University of Connecticut University of UC Title Fallback Connecticut

Course syllabus 2014-2015

Tracing Darwin’s Path-UNT course & Field Biocultural Conservation (FBC) UMAG-IEB course 

2014-2015 Schedule of Activities, Program & Syllabus 

Core Professors (i.e., professors from UNT and UMAG [Uni. of Magallanes in Punta Arenas])

Dr. Jaime E. Jiménez, wildlife ecologist, UNT-UMAG-IEB

Dr. James Kennedy, stream ecologist, UNT-UMAG

Dr. Ricardo Rozzi, conservation biologist & environmental philosopher, UNT-UMAG-IEB

Dr. Tamara Contador, stream ecologist, UMAG course coordinator

Assistant Professor 

Dr. Rajan Rijal, environmental scientist, UNT

Invited Professors 

Dr. Robert Capers, plant ecologist, University of Connecticut, (UConn), USA

Dr. Melinda Coogan, stream ecologist, Buena Vista University, Iowa, USA

M.Sc. Guido Coppari, environmental history, Universidad Andrés Bello, Santiago, Chile

Dra. Alicia Bugallo, philosopher, Universidad de Ciencias Empresariales y Sociales, Bs.As.

Dr. Bernard Goffinet, bryologist, University of Connecticut, Connecticut, USA

Dr. Jeremy Horpedahl, economist, Buena Vista University, Iowa, USA

Dr. Tetsuya Kono, philosopher, Rikkyo University, Tokyo, Japan

Dr. JoAnn Nunnelly, Director Disability Support Services, Texas Woman’s University, TX, USA

M.A. Paola Vezzani, visual artist, UMAG & Omora Park, Chile

Teaching Assistant 

Ramiro Crego, doctoral student in Biological Sciences, UNT

Lily Lewis, doctoral student in ecology and evolutionary biology, UConn

Omora Staff 

Omar Barroso, Ornithology research assistant, IEB-Omora Park

Paula Caballero, extension specialist, IEB, Punta Arenas

Simón Castillo, wildlife & scientific tourism, Omora Park, accepted MS student, UNT

Patricia Duarte, secretary, UMAG – Puerto Williams

Kelli Moses, biologist, international courses coordinator, IEB-Omora Park

Javier Rendoll, field course support, Master student at UMAG, IEB-Omora Park

Jennifer Torres, accountant, IEB-Omora Park

Miguel Troncoso, field course support, IEB-Omora Park

Camila Saldías, Omora Park education coordinator, UMAG–Puerto Williams


The concept and objectives of the course (UNT’s perspective)

The Field Biocultural Conservation (FBC), and TDP courses will be held between 29 December 2014 and 16 January 2015. Students participating in both courses will be involved in the same activities throughout the duration of the courses. These activities involve preparatory tasks prior to the course, and also post-course activities. Continued analysis of data for those interested. The goals of the course are to provide students with an interdisciplinary research, conservation and education experience at one of the most pristine wilderness areas remaining in the world. The course will explore ways of defining, studying, communicating, and conserving biocultural diversity. These goals will be achieved by exposing students to a first-hand experience in the Omora Ethnobotanical Park (OEP), a long-term ecological study site that serves to link society and development with biodiversity, history and ecosystems in the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve.

Additionally, The International Association of Bryologists 2015 “World Conference” will be held at the Omora Ethnobotanical Park along the southern shore of the Beagle Channel near Puerto Williams, the Capital of the Antarctic Province of Chile, in the UNESCO Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve (CHBR), 11 to 15 January 2015.

The students will have a unique opportunity to participate in this World Conference during the course. Participating in the international pre-conference workshops as well as field activities and seminars during the conference. The students will have the opportunity to interact with world leading researchers in the fields of environmental conservation, environmental sciences, arts, and bryology. Among the expected participants are Chilean senators and government authorities, upper administrators from academic institutions, distinguished Nobel Prize winners, and founding researchers of the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve. This will further foster the trans-disciplinary, international experience of student, involvement exchange of ideas and exploration of opportunities to work in the field of biocultural conservation. Participating in the workshop on the novel activity, “Ecotourism with a hand lens” will help students’ to be actively involved in the conference and practicing the biocultural conservation approach. The students will be ambassadors for the universities that they are attending.

COURSE GENERAL OBJECTIVES: Biocultural diversity has been defined as the “diversity of life in all its manifestations —biological, cultural, and linguistic— which are interrelated within a complex socio-ecological adaptive system.” Addressing modern day environmental issues requires approaches that take into account this multi-faceted meaning of diversity. In this context, this course will provide students with an interdisciplinary research, conservation and education experience at one of the most pristine wilderness areas remaining in the world. The course will explore ways of defining, studying, communicating, and conserving biocultural diversity. These goals will be achieved by exposing students to a first-hand experience using the case study of the creation and implementation of the Omora Ethnobotanical Park as a long-term ecological study site that serves to link society and development with biodiversity, history and ecosystems in the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve (CHBR).


1) To study various ways of approximating diversity in its multiple manifestation and scales.

2) To observe, describe, and investigate in a philosophically comparative way, and ecologically integrated way, conspicuous (e.g., birds) and less conspicuous (e.g., aquatic invertebrates, non-vascular plants) taxonomic groups. 3

3) To use the Omora Ethnobotanical Park and the CHBR as concrete examples of integrating environmental ethics and ecological sciences into biocultural conservation, using the Field Environmental Philosophy approach developed by the Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation program research team.

4) Partner students from different cultures along with different academic interests, cultural issues and perspectives to provide the opportunity for an interdisciplinary experience that integrates philosophical, ecological, environmental, and conservation issues. Through these opportunities students will discover and better understand their roles as global citizens.

Instructors will strive to provide a characterization of scientific and philosophical research to help make distinctions between these two approaches, as well as identify complementarities between them.

Research topics of the TDP-FBC January 2014-2015 course 

The general topic of this course is biocultural conservation. It has a strong field component in which students get first hand encounters with the diversity of people inhabiting the sub-Antarctic Magellanic ecoregion (including handcrafters from the indigenous Yahgan community, teachers from local schools, tourist operators, as well as Chilean and Latin American students, researchers, and artists), and explore together the main habitat types (including penguin colonies, watersheds dominated by Nothofagus forests, etc.).

This year, the class will participate in three long-term studies designed to better understand the ecology of the sub-Antarctic forests of the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve (55°). The research activities will include research on:

1) The biology of the bird species that inhabit the southernmost forests through Omora Park’s long-term bird-banding program.

2) Long term studies of freshwater invertebrate diversity and phenology.

3) Freshwater water quality assessements as they relate to human presence in Puerto Williams.

4) Ecotourism and Biocultural Conservation in the Miniature Forests of Cape Horn.

These activities will include study sites in OEP and in the Robalo Watershed on Navarino Island. A specific schedule of activities is provided in the tentative schedule of activities.

Bird and Terrestrial Invertebrate Studies 

Specific Ornithological questions, which will be investigated by the students during this course include:

A) How long do birds live?

B) What do birds eat?

C) What food is available for birds?

Aquatic Invertebrates as indicators of watershed health and long-term Climate Change in Magellanic sub-Antarctic freshwater ecosystems 

A) What are the phenological patterns of the major aquatic insect species in the rivers of the CHBR? 4

B) How are life cycles of aquatic invertebrates influenced by external factors such as temperature and changes to environmental conditions in the watershed?

C) How do aquatic insects link terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems?

D) How do aquatic invertebrates change relative to human impacts?

Freshwater water quality assessements of rivers associated to urban areas in Puerto Williams 

A) How do key water quality characteristics change along a stream gradient?

B) How does water quality change relative to human presence?

Ecotourism and Biocultural Conservation 

Finally, students will learn, practice and experience the methodology of Field Environmental Philosophy, which integrates ecological sciences and environmental ethics through a 4-step cycle: 1) Interdisciplinary research (freshwater ecology and ornithological work); 2) Communication through the composition of simple narratives and metaphors (The miniature forests of Cape Horn, The River as a Community of Life), 3) Development of field activities with an ethical and an ecological orientation (Ecotourism with a Hand Lens, Underwater with a Hand Lens), 4) In situ Conservation (Miniature Forests of Cape Horn and Underwater Inhabitants of the rivers of Cape Horn interpretative trails).

A) Students will practice the ecologically and ethically- guided field activities as a way of understanding ecotourism as a tool to contribute to biocultural conservation in the Magellanic sub-Antarctic ecorregion.

B) Students will be required to take what they have learned from the course and prepare activities for tourists, and other visitors to Omora Park that include an ecological and ethical orientation.

C) Activity approaches will aim for visitors to gain not only an understanding and knowledge about the unique sub-Antarctic biodiversity, but also provide a transformative experience to cultivate an ethical and sustainable relationship with this biodiversity, both locally and globally. Experience will focus on ecotourism with a hand-lens.



On days when multiple activities are scheduled course participants will be divided into smaller groups that will rotate through all of the laboratory and field activities course activities. Please note that this schedule is tentative. Weather or other events beyond the instructors control may necessitate changes to the schedule.

Tentative Schedule

TDP: Field Biocultural Conservation (Conservacion Biocultural de Campo) 29 December 2014 – 18 January 2015 Activities


Tentative Schedule and Activities

TDP: Field Biocultural Conservation (Conservacion Biocultural de Campo)

29 December 2014 – 18 January 2015

Day of week Date General Activities Thematic Topics
Mon 29 Fly from Dallas to Santiago
Tue 30 Arrive SCL and fly to Punta Arenas. Arrive in P. Arenas
Wed 31 AM: Visit to Reserva de Magallanes



PM: Penguin colony at Otway (north of Punta Arenas)



Introduction to relevant course topics (J. Kennedy & R. Rijal)

Disability Liberation and the Eco-Ability Movement (J. Nunnelly)

Taxonomic chauvinism and Ecotourism with a hand-Lens (R. Rozzi & graduate students)

Environmental Philosophy & Biocultural Conservation

(J. Kennedy & R. Rozzi)

Thu 1 AM: Seminars at Hain Hostal



4:00 PM Ferry to Puerto Williams

Introduction to plant ecology and bryophytes: Inter-hemispheric comparisons (R. Capers)


Introduction to Political and Economic History of Chile since 1970 (J. Horpedahl)

Fri 2 Navigation along the Darwin Cordillera and glaciers


Regional ecosystems (M. Coogan & J. Kennedy)



Sat 3 Day: Hike to Lake Robalo


Night 1: Camping at Lake Robalo




Altitudinal gradient

Habitat characterization


Sub-Antarctic birds: Sampling & research techniques (J. Jimenez)


Field Environmental Philosophy:

FEP Step 1 (Contador & graduates)

Sun 4 Day1: Field work


Night 2: Camping at Lake Robalo




Group 1: Birds, mammals & plants (J. Jimenez, R. Crego & R. Capers)

Group 2: Fresh water quality and invertebrates monitoring (M. Coogan, T. Contador & J. Kennedy)


Field Environmental Philosophy:

FEP Step 2 (Contador & graduates)

Mon 5 Day2: Field work


Night 3: Camping at Lake Robalo



Group 2: Birds, mammals & plants (J. Jimenez, R. Crego, R. Capers)

Group 1: Fresh water quality and invertebrate monitoring (M. Coogan, T. Contador, J. Kennedy)


Field Environmental Philosophy:

FEP Step 3 (Contador & graduates)

Tue 6 AM: Hike back to Puerto Williams

PM: Free time for showers/resting

Field Environmental Philosophy:

FEP Step 4 (Rozzi, Kono & graduates)



Wed 7 FEP & Biodiversity monitoring


Introduction to Omora Ethnobotanical Park (OEP) and Ecotourism with a Hand-Lens (EHL)

Early morning Bird Group 1

Early morning Invertebrates Group 2

Early morning Plants Group 3


11AM: Introduction to OEP

FEP – EHL Workshop (Rozzi, Lewis, Vezzani & graduates)

Thur 8 FEP & Biodiversity monitoring


Workshop on EHL



Early morning Bird Group 3

Early morning Invertebrates Group 1

Early morning Plants Group 2


11AM: FEP – EHL Workshop

P. Vezzani, L. Lewis & R. Rijal

Fri 9 FEP & Biodiversity monitoring


Workshop on EHL


Workshop on Yaghan handicraft


Early morning Bird Group 2

Early morning Invertebrates Group 3

Early morning Plants Group 1


11AM: FEP – EHL Workshop

P. Vezzani, L. Lewis & R. Rijal


3-6PM: Handicraft workshop J. Gonzalez & T. Contador

Sat 10 EHL: Internal workshop All students are prepared to guide EHL for IAB participants

See International Association of Bryologists’ (IAB) Program

Workshop: Arts, Science & Ethics

P. Vezzani, L. Lewis & A. Bugallo

Sun 11 EHL: Workshop with local community members and tour operators


World Congress of the International Association of Bryologist (IAB): Inauguration

All students are prepared to participate in EHL with members of the local community


See IAB Program



Mon 12 IAB Conference See IAB Program
Tues 13 IAB Conference AM: Students prepare presentations

PM: see IAB Program

Wed 14 IAB Conference AM: Students prepare presentations

PM: see IAB Program

Thur 15 AM: IAB Conferrence

PM: Students Presentations

Evening:Closing Celebration

AM: See IAB Program

PM: Students presentations

Fri 16 AM: Depart Puerto Williams to Punta Arenas

PM: Punta Arenas free time



Sat 17 Depart for Santiago for US    
Sun 18 Arrive in the US