Notes from the Field: Liz Hadly and Tony Barnosky from the Okavango Delta
As part of our mission to connect science, education, communication, humanities and community outreach for students in our changing world, Tony Barnosky and I are merging the missions of Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve’s NSF grant "Out of the Box and Into the Cloud" and my HHMI Professor grant "Fostering Immersive Experiences for Undergraduates to Advance Science in a World of Environmental Change" to bring a cadre of engaged young academics to learn while camping out in the African bush. What a trip it has been so far!
We are following the Kwai River through the Okavango Delta, along the Boteti River below Maun and into the Makgadikgadi Pans of the Kalahari Desert where the water disappears. We are traversing through part of the Kaza Conservation Area – the largest conservation area in Africa, which is comprised of parts of five countries and with the Okavango Delta at its core.
Along the way we are learning to use a variety of equipment to assess its suitability for our miniaturized field kits, which include instruments for recording soundscapes, biodiversity, genomics, weather, and water and soil chemistry. As we encounter internet access, we will upload blogs from our team: seven undergraduate students (Stanford and University of Illinois), five graduate students (Stanford), two postdoctoral students (Stanford), one research associate (Stanford) and two professors (Stanford). Stay tuned for blogs from the students over the coming days.