THE SUB‐ANTARCTIC BIOCULTURAL CONSERVATION PROGRAM IS PLEASED TO ANNOUNCE THE FOLLOWING OPPORTUNITIES TO PARTICIPATE IN ITS BIOCULTURAL RESEARCH, EDUCATION AND CONSERVATION ACTIVITIES FOR 2011 AND 2012
FIELD PROGRAM OPPORTUNITIES 2011‐2012:
Tracing Darwin’s Path. TDP is a two and a half week field course, run annually since 2006, which offers a hand’s on interdisciplinary and international experience in biocultural conservation in one of the world’s last remote and pristine wilderness areas. This course runs annually from approximately 27 December to 15 January (exact dates to be confirmed). For more information, visit: www.chile.unt.edu/projects/tdp/tdp‐index.html. In 2011‐2012, the course will have an emphasis on long‐term ecological research, particular avian research and monitoring and the link between research and society with a focus on bryophytes including inventories, ecology, collections (herbaria) and conservation of this under‐perceived biodiversity through “ecotourism with a hand lens”.
International Research Experiences for Students “Integrating ecological sciences and environmental philosophy for biocultural conservation in the temperate and subantarctic ecoregions of southern South America”. With the funding of a U.S. National Science Foundation IRES Grant (OISE 0854350), this program allows approximately 8 graduate and undergraduate students per year from the University of North Texas and an alliance of selected partner institutions to conduct research guided by a local mentor at the Omora Ethnobotanical Park, Puerto Williams, Chile (www.omora.org) or one of the other two long‐term socio‐ecological research sites in Chile coordinated by the Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity (www.ieb‐chile.cl/ltser). Dates for the field experiences are flexible with a minimum stay of 5 weeks and a preference for availability including mid‐December until late‐January (the austral summer). Possibilities to extend the stay for an entire spring semester are also considered favorably. This program is conducted by UNT in association with UMAG, IEB, the Ecological Society of America’s SEEDS program and other associated U.S. universities. For more information, visit: www.chile.unt.edu/projects/ires/ires‐index.html
Recruitment and selection. Students interested in being considered for the TDP and IRES programs should complete the attached application and send it to email@example.com by March 14, 2011. SEEDS applicants should visit: www.esa.org/seeds or contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Criteria for acceptance take into account academic promise and an interest in exploring a career that considers socio‐ecological implications of environmental research and problem solving. In addition, students interested in taking TDP should also enroll in the course Introduction to Sub‐Antarctic Biocultural Conservation, offered during the fall semester as a weekly seminar course at the University of North Texas. This fall semester UNT course can be taken remotely via videoconference.
Credit and support. Students will receive credit for participation either through UNT or their home institution on a case‐by‐case basis. The maximum amount of awards will not exceed $4,500 per participant.
Chilean participation. Chilean students from partner organizations participate in these course and field experiences to enable a true international exchange of ideas. As such, both TDP and IRES programs are conducted in partnership with the Masters of Science in Subantarctic Conservation at the University of Magallanes and are bilingual (English and Spanish), but fluency is not a requirement.
SPECIFIC INFORMATION FOR IRES APPLICANTS:
IRES students will have the opportunity to define research activities in association with U.S., Argentine and Chilean mentors in the following areas:
1) Discovering the hidden biodiversity of subantarctic watersheds. Comparatively, high latitude ecosystems have received less attention and study than their tropical counterparts in the Americas. Yet, long‐term research carried out in the sub‐Antarctic ecosystems of southern South America since 2000 has already led to unexpected “discoveries”, such as a world biodiversity hotspot for non‐vascular flora in the Cape Horn Archipelago (Rozzi et al. 2008) and a surprisingly high number of introduced species (Anderson et al. 2006). These results, in turn, have led to calls for region‐specific biodiversity indicators for conservation planning (Rozzi et al. 2008). By changing research “lenses,” we now seek to promote further investigation into understudied components of native high latitude biodiversity. Emphasis will be given to freshwater and marine invertebrate fauna, algae and non‐vascular flora.
Sample projects: These projects will take place along the altitudinal gradient of the watershed of the Róbalo River, which provides drinking water to the city of Puerto Williams, the world’s southernmost town. This watershed is protected by the Omora Ethnobotanical Park, one of the sites of the nascent Chilean LTSER network. IRES students will:
- Conduct biodiversity assessments of little known taxa, including terrestrial, freshwater and marine invertebrates in the austral archipelago.
- Evaluate patterns of native diversity that go unnoticed.
- Initiate autecological and life history studies of particular taxa that hold special interest due to their ecological role or for evolutionary or biogeographical comparative purposes with either other sites in Chile or North America.
2) Native and exotic species in temperate, subantarctic ecosystems. The CHBR watersheds, in spite of their remote condition, are currently being impacted by invasive exotic species, most importantly by the North American beaver (Castor canadensis). Invasion of introduced species, such as the North American beaver, represent one of the main causes for habitat transformation and have consequences on ecosystem and landscape‐level processes in the austral archipelago.
Sample projects: IRES students will contrast biodiversity patterns with introduced and invasive species. They will conduct censuses of beaver populations, and compare functional groups of freshwater invertebrates in disturbed and on‐disturbed sites. IRES students will participate in:
- The creation of biodiversity databases (using websites and information technology) that describe the distribution and species assemblage maps for native and exotic species (using GIS) and use the preceding activities to assess the overall drivers, mechanism and impacts of invasive species in the austral archipelago (using niche modeling and GIS).
- Studies of beaver disturbed and non‐disturbed sites, e.g., conducting decomposition experiments, nutrient cycling studies and evaluations of the role of biodiversity on ecosystem function.
3) Perspectives on biodiversity, decision‐making and biocultural education. Until recently, the southern tip of the Americas has been isolated from development, leading Conservation International to classify it as one of the world’s last remaining wilderness areas (Mittermeier et al. 2003), based on native vegetation cover and low human population density. As a result, this region has been a reservoir of biological and cultural diversity, hosting the world’s southernmost extant ethnic groups‐languages (the Yahgan and Kaweskar). The biocultural approach of integrating biological and cultural diversity has provided both conceptual and practical models for creating and implementing the CHBR, and conducting long‐term research, education and conservation pioneered by the Omora Ethnobotanical Park and the PIs of this proposal (Rozzi et al. 2005, Rozzi et al. 2006).
Sample projects: IRES students will work in composition of metaphors and activities which help synthesize scientific knowledge into simple, integral and appealing terms that help with the appreciating of biodiversity. Students will also work on a multicultural approach, which researches the mindsets, ecological knowledge, and language used by different members of the social community in Cape Horn, including the indigenous Yahgan people, old residents, government authorities, teachers, school children, and tourists. IRES students will:
- Ecological metaphors. Begin by researching and organizing the results of the biodiversity inventories and elaborate metaphors, such as “Miniature Forests of Cape Horn” or “Tourism with a Hand‐Lens,” that synthesize ecological discoveries and appeal to children, tourists, and the general public group. They will use the results obtained by the freshwater inventories and synthesize concepts related to life histories, habitat use and ecological relevance of freshwater invertebrates, such as caddisflies.
- Multicultural ethnoecology. Students will organize names in English, Spanish, and Yahgan, as well as scientific names of representative taxa and habitat types at the Róbalo watershed. For this purpose, they will work with the digital databases and recordings of Yahgan language and ecological knowledge produced by Omora researchers during the last 10 years. They will also conduct some structured, semi‐structured interviews with members of each of the sociocultural groups, recording in field notebooks as well visual and sound media, the names, ecological knowledge, practices, attitudes and values toward watershed biodiversity. Some students might participate in the composition of multi‐cultural guides on watershed biodiversity, containing illustrations, and common and scientific names of the representative taxa and habitats. IRES students will analyze the names and associated ecological knowledge, comparing indigenous and other forms of folk ecological knowledge with scientific knowledge and will focus on the identification of similarities and differences among these diverse forms of knowledge.
4) Integration of research, educational and ecotourism activities. Evaluation of the four step cycle methodology, which integrates (1) research, (2) metaphors, (3) field activities with an ecological and ethical orientation, and (4) implementation of in situ conservation areas toward the end of the research experience, IRES students will participate with their Chilean mentors in workshops offered to pre‐school, middle school, high school teachers, and local tourist guides. These workshops will be conducted at the Omora Ethnobotanical Park and will focus on the identification of representative taxa, and understanding the ecosystem services they provide along with the beauty of these taxa and their biotic communities. In addition, IRES students and their Chilean mentors will prepare scripts for guided visits to Omora Ethnobotanical Park and the CHBR. The design of guided tours will include simple language, common names in English, Spanish, and Yahgan, and define observatory stations of representative habitats, sites with unique subantarctic fauna and/or flora, as well as disturbed areas by beavers, and sites that permit the appreciation of Yahgan ecological practices. The goal of these scripted tours will be to provide visitors to the CHBR with hands on scientifically informative experience. Through collaboration with Chilean teachers, tourist guides, artists and philosophers, these guided tours aim to also provide an aesthetical and ethical experience. A key aspect will be the evaluation of the effectiveness in terms of communication, reception by the public, degree of learning by different participants (for example, children, tourists), and general impact of the transfer of scientific results into recreational activities, and ecological understanding by the broader community.
Both TDP and IRES experiences will be administered by the Omora Sub‐Antarctic Research Alliance (OSARA: www.osara.org). In addition, international travel insurance is mandatory for all participants and provided through the UNT Global Learning Center.