SCGIS 2009 Scholarship Program        (2009 main page)

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In 2009, the Scholarship Program announcement was distributed to the leaders of such chapters and communities, and these leaders were delegated the responsibility to distribute the announcement locally, and to collect and pre-review the applications in their respective regions: Brazil, Cameroon, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Latin America, Madagascar, Mongolia, Nepal, Philippines, Russia, South Africa (as a region), and Uganda. After a careful review of the applications we received from these communities, the following applicants were awarded scholarships:

Alejandro Javier Gatto, Centro Nacional Patagónico (CENPAT), Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET), Argentina
Ashok Pathak, Society for Wetland and Biodiversity Conservation Nepal (WBC Nepal), Nepal
Barnerd Kasoine Lesowapir, Save the Elephants, Kenya
Bashyal Dhruba Sharma, Bird Education Society, Nepal
Buh Wung Gaston, Limbe Botanic Garden, Cameroon
Cecilia Cronemberger de Faria, Parque Nacional da Serra dos Órgãos, Brazil
Fredrick Wanyama, Uganda Wildlife Authority, Uganda
Hultera, Harapan Rainforest, Indonesia
Ilona Zhuravleva, Greenpeace, Russia
James Musinguzi, Uganda Wildlife Education Centre, Uganda
Kail Zingapan, Philippine Association for Intercultural Development, Inc. (PAFID), Philippines
Yulia Kalashnikova, WWF, Russia




Alejandro Javier Gatto, Argentinad
Alejandro J. Gatto
Ecología y Manejo de Recursos Acuáticos
Centro Nacional Patagónico - CONICET
Blvd. Brown 2915
Puerto Madryn (U9120ACD), Chubut
ARGENTINA Tel: (02965) - 451024 int. 215
Fax: (02965) - 451543
email: alegatto@cenpat.edu.ar

When I was an undergraduate student I took an introduction course of ArcView 3.1 at Universidad de Buenos Aires (Argentina) where I obtained my degree in Biology. This was my first encounter with the potential of GIS. Since this course, I have been considering GIS a powerful tool for ecology and conservation. But my real experience with GIS was still lacking until I was involved in a telemetry study of the foraging areas of two understudied species of seabirds in Patagonia, the Olrog’s Gull and the Neotropic Cormorant, one year later. When I designed my PhD I also included GIS to study the foraging ecology of another three understudied species of seabirds, in this case, three species of terns, in Patagonia. The information obtained in these studies will contribute to the development of adequate coastal planning, particularly in relation to tourism, commercial and artisanal fishing activities, and of management and conservation guidelines for these species breeding at three Patagonian protected areas. I also participated in internal workshops of GIS and R programming at CENPAT organized by Patricia Dell’Arciprete, my GIS mentor.
By the time I was at the University, I have been involved in several conservation programs, and in several NGOs. I participated in more than ten conservation programs including several natural environments and species, some of them are still in action and in many of them I am still participating. When I was a volunteer of Fundación Vida Silvestre Argentinad (FVSA, WWF partner, www.vidasilvestre.org.ar) I am involved in conservation studies centered in the endangered Pampa’s Deer. Studies included the behavior and home range of the animals throughout the day and season using radiotelemetry, evaluating controlled burnings to offer optimal grazing grounds for deer, and evaluating their potential predator’s diets (Geoffroy’s Cat and Azara’s Fox) to access predation risk. I am also involved for several years in the FVSA seabird and shorebird banding program at one of the most important wintering areas of Common Terns and migration stop-point of Red Knots in Argentina (Punta Rasa, Ramsar site). This program included several environmental education activities framed in the Shorebirds Sister Schools Program (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service). As FVSA volunteer, I coordinated several times many activities for the United Nations Environment Programme “Clean up the World”.

This scholarship is a great opportunity to learn much more about GIS and conservation using GIS. I have used a little bit of this powerful tool before, but I consider that I need to know more because it has a very strong potential. I am a little familiar with ArcView 3.2 but I don’t know much about ArcGIS and a want to know their capabilities, mainly for ecology and dconservation. Scholarship is going to be also a very good opportunity to meet people around the world that are facing similar and diverse conservation problems. Having different points of views and the chance to interact with the people is going to help me to have other perspective about conservation problems and how they deal with them in countries with different political and economical regimens. There are not many opportunities in Argentina to take courses given by well trained professors in this topic and to participate and share information in meetings about GIS and conservation using GIS. Going abroad is very expensive for students after the crisis the country suffered years ago and this difficulty is increasing by means of the actual global financial crisis. Currency conversion rate for Argentinean pesos is still increasing now. My PhD scholarship is not enough to be able to afford courses, meeting fees and travel/lodging expenses of these characteristics without additional funding
your work in your local conservation and GIS community? Seabirds are important components of marine and coastal ecosystems, and in several cases are important economic resources (e.g. ecotourism and guano). In this context, knowledge of foraging patterns is crucial not only to understand a seabird’s basic ecologic requirements but also to develop conservation strategies. The information on the location of foraging areas at sea throughout the breeding season is important during the zoning of marine areas, the development of management guidelines and the evaluation of potential conflicts between human activities and seabird populations. Although seabirds are highly dependent on the marine environment, adjacent marine waters are not included in most Patagonian coastal protected areas. In addition, for most protected areas that includes adjacent waters there is no adequate information to develop spatial and temporal zoning schemes to allow seabird protection at sea and minimize conflicts with human activities. The information of foraging areas obtained will contribute to the development of adequate coastal planning, particularly in relation to tourism, commercial and artisanal fishing activities, and of management and conservation guidelines for these three species breeding at these Patagonian protected areas. Now we are trying to work together with the conservation agency if Chubut in order to improve protection of these areas and to manage tourism. We also carried out many training courses for guides, rangers and teachers in order to involve local communities to conservation.

*-Title of the paper you will present:
Foraging areas of Cayenne, Royal and South American terns breeding in northern Patagonia, Argentina
*-Abstract/summary of the paper you will present:
Cayenne (Thalasseus sandvicensis eurygnathus), Royal (Thalasseus maximus) and South American Terns (Sterna hirundinacea) breed sympatrically in Patagonia, Argentina. Very little is known on the breeding foraging areas and feeding patterns of these species and thus studies are needed to understand their role in coastal ecosystems and develop adequate management strategies. We present information on the use of foraging areas by these species at a mixed species colony in the Punta León Protected Area (43º 04’ S, 64º 29’ W), and in the Punta Loma Protected Area (42° 49’ S, 64° 53’ W) Chubut, Argentina. Radio-transmitters were deployed on eight nesting adults of each species, which were tracked during the late incubation. Feeding areas were identified during foraging trips by means of radio-telemetry from the coast, using two fixed tracking stations for each colony, consisting each of two attached 9-element Yagi antennae. Terns foraged often between the colony and 35 km away. However, lack of signal reception in some of these trips, indicate that foraging can also take place in waters further away. In general, individual birds were consistent in the use of one particular area. Implications for foraging area partitioning between terns and the coastal management and conservation guidelines will be discussed.



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