UNT Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation Program and Director Ricardo Rozzi earn top honors for biocultural work in Chile
Ricardo Rozzi - On-site research director for UNT's Sub-Antartic Biocultural Conservation Program (Photo UNT)
Grey-Headed Albatross - One of the many species of bird found in the Diego Ramirez-Drake Passage Marine Park (Photo Omora Barroso)
UNT was recognized for the creation of the Diego Ramirez-Drake Passage Marine Park, established in January 2018 at the southern end of the continental shelf of the South American continent. The park is the 25th marine protected area in Chile and the seventh in Patagonia. It’s the largest such park in South America, extending more than 144,390 square kilometers including the marine habitats of the Diego Ramirez Archipelago.
“This park provides a unique refuge for the protection of threatened and endangered species such as the grey-headed and black-browed albatross, the southern rockhopper penguin and the striated caracara,” said Jim Kennedy, regents professor in UNT’s College of Science and education director of the Chile program. “The success of the Chile program can, in large part, be attributed to Ricardo Rozzi, our on-site director of research in Chile.”
Rozzi, a professor in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences Department of Philosophy and Religion, recently won the 2019 Eugene P. Odum Award for Excellence in Ecology Education by the Ecological Society of America. The ESA recognized Rozzi as “the top ecologist in ecology education this year” and states that he has “clearly taken the approach of getting the greatest knowledge of ecology to the greatest number of people and in so doing, made a tremendous large-scale conservation impact.” Rozzi will receive the award at the ESA’s 2019 annual meeting in August.
“The work we do in Chile is important not just for South America, but for ecological researchers around the world,” said Rozzi. “The creation of the Diego Ramirez-Drake Passage Marine Park is a wonderful example of what happens when students, professionals, volunteers and public and private institutions all come together with the goal of stopping and even reversing environmental degradation.”
UNT, the Chilean Navy, Ministry of National Assets, Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Economy and the regional government all worked together to make the marine park a reality.