Priliminary date February 2021
Skukuza Science Leadership Initiative Campus, Skukuza, South Africa
University of Bayreuth, Germany
SPACES project: EMSAfrica
We will be targeting South African students who are on the pathway to a doctoral program in Earth System Science, irrespective of whether these students are in bachelor, honours or masters programs. The Bayreuth University students participating in this course are advanced bachelor (5th semester) students.
The following criteria will be used to select South African participants:
South African participants travel, accommodation and basic catering will funded.
Teaching concept and aims:
The course teaches basic field methods for plant ecology. The course provides a series of structured field data collection and data analysis exercises. These exercises expose students to basic methods, however these methods taught in the context of how they can be used to address fundamental questions in savanna ecology. That is, each field activity is linked to a big question in savanna ecology and we use the unique field infrastructure offered by the Kruger National Park (herbivore exclosures, long term fire experiments) to collect data relevant to these questions. We further use a slow science philosophy where the students analyse all data without the help of computers. This philosophy forces students to be mindful of the data life cycle and promotes creativity and teamwork in summarising and visualising results. Each field exercise is firmly embedded in the strategic adaptive management philosophy which is used authentically by the Kruger National Park. Guest lectures by SANParks scientists and managers communicate how strategic adaptive management stimulates positive feedbacks between science and management. The course terminates in a series of exercises where students plan, execute, and report on their own field ecological project. These latter series of exercises expose students to modern workshop methods.
Expected learning outcomes: Students who complete this course
Field data collection and data analysis exercises, guest lectures, student-led projects.
Prof. Dr. Steven Higgins (University of Bayreuth)
Prof. Dr Steven Higgins (University of Bayreuth, Bayreuth), Dr Laurence Kruger (Nsasansi Trust, Skukuza Science Leadership Initiative)