Desert Ecology and Conservation Biology

Desert Ecology and Conservation Biology
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Dates, Deadlines, and Costs
TermApp DeadlineStart DateEnd DateCost
SummerFebruary 25mid Maylate JuneBudget
Program Information
  • GPA
  • 2.5
  • Language of Instruction
  • English
  • Foreign Language Requirement
  • No
  • Class Eligibility
  • Freshman, Graduate, Junior, Senior, Sophomore
  • Program Open To
  • UA and Non-UA Students
  • Credit Type
  • UA Direct Credit
  • Level of Study
  • Graduate, Undergraduate
  • Housing Options
  • Other
  • Program Type
  • UA Faculty-led
Program Overview

This program provides an opportunity to conduct hands-on field experience while learning about different ecosystems, their conservation status and management options within the Namibian context.  Students experience Namibia’s extraordinary natural beauty by visiting field research stations, reserves, national parks and conservation organizations.


Tentative 2019 dates: 5/13/19-6/28/19-

This six-week field program is designed to introduce students to one of the world’s oldest deserts, the Namib, and to arid and semiarid biotopes on the African continent. Students will gain hands-on field experience in conservation in three parts:

Introduction and Orientation Seminar - The presentation of student papers on general aspects of Namibian fauna, flora and ecology as well as geography, geology and history. Representatives of the government, the university and conservation Non-government Organizations (NGO) will be invited for seminar presentations or visited at their respective institutions to learn about current issues in research and conservation.

Field Work - Participants will actively engage in conservation at one location preferably in co-operation with a major institution, NGO, or the government.

Field trips - Students will visit field research stations, reserves, national parks and conservation projects in various locations of Namibia to learn about different ecosystems, their conservation status and management options.

*Itinerary subject to change without notice

Participants earn 6 upper division or graduate units in the following:

RNR 495F/595F Conservation Biology (6 units)


Hans- Werner Herrmann, Ph.D.: conducts herpetological and conservation research worldwide with a focus on Africa.

Taylor Edwards, M.S.: has a background in wildlife ecology and molecular biology.

Thomas Wilson, Ph.D.: has a background in botany and soil science.

*Faculty participation will rotate and may include additional faculty members


Multi-City, Namibia

Namibia is famous for its Namib desert and National Parks, which possess among the most striking African ecosystems on the continent. Charismatic African megafauna can be observed as well as large numbers of birds, reptiles and some amphibians. Botanically, Namibia offers an enormous variety of succulent plants typical for African arid lands.

Participants will visit the true coastal Namib desert and a cline of arid and semiarid habitats which extend from the west (coast) to the east (inland) and experience the change of climate and landscape firsthand. Students will also travel to the enigmatic waterfalls along the Kunene river which are situated in typical Mopane savanna.

Namibia has one of the best developed infrastructures for tourism in Africa and has a large number of campgrounds and good roads. A stable political situation and long established nature conservation programs allow visitors to fully experience African ecosystems, as well as the local people and their cultures.


Participants in this field-based program will be in shared tents on developed campgrounds and in natural settings.

Due to the remoteness of some areas, average physical condition is required.

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