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OSPGEN 73: Desert Biogeography and Culture of Namibia

Desert Biogeography of Namibia focuses on the remarkable organisms of the Namibian arid zones and the unique adaptations make life possible in water limiting environments. Sample topics will include the desert-adapted elephants and lions, Welwitschia ¿forests¿, fairy circles, desolate pans, ¿life at the waterhole¿, and colonial sociable weaver birds. We will see how deserts resemble islands in terms of the impacts of isolation and how anthropogenic and nonanthropogenic effects perturb this isolation and bring change to these ecosystems. We will also compare the various arid regions which make up an impressive 33% of the Earth¿s land surface area. We will examine some of the tradition and modern human adaptations needed to inhabit one of the least densely populated countries in the world. Embarking on a mobile field seminar, we will have the opportunity to observe these effects first hand creating an unforgettable learning environment. Students should be prepared to complete a prefield seminar in winter quarter, to study under challenging conditions, sharing close living quarters. Free time is quite limited and students are expected to fully participate in all seminar activities. Assignments include student presentations; daily observations, journaling, and discussion; and a comprehensive dossier at the end of the course.
Terms: Sum | Units: 2 | Grading: Satisfactory/No Credit
Instructors: ; Siegel, R. (PI)
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