Chile by Prof Gaston

Chile, South America

University of Exeter Professor attends inaugural Congress of Brazilian, Chilean and Argentine Ecological Societies

The University of Exeter’s Professor Kevin J Gaston addressed delegates at the first ever joint Congress of the Brazilian, Chilean and Argentine Ecological Societies, which took place this month in Puerto Varas, Chile.

The event brought together more than 500 scientists.

Contributing the closing plenary presentation of the meeting, Professor Gaston, Director of the Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI), outlined: the challenges provided by the spread of artificial night-time lighting; the need for an interdisciplinary approach to their understanding; and the opportunities for aligning economic imperatives with reducing the impacts of a significant environmental pressure. “This topic prompted a lively and varied discussion” he said, commenting on the value of ecologists sharing their experiences from around the world.

While in South America, Professor Gaston also visited the Universidad Austral de Chile, Valdivia where he met with Dr Olga Barbosa of the Institute of Environmental Sciences and Evolution. Here he contributed to a small symposium on urban ecology, and debated with staff and students the best ways in which to manage green spaces in urban environments to the benefits of human populations.

Later, on the invitation of Rodrigo Jordan, explorer and founder of Fundación Vertical - one of Chile’s most respected eco-tourism, expedition, and leadership organisations - Professor Gaston attended ‘Geografica 2013’ an annual set of public presentations, which takes place each year in Santiago, Chile.  Here Professor Gaston spoke again about his research, exploring the environmental impact of artificial light at night.

Much of the work presented by Professor Gaston throughout his trip reflects the ESI’s activities within Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, emphasising that the impact of this work is far wider and of practical, national and international application and value.

The ESI has been funded by the European Regional Development Fund Convergence Programme (£22.9M) and the South West Regional Development Agency (£6.6M), with significant support from the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

Date: 19 November 2013

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