ILTER meeting fosters collaboration between Northern Patagonia and northwestern

Network News Spring 2009, Vol. 22 No. 1

In January 2009, researchers from North and South America gathered in Bariloche, Argentina, to discuss how to establish a program of research and scientific interaction focused on long-term ecological questions in northern Patagonia. The purpose of the workshop was to stimulate the development of a long-term ecological research program in western Argentina that would function in collaboration with long-term ecological research in the northwestern United States. The climatic similarities between the two regions offer many opportunities for collaboration, comparison, and contrast in ecological research.

The workshop brought together some of Argentina's most respected environmental scientists with their counterparts from the western United States, including researchers from the HJ Andrews Forest Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) site led by Barbara Bond (Lead PI and Professor of Forest Ecosystems and Society at Oregon State University (OSU)). Others were Mark Harmon (Professor, Forest Ecosystems and Society); Matthew Betts (Assistant Professor of Landscape Ecology and Wildlife Biology, Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society); Elizabeth Borer (Assistant Professor, Department of Zoology); and Carlos Sierra (PhD student, Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society), all from OSU.

The workshop was the first of several meetings and conferences designed to develop an interdisciplinary, long-term ecological research program in western Argentina and enhance collaborations with U.S. scientists. The meeting served as a rare opportunity to bring together high-caliber scientists, ranging from ecosystem, population and community ecologists to plant physiologists and hydrologists, with a keen interest in developing an integrated research program in the northern Patagonian region.

In 2010 the group plans to submit a proposal to the National Science Foundation (NSF)'s Partnerships in International Research and Education (PIRE) program to develop this collaboration further.

The workshop was funded jointly by the NSF and local scientific agencies-the Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET) and the Agencia Nacional de Promoción Científica y Tecnológica (ANPCyT). It was chaired by Bond, Claudio Ghersa (Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina), and Tomás Schlichter (Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria, Argentina).

A detailed article about the workshop was published in the journal, New Phytologist (see Austin, Amy T. Planning for connections in the long-term in Patagonia. New Phytologist. 182: 299–302).

By Lina DiGregorio, AND