Program type:


On Campus
Est. time to complete:

2-3 years
Credit Hours:

Dedicate yourself to protecting our most valuable resource.
Research, strong professor-student mentoring, high-quality instruction, and professional community service are the foundation of our Biology master's degree with a concentration in Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation.

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Why Earn a Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation Biology Master's?

Begun as a local effort at the Omora Ethnobotanical Park in 2000, the program today is an international and interdisciplinary venture, whose partner institutions in the United States and Chile work to integrate the ecological sciences and environmental ethics.

This long-term socio-ecological research, education and conservation program in the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve, the Omora Alliance is developing innovative ways to address intertwined environmental and social problems such as global ecological change, invasive exotic species, cultural homogenization and sustainable development. The term biocultural conservation attempts to express the intrinsic link between human cultures and the environment. It also is an effort to place emphasis on the fact that often cultural diversity is as endangered, or more so, than species diversity in many places.

In the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve (CHBR), researchers have placed special attention to this link, which requires a transdisciplinary approach to study, conserve and communicate these findings.

The work in the CHBR links diverse approaches including environmental ethics, Yaghan traditional ecological knowledge, ecology, art and policy making, among others.

This program is supported by a network of organizations from both hemispheres of the world. It is an international and interdisciplinary cooperative that hopes to approach conservation by coupling the social and biological dynamics within policy making.

The goals of the coursework 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 program 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 (CHBR).

Marketable Skills
  • Critical evaluation of literature
  • The ability to follow protocols and methodologies
  • Collection and analysis of complex data
  • Understanding of research regulations
  • Working knowledge of biological sub-disciplines

Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation Biology Master's Highlights

The Life Sciences Complex, which has Gold-level Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification for sustainability, includes an aquatics laboratory and four climate-controlled rooftop research greenhouses.
The Center for Network Neuroscience focuses on in vitro preparations, especially monolayer cultures of mammalian central nervous system cells, and emphasizes research on pattern generation, storage and recognition.
The BioDiscovery Institute (BDI) operates through a pipeline linking sustainable plant production platforms, metabolic engineering and the development of new materials. The institute touts a multidisciplinary team of researchers committed to collaborating on large research projects with an emphasis on application of findings and solutions to meet market issues and needs.
The Center for Watershed and Reservoir Assessment and Management conducts research on techniques and best management practices for assessing and managing watersheds and reservoirs, addressing current and emerging problems and issues.
The Advanced Environmental Research Institute (AERI) houses multidisciplinary research teams that conduct science-based environmental research that provides an understanding of how human actions impact the environment, and then use that knowledge to suggest scientific, engineering, policy and/or educational solutions.
Qualified students are supported through competitive teaching assistantships or research assistantships funded by research grants to faculty members.

Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation Biology Master's Courses You Could Take

Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation (3 hrs)
In-depth study of the relationship between subantarctic ecosystems and cultures of southern South America including geography, climate, ethnography, history and ecology, which exposes students to both the practical and theoretical aspects of biocultural conservation, including its interdisciplinary character integrating the sciences and humanities
Environmental Ethics (3 hrs)
Examines the philosophical origins of environmental philosophy and the basic positions in the field of environmental ethics. Key authors in environmental philosophy are surveyed, as well as topical considerations with an emphasis on theories of environmental value, legal and moral rights for nature, animal liberation and Western philosophical and religious traditions
Master’s Thesis (6 hrs)
Research to satisfy requirements for master’s thesis will be performed in the Sub-Antarctic Region of South America
Contemporary Topics in Environmental Science and Ecology (1-3 hrs)
Contemporary topics and issues in environmental science and ecology. Topical themes include global climate change, biodiversity, wetlands, population and aquatic, terrestrial or plant ecology
Tracing Darwin’s Path (3 hrs)
Annual in-depth field course that explores sub-Antarctic biota, geography, history, cultures and ecosystems of the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve, integrating ecological science and field environmental ethics approaches to the study and conservation of biocultural diversity
Environmental Impact Assessment (3 hrs)
Principles and practices of preparing environmental impact assessments and statements. Addresses how to understand the effects that projects, plans and policies have on the environment and the impact those effects have on specific resources, ecosystems and human communities

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