Rapid Ecosystem Function Assessment (REFA) in Savanna Ecosystem in Limpopo, South Africa

Preliminary date: Spring 2022, tba

Registration dates: Application will be opened typically a few month before the course start

Coordinating university/institution:
University of Bonn in collaboration with South African and German partner institutions

SPACES project: 

Limpopo Province, South Africa (Polokwane and village)

Target group:
Mainly master and PhD Students. Additionally, bachelor/honors students or early career scientists possible. Students are from South Africa or from other SPACES II countries. German students possible in exceptional cases (please contact organizers).

Course description and primary learning objectives:
The course focuses on applying rapid assessment methods for ecosystem functioning in a dry savanna ecosystem. These methods include estimations and measurements of biomass production, biodiversity or pollinator activity. The methods are standardized (Meyer et al 2015) to enable a comparison between different studies. In this course, the methods will be performed in and around a village (tba) with different land-uses.

Learning methods:

  • Lectures on theoretical background
  • Application of selected methods in the field (e.g. sampling of biomass / soil, measuring of pollinator activity)
  • Lab work
  • Data analysis

Expected learning outcomes:
Participants acquire basic and extended knowledge on different ecological assessment methods and their relevance for an evaluation of ecosystem functionality. Participants learn about characteristics of the savanna ecosystem and the impact of different land-uses on it. Participants gain experience in all steps of research, from planning of field work to data analysis.

Course coordinator:
Anja Linstädter, Kai Behn, Frances Siebert et al.

Course lead:
Anja Linstädter, Frances Siebert, Clarea Nesongano, Kai Behn et al.

Application instructions:
A limited number of funded slots (travel & accommodation) are available for this course. To apply for funded participation, please include the following documents in your online submission:

- Full CV (including list of publications if applicable)

- Motivation letter, clearly indicating why this course is important for you and how it supports your studies/research

- Supporting letter from your academic supervisor (or similar), justifying the need for funding; and

- Passport copy (for travel bookings).

It is also possible to apply for a non-funded slot, in which case this should be clearly indicated in the application.

Additional information:
The course will be part of a bigger REFA campaign