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March 8, 2013     The Catalina Islander
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i Carlos de la Rosa left Catalina a year ago nextmonth STAFF REPORT Anyone who's been on the main- land recently has likely noticed the bright red "TED" banners up on Ocean Boulevard in Long Beach during last week's annual TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) Conference. The Long Beach event, which was held Feb. 25-March 1, brings together the world's most innova- tive thinkers under the banner of "Ideas worth sharing." This year, Catalina's own Carlos de la Rosa (now working in Costa Rica), was honored as one of those innovative thinkers as a "TED" speaker--a participant who joined the TED conference remotely at one of the satellite locations. De la Rosa left Catalina a year ago next month, landing the pres- tigious post of director of La Selva Biological Station located in the lush rainforest north of San Jose, Costa Rica. The station is the flag- ship member of the Organization for Tropical Studies, a consortium of 60 universities worldwide with tropical research posts. Costa Rica's TED satellite con- ference, held simultaneous with festivities in Lon.g Beach, was staged at the national Museo de los Nifios, a children's museum. Late last week, hundreds of people Carlos de la Rosa in his land-based office, holding a small collection of spe- cies of Pacific wasps, one of which bears his name (Neotheronia rosai). The species was discovered by the late British Museum entomologist lan Gauld, and named by Gauld after de la Rosa to honor his contributions to Costa Rican forest conservation. Courtesy photo interested in cutting-edge think- ing gathered there, while gather- ing, too, in Long Beach. To the packed auditorium, he appeared larger than life on a floor-to-ceiling-sized 'screen. As part of the live feed, the soft whir of cicadas, chatter of birds and other sounds of the forest filled the room, transporting partici- pants to deep nature. "My name is Carlos de la Rosa, and this," he said, motioning toward the vast rain forest behind him, "is my office!" De la Rosa focused, aptly, on how technology is bridging gaps in experience and learning. "For example, there are about 10,000 people each year who visit La Selva, but through advances in technology, we can bring this experience to tens of thousands, or even more, who otherwise may never have had the opportunity to immerse in the experience of the rainforest," he said. De la Rosa pointed out that his talk was taking place half a kilometer away from the nearest building, and that, because of the station's new high-speed Internet and WIEI capability (recently upgraded by de la Rosa and his team), it was happening live. De la Rosa noted the "citizen scientist" applications. "Imagine there are scientists doing research on butterflies, for example--what they eat, when they come to feed, how they interact. These researchers would come a number of times each day to check fruit trays left for the butterflies to feed, and make their observations. With web cams focused on these trays, 10, 100 or a thousand citizen scientists can make observations day or night from anywhere in the world." De la Rosa said that by follow- ing a protocol set up by the sci- entists (as simple as record your observation, time, take a photo, and submit), the data collected by citizen scientists can be extremely Cones NEED A HOME L()AN? DRE: 00698852 NMLS: 249784 CONTACT: BRYAN TAYLOR SPECIALIZING IN: Conventional, FHA and Government Loans Refinance, Rate Reduction and Cash Out Loans 2nd Home Financing, Investment Properties and Harp II Mortgages DIRECT: 562.756.5559 FAX: 562.920.7465 EMAIL: BTHomeLoans@aol.com '~ "SERVICE IS MY COMMITMENT" O.HE U 0 ~ T G A G E LIC #738968 RESIBENTIAL. COMMERCIAL. INDUSTRIAL GENERATOR SALES & INSTALLATION Repairs I New Const I Remodel I Tenant Improvement AVALOH 310-510-9239 OFFICE 310-829-5007 Webcam and internet technology are making it possible for Carlos de la Rosa, now with the La Selva Biological Station, to introduce rain- forest creatures like this four-foot-long iguana to parties world wide. valuable. "Researchers can com- municate with those participating, who are no longer passive observ- ers," he said. "In this way, every- day people can become part of the process of science, discovery and conservation." For the talk, de la Rosa took one of his examples from Catalina: the webcams focused on bald eagle nests placed by the Institute for Wildlife Studies. "Those eagle cams have made it possible for hundreds if not thousands of observers to pro- vide IWS scientists with informa- tion about the behavior of eagles on their nests," he said. "That is information that would be impos- sible to gather with just one or two observers." It was by virtue of these cams, Carlos said, that it was discovered that Catalina Island foxes could prey on bald eagle chicks. Nature cams on Catalina could also be used to monitor other island natives, such as foxes, squirrels, and even insects. "Such cams are very cost effec- tive at this point, and with a mod- est investment in staffing support, could be .an important tool in catching problems early and help- ing to avoid catastrophic events such as the distemper outbreak which nearly wiped out Catalina's fox," de la Rosa said. In another example, a Tampa, Fla., high school teacher asked De la Rosa if he could do a lecture for their class. He did it from a rainforest observation tower more than 100 feet tall. "The children were able, virtually, to 'walk' with me around that tower making observations. They heard the calls of howler monkeys, the call of the crested guan, and the chatter of parrots and other birds--all using Skype, on an iPhone," he said. De la Rosa, a member with nat- uralist Frank Hein and long-time Catalina musician Mary Stein of the band "Front Street," and wife Claudia, will return to Catalina later this year, and "as frequently as possible to stay in touch with our island family," De la Rosa said. To read more about his recent TED talk may visit Nacion.com and search for "TEDx Carlos de la Rosa." I SINGING SERVING THE CHURCH, REACHING THE ISLAND 6 i Friday, March 8, 2013 THE CATALINA ISLANDER