NERC - CONICYT initiative
NERC-CONICYT initiative on the impacts of environmental change from southern Chile to the Antarctic Peninsula
7 January 2016
Three UK-Chile research consortia  have been awarded funding in the first joint call to be held between NERC and the Chilean funding agency, CONICYT. Co-funded using CONICYT's International Cooperation programme and NERC's Joint Strategic Response mechanism, a total of £1·65 million has been awarded to these three consortia. Through combined and coordinated access to Chilean and UK Antarctic logistics, bases and ships these consortia will seek to improve our understanding of the impacts of environmental change on terrestrial and marine ecosystems from southern Chile to the Antarctic Peninsula.
The projects will seek to address two key science questions:
- What are the key processes and mechanisms by which ice loss and glacial retreat influence marine and terrestrial ecosystems in a region of rapid environmental change; and
- How have these processes combined to determine previous ecosystem change in areas across this region, and how will they govern future change?
Speaking of these projects, NERC director of science & innovation, Professor Iain Gillespie, said:
"This joint programme is a really important first step in strengthening UK's relationship with Chile as a crucial part of furthering our understanding of the impacts of ice loss and deglaciation in this key region of rapid climate change. It is a great illustration of the flexibility and utility of the Joint Strategic Response mechanism."
Projects will run for up to three years.
- The lead UK-Chile principal investigators and their projects are:
Professor Jemma Wadham, University of Bristol and Professor Verena Haussermann, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso - PISCES: Patagonian ice field shrinkage impacts on coastal and fjord ecosystems.
Professor James Scourse, University of Bangor and Professor Antonio Brante Ramirez, Universidad Católica de la Santísima Concepción - Impacts of deglaciation on benthic marine ecosystems in Antarctica.
Dr Kevin Newsham, British Antarctic Survey and Professor Marco Molina Montenegro, Universidad de Talca - Evolutionary history of Colobanthus quitensis and its associated micro-organisms.