive/non-reproductive seasons in the Cape Horn Biosphere Region.

2. Mosquito vectors: Study of the prevalence of Haemosporidian parasites in mosquito species that might transmit the Avian Malaria during the reproductive/non-reproductive seasons in the CHBR.

3. Habitat: Study of the influence of forest structure on the prevalence of Avian Malaria Haemosporidian parasites in birds and mosquitoes during the reproductive/non-reproductive seasons in the CHBR.

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.


Components and Eligibility