Regional Graduate Network in Oceanography
A SCOR Capacity Building Project in Southern Africa
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   Application for 2015 course ended
   January 30.
   2016 course will be announced in
   November 2015.
  Microbial and Geochemical Oceanography
in Upwelling Ecosystems

2nd African Discovery Camp for Research-based Training
Science for the Sustainable Use and Management of Marine Ecosystems and their Resources

May 03 – June 04, 2015
The South-North flowing Benguela Current creates upwelling cells along the coast of Southwestern Africa where cold, nutrient and CO2-rich upwelling water leads to one of the world's most productive marine ecosystem. This high productivity is the basis for a prosperous fishing industry.
At the same time, degradation of excess biomass leads to rapid oxygen depletion, the formation of oxygen minimum zones (OMZ) in the water column and at times to massive upwelling of hypoxic water masses containing microbial metabolites that can be toxic to oxygen-dependent forms of life.
All Eastern Boundary Upwelling Systems worldwide are projected to undergo major changes in the near future with currently unknown consequences for fisheries and other ecosystem services. Predicting how the ecosystems will respond to steadily increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations, attendant rises in the water temperature, changes in ocean circulation, sea level rise, ocean acidification, massive nutrient cycling and other perturbations requires an intimate knowledge of the physical and geochemical processes involved and the major biological mediator of mass cycling and energy transformation, the microbiome. The exact magnitude of possible changes in upwelling is not well established, but it will likely cause stresses that will affect the Benguela Current Ecosystem's (BCE) productivity.
The BCE is not only a natural laboratory for studies on today's interactions between the geochemical and the microbial systems, how they are linked to food chain productivity and how they are affected by man-made pollution, it is also a model system that might offer explanations for events that occured earlier in Earth history. Examples are mass extinction and Oceanic Anoxic Events (OAE), formation of sedimentary phosphate deposits, how organisms responded to alkalinity changes, how sediments act as sinks for carbon and for sequestering other elements and how they archive former processes on land and along continental shelfs.
The courses offered within the RGNO program are following a holistic ecosystems approach which makes them attractive for many fields of the environmental sciences. And they offer research-driven, practical learning opportunites for dedicated scientists and passionate students in an interdisciplinary team for a few weeks.

If you are interested in learning more about the BCE and would like to join the Regional Graduate Network in Oceanography for Southern Africa in Namibia for a practical research period, this Research Discovery Camp might be the right course for you. You are expected to be open-minded, have a good background in the natural sciences, be creative in developing new ways for studying environmental questions and be experienced and willing to work in a small group at sea and in the laboratory on land. The RGNO supports your research ideas with lectures, literature studies, problem-solving challenges and hands-on training opportunities.
  After a successful pilot course in 2014 and thanks to the continued support of our sponsors, we are pleased to announce a second international research training course in southern Africa to take place in 2015. We'd like to invite PhD students, postdoctoral researchers, honors MSc students, but also professsors to apply, if they consider the microbiological and geochemical topics of interest to their own research. Participation is limited to 14.

Course participants will learn about microbial and geochemical oceanography, in particular about ways in which microbes participate in geochemical cycles in upwelling ecosystems and how chemical, physical and atmospheric processes in turn influence microbial physiology. Among many other things, the famous Thiomargarita spp. and other benthic and pelagic microbes of the sulfur, nitrogen and carbon transformation cycles and mud from their habitats will be collected and studied. During two six day cruises on Namibia's R/V MIRABILIS and together with scientists from the National Marine Information and Research Center (Nat MIRC), we will perform in situ measurements and collect samples for later work on land.
  Before embarking and after the cruises students will practise techniques and design experiments in the laboratories of UNAM's Sam Nujoma Campus & Marine Research Center in Henties Bay.
During lectures and discussions students will also learn about the complex relationships between the microbiome and ecosystem health, which ultimately influences the productivity and the harvestable yield of ecosystems. The interdisciplinary approach merges microbial and geochemical oceanography into comprehensive views about upwelling ecosystems. The research results will support decisions about sustainable ecosystem management based on an in-depth understanding of environmental changes and natural variability in the BCE.
We'd like to invite you to study the course description and the conditions given below and to send in your application before January 30, 2015.
      offered by UNAM's Sam Nujoma Campus & Marine Research Center and Namibia's National Marine Information and Research Center  
        Course Details    
  Research Discovery Camps  
  What you will learn        
  Purpose and Scope        
  Course Structure        
  Time Plan        
  Course Contents        
  Open Symposium            
  Symposium Speakers        
  Course Directors        
  Technical Assistants        
  Course Coordinator        
Search where the RV MIRABILIS is
  Course Location              
  Financial Support        
  Who is eligible to apply        
  How to apply        
  Selection of Participants              
A lot of work has been carried out in the BCE by scientists from the region and from abroad. Regional Graduate Networks in Oceanography (RGNO) intend to summarize what is known, to apply this knowledge towards understanding what changes to expect and to define research needs for the future. We would like to invite talented students and established scientists from all over the world to share their interests and knowledge with each other, to initiate innovative research projects and thus contribute to the training of a next generation of ocean scientists.
With the work carried out during RGNO Research Camps we will address questions of regional and global importance and of relevance for society, e.g. causes of variability of bioproductivity, stability of current-induced upwelling during past and future global changes and sea level variations, consequences of mining at the sea bottom and prospecting for marine biotechnology, to name just a few. The goals of the African RGNO are summarized in the RGNO Mission Statement.
  Travel to Namibia      
  Course Study Site      
  Important Dates      
  Impressions from Past Courses, Testimonials and Reports  
  Regional Graduate Network
in Oceanography   -   RGNO
  Other Things to do in Namibia        
  Slide show        
  Research Discovery Camps
  RGNO Research Discovery Camps offer training courses on specialized oceanographic topics. With its projects, Discovery Camps inspire people to advance scientific research in ocean ecosystems in an exploratory way. It is a unique experience involving hands-on work on a research vessel at sea, instruction in the classroom and work in the laboratory. By working across disciplinary fields and initiating partnerships with scientists from internationally leading research institutions, RGNO Research Discovery Camps offer opportunities to collaborate in interdisciplinary research projects with guidance and supervision by active scientists. The Discovery Camp in Namibia addresses questions relevant to the Benguela Current Ecosystem (BCE) and the consequences of global changes for its functioning. It provides opportunities to enhance understanding of marine ecosystems in general and how the BCE might respond to perturbations specifically.  
  What you will learn

During the Discovery Camp we will observe conditions in the BCE, ask ourselves why things are the way we observe them, carry out experiments that will allow us to understand how the ecosystem functions and consider consequences of global environmental changes. Participants will learn about current research and develop future research directions. It is anticipated that they are or will get involved in marine scientific research and be willing to attend internships for analyses and interpretation of research data in their home country or abroad after the camp, if necessary.

The acquired knowledge should encourage participants to investigate ecological questions related to ocean productivity, to integrate it into assessing and implementing sustainable strategies for activities related to prospecting, exploration and exploitation of the living and mineral resource in the ocean and provide scientific and technical expertise on the protection of the marine environment.
  Purpose and Scope
  In this RGNO Discovery Camp participants are asked to define open questions and formulate research projects that cover a range of topics related to marine biogeochemistry and microbial ecosystem research, including the human dimension of global change that affects biogeochemical processes in the ocean.

In particular, Discovery Camps in the BCE aim to fulfill the following goals:
  • encourage advanced students and young professionals to participate in an interdisciplinary ocean research program that aims at understanding how upelling ecosystems function, at identifying upcoming problems and by working towards their solutions,      
  • provide opportunities for innovative research-oriented learning about microbial and chemical oceanography,      
  • foster a comprehensive understanding of biogeochemical processes in the Benguela upwelling system,      
  • define key processes that affect the continental margins, including coastal systems, estuaries, shelf areas and river delta systems and exchanges between them,      
  • examine biogeochemical processes in the BCE and their relation to marine ecosystem structure and fisheries resources,      
  • identify biological, physical and chemical drivers of energy and material transformations and fluxes,      
  • study nutrient cycling, productivity, food chain efficiencies and carbon sequestration by biological and chemical processes, sedimentation and burial,      
  • investigate the dynamics of biological pump processes over the Benguela continental margin,      
  • integrate data into models that will assess the past, present and future biogeochemical status of the BCE,      
  • develop ideas for a regional ocean observatory system and      
  • extending insights and solutions of problems to students of natural sciences and to those who care about protecting marine habitats and their natural resources.      
      Course Structure
      The RGNO Discovery Camp intends to assemble the wealth of scientific information that has accumulated over many years of research. In a course we can fulfill this goal best by bringing together experts to train the next generation of biogeochemically and microbiologcally oriented oceanographers.  
          With the selected research themes and the mix between lectures and talks by experts, workshops with tutorials and the students' own efforts (paper presentations, experimental design, practical field and laboratory work, writing research proposals)   participants will become familiar with geo-chemical, physical, biological and ecological aspects that are unique to the BCE. They will be introduced to topics from the research front in microbial and geochemical oceanography.  
    The course will comprise
  • Field Experiences at sea in the Benguela Upwelling Ecosystem on the R/V MIRABILIS, in tidal estuaries and along coastlines and riverbeds.  


  • Lectures and Exercises at sea and on land covering course topics as outlined under Purpose and Scope and Course Contents.      
  • Guided Research Work in the laboratory.      
  • Colloquia and student-guided activites.      
  • Mini-Symposium on June 02, with key lectures by invited speakers and presentation of student's research findings.      
  • Discussion of scientific papers and case studies on particular course subjects, methods and concepts.      
  • Exercises offering hands-on introductions to bioinformatics and computer aided thermodynamics of geochemical processes and microbial metabolisms.      
  • Students will also be asked to suggest Special Topics that address their particular needs.      
      Time Plan
    The daily course work on land normally starts early in the morning with lectures and exercises; it continues in the afternoon with research work and experiments, and it might last until late at night with discussions and student-guided research activities. At sea there is a 24 hr schedule with work shifts. This demands flexibility and sometimes there is little time to sleep.

    Overall Course Schedule:

      Course Contents
      Research and learning focus on a better understanding of microbially mediated biogeochemical processes in the BCE. Observations at sea are combined with experiments, modelling, and theory. Expert instructors will address and illustrate a selection of topics in lectures and exercises. Examples are  

          Ocean Systems Studies
    Physical and chemical characteristics of the Benguela Current Upwelling Ecosystem.
  • Ocean-atmosphere interactions: Conversion of dissolved into volatile N and S compounds in oxygen minimum zones (OMZ).    
  • Specialties of desert-ocean interactions: Supply and distribution of terrestrial weathering materials, aerosols and microorganisms to the ocean by aeolian and fluvial transports.    
  • Seasonal and environmental variability: Application of satellite-based observation platforms and in situ verification of marine habitat conditions and responses. Remotely flown instruments, their characteristics and resolution. Measurements in the IR, VIS, microwave and multispectral ranges. Quality of measurements. Ocean data repositories.

          Sedimentary organic & inorganic Geochemistry    
  • How sedimentary processes impact chemical conditions and the nutritional status in the water column and vice versa.  
  • Biomarkers for the reconstruction of the origin of organic and inorganic compounds in sediments.    
  • Proxies to follow past changes in upwelling and depositional processes.    
  • Element balancing across the continental shelf (C in particular): Sources, sinks and movement of organic matter from land and estuaries across the coastal margin to the deep ocean and its transformation and persistence in sedimentary deposits. Association of organics with minerals and ionic solutes.    
          The Benguela Microbiome and its Interaction with geochemical Cycles  


  • Productivity comparison with other nutrient-rich and nutrient-poor marine systems: Black Sea, Baltic Sea, Mediterranean Sea.      
  • Ecophysiology of planktonic and benthic microorganisms: Microbial life strategies, energy fluxes, productivity, carbon and nutrient assimilation and dissimilation.      
  • Linking microbial community diversity and metabolism to biogeochemical functions.      
  • Microbial ecophysiology: Microbial life strategies and regulation of biogeochemical processes, energy fluxes, productivity, carbon and nutrient assimilation and dissimilation.      
  • Linking microbial community diversity and metabolism to biogeochemical community functions.      
  • Regulation of biogeochemical sink processes, e.g. phosphate bioaccumulation and the formation of phosphorus containing mineral deposits.      
  • Environmental genomics: How genomics and genetic approaches can be applied to understanding marine biogeochemical processes. The role of specific genes and enzymes in ecosystem networks.      
          Geochemical Cycling as Habitat Drivers      
  • Description of the biogeochemical cycles of N, P, Fe, Si, C, and O2. Stoichiometries and rates of major redox processes (N, S, C, O, Fe, ..) at redox-clines. Acid-base equilibria (carbonate-carbonic-acid-silica systems), effects on ocean buffering, acidification and biomineral solubility. Nutrient availability and microbial control (P, Si).      
  • Comparison of N- and S-transformation processes in redox clines of other Eastern Boundary Upwelling Systems: Humboldt and California Current Systems.      
          Low Oxygen Environments          
  • Relations between rapid nutrient cycling, productivity, degradation and oxygen depletion.      
  • How the use of alternate electron acceptors (e.g. NO3, MnO2, Fe(OH)3, SO4, CO2) is changing the balance of chemical elements in anoxic environments.      
  • Sources and sinks of climatically active metabolic gases such as CO2, N2O, CH4, DMS, halogenated compounds.      
  • The role of Archaea and Bacteria of the anaerobic microbiome in denitrification, nitrification, methanotrophy, methanogenesis etc.      
  • Coastal vs. off-shore marine OMZ ecosystems.      
  • Sensitivity, resistance, resilience and recovery of oxygen-poor food webs.      
  • Low oxygen environments in the context of global environmental changes in the past and in the future.      
          Geobiochemical Modeling      
  • Access to and working with ARGO and GEOTRACES data that are available in databases.      
  • Thermodynamic and kinetic nutrient cycling models. Sources and reliability of numerical data for chemical speciation, concentrations, fluxes and conversion rates. Horizontal and vertical mixing in shelf areas.      
  • Development of a Regional Oceanic Modeling System including a lower trophic ecosystem model with phytoplankton and zooplankton functional groups, detrital and dissolved organic matter (DOM) components and their microbial conversion.      
  • Flux balance analysis models. Reconstruction of past and present changes. Predictions of possible alterations, rates of changes in a perturbed world and risks associated with them.      
          Academic Skills  


  • Access to new research findings (scientific literature), knowledge sharing, presenting, collaborating in project development and management, locating, reading and evaluating scientific information, output evaluation and writing competitive grant proposals.      
          While working at sea, in the field and in the laboratory
    participants will be introduced to
  • collaborating in small teams on the R/V MIRABILIS for a week, designing sampling schemes, learning about proper sample collection and preservation and performing simple analyses on board.      
  • investigating the ecology and diversity of marine microbes involved in geochemical cycling of macro nutrients and micro elements.      
  • extracting pigments and metabolites from bloom forming microorganisms and separate and detect them with HPLC.      
  • analyzing organic and inorganic components from seawater and sediments.      
  • applying molecular biomarkers (membrane lipid fatty acids, stable isotopes) in food web ecology and the reconstruction of past environmental conditions.      
  • performing biogeochemical experiments and enrich and grow marine microorganisms.      
  • designing and executing mathematical models on nutrient flows in upwelling systems.      
  • The course research projects must be defined by students and instructors before the course starts. But there is always room for integrating unique ideas and aspects that are relevant to the participants' own research, if they can be realized within one of the prepared project topics.      
      Open Symposium
    Scientific Knowledge applied to the Sustainable Use of Coastal Upwelling Ecosystems
    Tuesday, June 2, at NatMIRC in Swakopmund
    A one-day open forum with presentations and discussions by experts from the region and visiting scientists familiar with the BCE
    Presentation of RGNO research results by participants of the Research Discovery Camp
    While anthropogenic effects due to overfishing, pollution, ship traffic and building of structures for exploration (oil drilling platforms, ocean bottom mining, wind farms etc.) can be managed, those due to short- and long-term, regional and global changes, like sea level rise, sea surface warming, ocean acidification and trophication or salinity changes, cannot. The one-day symposium will assemble international and regional scientists and research students from complementary disciplines, government regulators, policy advisors and decision makers concerned with the BCE, representatives from regional fisheries organizations and the shellfish farming and aquaculture industry, educators and other stakeholders who are interested in stimulating dialog and exchanging knowledge,
    experience and ideas about
  • present and future problems and challenges in coastal upwelling systems

  • climate change effects on nutrient cycling and productivity
  • designing proper approaches for studying them and for finding solutions
  • developing methods for an observation system
  • communicating research findings to decision makers and ecosystem managers
  • defining long-term benefits for the region and for individual stakeholders
  • training next generation ocean scientists
      Symposium Speakers
      Tentative list    
  • Jake Bailey, University of Minnesota, USA.
  • Rudi Cloete, Nat MIRC (National Marine Information & Research Centre)
  • Chris Bartholomae, Nat MIRC (National Marine Information & Research Centre)
  • Deon Louw, Nat MIRC (National Marine Information & Research Centre)
  • Edosa Omoregie, SANUMARC, UNAM
  • Osvaldo Ulloa, University of Concepción, Chile
  • Anja Van Der Plas, Nat MIRC (National Marine Information & Research Centre)
          Detailed Program
    Course Directors
  • Elsabe Julies <ejulies@unam.na>, Biological Sciences Faculty, UNAM, Windhoek    
  • Sam Mafwila <smafwila@unam.na>, Dept. of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, UNAM, Henties Bay    
          Inquiries about the RGNO should be addressed to the course directors    
      We'd like to engage instructors, permanent and visiting ones, biologists, chemists, modelers and geologists, from the region and from abroad, who have an active research interest in redox transition processes and who are willing to share their knowledge with young scientists.
          Names will be added to the list as people become available and commit to contribute    
  • Jake Bailey, Geobioloogy, Dept. of Earth Sciences, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA    
  • Chibo Chikwililwa, SANUMARC, Henties Bay, NAMIBIA    
  • Bronwen Currie, Biology, Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Henties Bay, NAMIBIA    
  • Timothy Eglinton, Biogeochemistry, Geological Institute, ETHZ, Zürich, SWITZERLAND    
  • Kurt Hanselmann, Microbial Geochemistry, Geological Institute, Climate Geology and Geomicrobiology, ETHZ, Zürich, SWITZERLAND    
  • Richard Horaeb, Cruise Leader, NatMIRC of MFMR, Swakopmund, NAMIBIA    
  • Elsabe Julies, Microbiology, Biological Sciences Faculty, UNAM, Windhoek, NAMIBIA    
  • Mark Lever, Environmental Microbiology, Department of Environmental System Sciences, ETHZ, SWITZERLAND    
  • Deon Louw, Shipboard Scientist, NatMIRC of MFMR, Swakopmund, NAMIBIA    
  • Sam Mafwila, Oceanography, Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, UNAM, Henites Bay, NAMIBIA    
  • Daniel Montluçon,Biogeochemistry, Geological Institute, ETHZ, Zürich, SWITZERLAND    
  • Edosa Omoregie, Aquatic Sciences, SANUMARC, Henties Bay, NAMIBIA    
  • Osvaldo Ulloa, Department of Oceanopgraphy, University of Concepción, CHILE    
      Technical Assistants
  • Martha Hausiku, SANUMARC, Henties Bay, NAMIBIA
    Gadaffi Muhanze Liswaniso, SANUMARC, Henties Bay, NAMIBIA
    Kaspar Shimooshili, SANUMARC, Henties Bay, NAMIBIA
      Course Coordinator
      Please send Applications and Reference Letters as pdf documents to

  • Edosa Omoregie, RGNO Course Coordinator
    Sam Nujoma Marine and Coastal Resources Research Center (SANUMARC)
    University of Namibia
    e-mail: omoregie@unam.na
    phone: +264 64 502 600
      Course Location
      The RGNO Research Discovery Camp is based at the Sam Nujoma Campus & Marine Research Center, UNAM's regional institute for research and training in oceanography in Henties Bay, Namibia. Samples emanating from the hydrographic sampling will be returned here for follow-up characterization. More in-depth biogeochemical studies can be performed at host institutions in the region or abroad together with visiting graduate students and scientists from the course.  
          Accommodations: Course participants will live in campus housing sharing dormitory rooms or in nearby hotels. All meals are served in the cafeteria of the Sam Nujoma Campus & Marine Research Center. Linens are provided, but students are required to bring their own towels.  
          While at sea, students will share cabins on the R/V MIRABILIS. Linens will be provided and three meals are served during day hours.      
      English. Participants must show good command of the English language for reading, writing and following lectures.      

    The course fee is 9500 NAM$, which covers accommodation (room and board) on land and at sea and local transports to the Sam Nujoma Campus & Marine Research Center from Walvis Bay airport or from Swakopmund, if necessary and reserved in advance through the course coordinator.

          A limited number of fellowships is available for qualified applicants who are in training at a university. These will cover part or the full amount of the course tuition, if needed (see "Financial Support"). We ask that applicants apply for support at their home institutions first and that those who are otherwise supported by scholarships or who are employed pay the full costs through their employer or from their scholarship.      
          The trainee is responsible for the costs for his /her round-trip ticket between the home institution and Walvis Bay, Swakopmund or Henties Bay in Namibia, for visa applications and fees, insurance premiums, seafarers certificate, etc. If necessary the course management will help.      
          The course does not pay salaries or bursaries and it assumes no responsibility for compensation in the event of sickness, accident, death or disability of course participants. Each course participant must arrange for personal health and accident insurance valid in Namibia.
    In order to be allowed on the Research Vessel, participants must produce a "Seafarers Health Certificate". Those who already have an internationally recognized one should take it with them; all others will have to go through a health check, which will be arranged locally by the Course Coordinator.
      Financial Support
      Limited funding to attend the RGNO Discovery Camp is available to postgraduate students and early career scientists involved or planning to get involved in projects that relate to upwelling ecosystems research. It is expected that they have some practical experimental experience and a good theoretical and empirical background in their field of science.      
          If you intend to apply for financial support, please complete the form "Financial Statement and Application for Support", which is attached to the Application Form, and submit it together with your application. Financial support is based on both financial need and academic merit and awarded to participants facing financial constraints. A request for aid will NOT influence the selection of an application for the RGNO course.
    Please contact your advisor and department to inquire about support prior to submitting your request to the RGNO.
      Who is eligible to apply
      We would like to invite 12 to 14 open minded, motivated and passionate young scientists from SADC countries (Southern African Development Community), but also worldwide. All students must fulfill the same criteria. We envision a 2:1 ratio of African to non-African participants.      
          Early career researchers (PhD candidates and post-doctoral researchers, but also Honors M.Sc. students majoring in one of the ocean science fields and scientists holding an equivalent advanced degree) with specialization in biological, chemical, geological or physical oceanography, environmental marine ecology or in other fields related to the course contents are particularly encouraged to apply for this program, if they can make use of the biogeochemical and microbiological topics that are offered.      
          Practitioners from research-oriented institutions, lecturers and higher level educators who submit a plan outlining how they intend to incorporate course contents into their practice, learning and teaching of science, technology or engineering and to share new knowledge and exchange ideas with colleagues and students are welcome to apply as well.      
          Applicants must either be enrolled in a science training program at an accredited university or polytechnic school or be employed as a researcher or upper level science teacher in his/her country of origin before, during, and after the course.      
      How to apply
      Use the forms provided, fill in the required information using Adobe Acrobat and submit all documents electronically as Adobe pdf with good resolution, preferably as attachments in one single e-mail to the Course Coordinator omoregie@unam.na. Your applicatioin must contain:          
  • Your CV (1 page) with photo, (list also special skills that might promote your career).      
  • Scanned copies of verified transcripts of your undergraduate and graduate degree documents as pdf documents sent as attachments to an e-mail.      
  • A statement explaining your present study status or employment.      
  • On the Application Form a statement of interest outlining your current research, your academic career plans, your contribution to the course research projects based on your skills and what you hope to gain from the training offered by the RGNO Discovery Camp (1-2 pages). This information is very essential (see selection criteria).      
  • Names and contacts of two people who have agreed to write letters of recommendation explaining your academic achievements, your career potential and your character. One must come from your present research advisor / work supervisor and must also contain the approval of your present study or research institution in supporting your leave for the full duration of the Research Discovery Camp. Please forward the corresponding Evaluation Forms to the reviewers, who have agreed to evaluate your scientific potential. Recommendation letters should be sent by the evaluators to the Course Coordinator omoregie@unam.na directly.

    If you need help or clarification please contact the Course Coordinator or the Course Directors.


          All Application Documents, incl. Recommendation Letters and CV must be written in English. Applicants must complete the Application Forms and submit them electronically together with the other documents in pdf format to      

    Edosa Omoregie, RGNO Course Coordinator
    Sam Nujoma Marine and Coastal Resources Research Center (SANUMARC)
    University of Namibia
    e-mail: omoregie@unam.na
    phone: +264 64 502 600

    Application deadline is January 30, 2015
      Selection of Participants
      Selection of participants is competitive. We'd like to attract talented students and experienced instructors who can make best use of the possibilities offered by the RGNO Discovery Camp for their own research and who are willing to share their knowledge. Applicants will be chosen according to merit and their academic outlook. Special attention will be paid to the applicant's potential as a (future) scientist.
    For your application please consider the following:
    During the presently funded phase of the RGNO we focus on 4 themes as outlined in the RGNO Mission Statement
  • Microbially coupled element cycling in redox transition zones.
  • Pelagic-benthic carbon balancing across the shelf and its effect on ocean acidity.
  • Organic biomarkers in sediment matter and phosphorites as proxies for former and present environmental changes.
  • Consequences of high primary productivity on microbial community composition and geochemical cycling.
          Tell us in your application what you intend to do and we will make an effort to accommodate your interests and your needs. During the two cruises the course has access to water and sediment samples from the shelf region between 20° and 23° S (leg1) and 25° to 27° South (leg2) respectively (see RGNO_2014_Cruise_Sampling_Stations.pdf). We would like to encourage participants to apply who can best justify the need for the contents that the course offers and the research that they will be carrying out with the collected samples.  
          Applications are evaluated on the following criteria:  
    • The contribution the course can make to support your research within one of the 4 core projects.
    • Quality of the academic achievements and / or teaching records.
    • Curriculum of the applicant.
    • Career objectives and evidence that the training will lead to lasting impacts on oceanography.
    • Skills in carrying out original research and / or dedication to effective teaching.
    • Ability to understand and write scientific reports and papers on technical issues in English.
    • Recommendations in Reference Letters that address your abilites as listed on the Evaluation Forms.
          The candidate might be asked to participate in an informal telephone / Skype interview to evaluate his/her command of the English language.  
          Action on admission can only be taken once the application files are complete. Notification of acceptance will be made within one month of the deadline for applications. Applicants will be notified with an invitation letter sent via e-mail. Accepted candidates must confirm full participation within one week and will then receive further information regarding visa application, travel and a "health insurance memo" which needs to be signed and returned together with the confirmation of participation.  
      Travel to Namibia
      Making travel arrangements is the responsibility of each participant. Those traveling from abroad best fly to Windhoek (Hosea Kutako International Airport) from where they should arrange for a shuttle transport to Swakopmund or they fly directly to Walvis Bay (Rooikop Airport) which is closest to the home of the course at the Marine Research Center in Henties Bay. Upon request the course offers pickups at Walvis Bay Airport and at the Swakopmund shuttle stop.
    If citizens of your country of origin (passport) require a visa to enter Namibia, you will be responsible for applying for a visitor / tourist visa at the Namibian Embassy in your country of residence.
      Participants are required to contribute actively to the course contents, adhere to the study plan, critically follow lectures, familiarize themselves with the scientific literature, initiate discussions, share knowledge and experience, plan proper procedures for sampling at sea, perform reliable analyses, execute experiments, recognize problems and work towards solving them. Some papers and book chapters will become available to accepted participants on the password-protected study site. The course goals can best be achieved, if everybody takes responsibility in making the course successful for themselves and supporting others.
    Participation requires time for preparation and a serious commitment to fully immerse into the program, there is not much time to do other things during the course period.
    • Accepted participants will be asked to read a number of scientific publications and book chapters before the course.
    • During evenings of the first course week, participants will present the work they are involved in at their home institution and outline their research topic.
    • Also during week 1, participants will familiarze themselves with the research literature and the use of online research tools, select scientific papers that relate to the chosen course research theme, formulate project ideas and begin to set up experiments that might solve them.
    • During weeks 2 and 3 groups of students will participate in six-day cruises on the R/V MIRABILIS for the collection of samples from the water column and from sediments along the Namibian shelf.
    • During weeks 3 and 4 participants will report on progress made at sea and in the lab.
    • At the end of week 4 the course will host the Bachelor Students on campus and students from nearby High Schools for a "Science Discovery Day".
    • During the last week, the preliminary research data will be written up, integrated into a research proposal and prepared for an oral presentation at the Open Symposium on Tuesday, June 2 at Nat MIRC in Swakopmund.
      Assessment of Outcome
      Participants, who attend the full program will receive a cover letter (certificate of attendance) and the list of contents covered during the course (Study Program). Although the RGNO does not officially credit the work done during the Research Discovery Camp, participants are encouraged to apply for credits at their home institution. It is recommended that the course be credited according to the rules applicable at the student's home institution.   Upon request from the crediting office, the course organizers can give further comments on the performance of the participant and offer an opinion as to the credit value of the program.
    The course needs to be evaluated as well. Towards the end, participants will be asked to comment on the usefulness of the course contents for their career, for preparing research grant applications, scientific reports and lectures. This will help to constantly improve the RGNO courses and adapt contents to interests and needs.
      Course Study Site
      Course organization, study plans, addresses of the teaching team members, publications and methodological protocols will become available via a password-protected study site on OLAT*.
    The site also contains a "Knowledge Assessment" questionnaire, in which you judge your abilities, your experience and your knowledge before the course. It will help the organizers in preparing according to the needs of the participants.
      Access rights to the study site will be sent to accepted course participants a few weeks before the start of the Research Discovery Camp.
    After the course, the study program and details about certain course events will be made available to a broader interest group via the section "Impressions from Past Courses, Testimonials and Reports".

    (* OLAT is the open source, online learning and training system of the University of Zürich.)
      Important Dates
      Pre-Course Period:

    01 November: Website is operational
    01 November: Application period opens
    11 November: Course posters distributed

    30 January: Application period ends
    10 February: Participants selected and informed
    20 February: Participants accepted, registration complete
    05 March: Health & Emergency Information complete
    15 March: Enrolment in study website for preparation starts
    13 April: Pre-Cruise
    30 April: Pick-up requests complete
      Course Period: May - June 2015
    03 May: Participants arrive in Henties Bay
    04 May: RGNO course starts
    11 May: Cruise leg 1, from Walvis Bay to the North
    17 May: Cruise leg 2, from Walvis Bay to the South
    30 May: Outreach Day, Henties Bay
    02 June: Open Forum, Swakopmund
    03 June: Proposals submitted
    04 June: Clean-up day, end of RGNO course
    05 June: All participants have left
      Impressions from Past Courses,
    Testimonials and Reports
      Read here about past courses: what we studied, who the students and instructors were and what interests they have, what they presented at the symposium and what they had to say about their course.          
      Regional Graduate Network
    in Oceanography   -   RGNO
      Within the next few years, the Sam Nujoma Campus and SANUMARC will offer annually a Research Discovery Camp as a contribution to the Regional Graduate Network in Oceanography for Southern Africa. It is based on SCOR's Bellagio Recommendations. The topics are related to the "Sustainable Use and Management of Marine Upwelling Ecosystems and their Resources".   Research teams and students from the RGNO aim to collaborate with individuals and organizations that sponsor access to advanced research facilities with expert guidance for analyses, experimentation, ocean observation and data processing. Alumni of the RGNO are expected to later help train marine scientists in their field of expertise and experience at their institution and within the RGNO. The development of the initiative, the research contents and the contribution of the chosen themes to research and capacity building in the region are described in the RGNO Mission Statement.  
      Other Things to do in Namibia
      Besides having an ocean ecosystem driven by upwelling, Namibia offers many more scientifically interesting phenomena. The slides shown above and the many pictures illustrate the multitude of features that can be observed and studied before or after the course.
    Many are attractive for geologists, e.g. Brandberg, a huge cretaceous plutonic rock formation that rises out of the Namib Desert and can be seen on pictures taken by satellites, the flat Etosha sedimentary basin in the North, the deep and over long stretches dry Fish River Canyon in the South, active dunes in the Namib Desert all along the Atlantic between Swakopmund and Lüderitz, ancient stromatolite fossils, sites with Archean and Proterozoic rocks, ephemeral Kuiseb River floods, and many more.
      In the vicinity of the Sam Nujoma Campus one finds calcite and gypsum duricrusts - calcretes and gypcretes. In the Omaruru riverbed, sandy sediment outcrops illustrate regression and transgressions of the ocean and coastal solar evaporation ponds and mud pans with colorful archaeal and bacterial blooms give impressions of microbial life under extremely saline conditions. Plant biologists might be interested in studying adaptations of plants to arid environments and the colonization of sand flats by lichens. Astronomers get views into space from desert sites undisturbed by light pollution at night and photographers find lots of opportunities to "hunt" for wild animals and wait for spectacular sunsets on the beach. There is much to discover in Namibia by just keeping your eyes open for "natural art".  
          A movie in 3 parts is available on the Namibian Coast Conservation and Management (NACOMA) website. It gives an informative insight into Namibia's land-ocean interactions.
    Movie part 1
    Movie part 2
    Movie part 3
    Don't miss the large selection of short videos about Namibia, which you will find in the right navigator in YouTube.
      Namibia's desert coast stretches over 1570 km from the Orange river - the border with South Africa in the south - to the Kuenen River in the north which forms the border to Angola for a short stretch. The movies explain the causes for the richness of fish and the diversity of organisms in the ocean food chain, and they elute to the many environmental extremes that make the delicate ecosystems suceptible to a globally changing environment, like sea level rises and coastal erosion. They also remind us of the consequences, if these ecosystems are overused by fishing and industrial operations, by tourism, settlements and other human-induced activities.
      Yes, we care about changes on Earth and would like to see and understand why and how they happen.

    "The Story of Earth" (National Geographic) and "Earth from Space" (NOVA)
                     Discovery News on OCEANS       
          Comments regarding errors or discrepancies in this website should be addressed to kurt.hanselmann@erdw.ethz.ch  
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