RGNO
Regional Graduate Network in Oceanography
A SCOR Capacity Building Project in Southern Africa
 
 
   
                 
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The Application Process for the 2017 course closes on March 10.
  4th African Discovery Camp for Research-based Training for the Sustainable Use and Management of Marine Ecosystems and their Resources

April 13 – May 12, 2017

at the University of Namibia's Sam Nujoma Research Center in Henties Bay and
Namibia's National Marine Information and Research Center in Swakopmund
                 
                 
 



 

The South-North flowing Benguela Current creates large upwelling cells along the coast of Southwestern Africa. Here, cold, nutrient and CO2-rich upwelling water leads to one of the world's most productive marine ecosystem. The 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. Major perturbations today are steadily increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations, attendant rises in the water temperature, changes in ocean circulation, sea level rise, ocean acidification, massive nutrient cycling, etc. 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. Predicting possible responses of the ecosystems to perturbations requires an intimate knowledge of the physical and geochemical processes involved and the role of the major biological mediator of mass cycling and energy transformation, the microbiome.
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 occurred earlier in Earth history. Examples are mass extinction and Oceanic Anoxic Events (OAE), formation of sedimentary phosphate deposits, how organisms responded to alkalinity changes (Ocean Acidification), how sediments acted as sinks for carbon and for sequestering other elements and how they archived former processes on land and along continental shelves.

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 opportunities for dedicated scientists and passionate students in interdisciplinary teams.

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 of a few weeks, this Research Discovery Camp might be the right start for you. Applicants are expected to be open-minded, have a good background in the natural sciences, be creative in developing new ways for studying environmental questions, be experienced and willing to work in a small group at sea and in the laboratory on land and to read, write and communicate in English comfortably. You are expected to be actively involved in carrying out environmentally oriented research at your home institution before and after the course. The RGNO supports your research ideas with work at sea, lectures, literature studies, problem-solving challenges and hands-on training opportunities.
RGNO courses also offer opportunities to enlarge your scientific network and to arrange for short internships in the laboratory of one of the RGNO instructors.



 
       
   
 
       
   
 
   
 
     
                 
  After successful pilot courses since 2014 and thanks to the continued support of our sponsors, we are pleased to announce a forth international research training course in southern Africa to take place in 2017. We'd like to invite PhD students, postdoctoral researchers, honors MSc students, but also professors 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 marine 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 microbenthos from various sediment habitats will be collected and studied. During two five 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 in the laboratory on land.
  Before embarking and after the cruises students will practise techniques and design experiments in the laboratories of UNAM's Sam Nujoma Campus in Henties Bay and of Nat MIRC in Swakopmund.
During lectures and discussions students will also learn about benthic and pelagic habitats of the BCE and the complex relationships between the microbiome, geochemical cycles and ecosystem health, which ultimately influences the productivity and the harvestable fish yield of the BCE. The interdisciplinary approach merges microbial, geochemical and food web 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, natural variability and recovery from disturbances 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 March 10, 2017. If your application is complete, you will hear back from the organizers within 10 days after the application deadline.
 
     
 
 
               
  Application Forms           REGIONAL GRADUATE NETWORK IN OCEANOGRAPHY - RGNO  
      offered by UNAM's Sam Nujoma Campus and Namibia's National Marine Information and Research Center (Nat MIRC)  
        Course Details    
                 
  Research Discovery Camps  
 
 
 
           
  What you will learn        
           
  Purpose and Scope        
           
  Course Structure        
           
  Time Plan        
           
  Course Contents        
                 
  Open Symposium            
     
 
 
 
  Symposium Speakers        
           
  Course Organizers        
           
  Instructors        
           
  Speakers        
           
  Technical Assistants        
                 
  Course Coordinator              
     
Search where the RV MIRABILIS presently is
         
  Course Location              
     
 
 
 
  Language        
           
  Costs        
           
  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 and the sustainable management of ocean ecosystems.  
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 trawling and 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      
         
  Expectations      
         
  Assessment      
         
  Course Study Sites      
         
  Important Dates        
           
  Impressions from Past Courses, Testimonials and Reports  
 
 
 
           
  Regional Graduate Network in Oceanography  -  RGNO        
           
  Other Things to do in Namibia        
           
  Sponsors        
           
  Slide show           
           
         
           
 
 
               
                 
  Research Discovery Camps
  
  RGNO Research Discovery Camps offer training courses on specialized oceanographic topics and to inspire participants to advance scientific research in ocean ecosystems in an exploratory way. Hands-on work on a research vessel at sea, instruction in the classroom and work in the laboratory make RGNO Research Discovery Camps unique experiences. By working across disciplinary fields and initiating partnerships with scientists from internationally leading research institutions, the RGNO offers opportunities to collaborate in interdisciplinary research projects with guidance and supervision by active scientists. Although the Research Discovery Camps in Namibia address questions relevant to the Benguela Current Ecosystem (BCE) and the consequences of global changes and local disturbances for its functioning, it also provides opportunities to enhance understanding of marine ecosystems in general and how other upwelling systems might respond to perturbations.

Participation in RGNO Research Discovery Camps is competitive; students get selected based on their unique approaches to ocean research and how participation will enhance their ongoing work.
 



 




 
                 
               
  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 environmental changes. Participants will learn about current research and develop future research directions. It is anticipated that you are or will get involved in marine scientific research and be willing to attend internships for analyses and interpretation of research data in your home country or abroad after the camp, if appropriate and 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 of the living and mineral resource in the ocean and provide scientific and technical expertise on the careful exploitation and protection of the marine environment.
 
                 
               
  Purpose and Scope
  
  In the upcoming 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 benthic and pelagic ecosystem research, including human-induced changes that affect biogeochemical processes in the ocean.

In particular, Discovery Camps in the BCE aim to fulfill the following goals:
     
   
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  • encourage advanced students and young professionals to participate in an interdisciplinary ocean research program that aims at understanding how upwelling ecosystems function, at identifying upcoming problems and by working towards their solutions,      
       
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  • provide opportunities for innovative research-oriented learning about microbial and chemical oceanography,      
       
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  • foster a comprehensive understanding of biogeochemical processes in the BCE,      
       
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  • define key processes that affect the continental margins, including coastal systems, estuaries, shelf areas and river delta systems and exchanges between them,      
       
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  • examine biogeochemical processes in the BCE and their relation to marine ecosystem structure and fisheries resources,      
       
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  • identify biological, physical and chemical drivers of energy and material transformations and fluxes,      
       
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  • study nutrient cycling, productivity, food web efficiencies and carbon sequestration by biological and chemical processes, sedimentation and burial of organic matter,      
       
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  • investigate the dynamics of biological, geochemical and physical pump processes over the Benguela continental margin,      
       
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  • integrate data into models that will assess the past, present and future biogeochemical status of the BCE,      
       
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  • develop ideas for a regional ocean observatory system and      
       
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  • extend insights and solutions of problems to students of natural sciences and to those who care about sustainably managing and protecting marine habitats and their natural resources.      
                 
                     
     
     
                     
                   
      Course Structure
      
      The RGNO Discovery Camps intend to assemble the wealth of scientific information that has accumulated over many years of research in the BCE. In an interdisciplinary course we can fulfill this goal best by bringing together experts from the region and from all over the world to train the next generation of biogeochemically and microbiologically oriented oceanographers.  
                     
          The courses offer a mix of research themes presented as 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 and designing posters of their own work.

    Participants will be introduced to topics from the research front in microbial and geochemical oceanography and thus become familiar with geochemical, physical, biological and ecological aspects that are unique to the BCE.

    Interdisciplinary Approach

    By bringing ocean physicists and geochemists together with microbiologists and trophic ecologists, we would like to create a holistic understanding of
  • how basic physical, chemical and biological processes regulate the BCE,
  • how the living conditions in nthe BCE fluctuate naturally and
  • how the BCE might respond to changes.
  •   Some participating research groups study
  • physical mixing processes on the kilometer scale,
  • spacial and temporal geochemical conditions in redox gradients,
  • stress responses in plankton populations,
  • organic carbon transfer and element fluxes,
  • effects of elevated atmospheric CO2 levels on ocean habitat conditions,
  • symbiotic interactions between microbial communities and benthic fauna,
  • metabolic potential of microorganisms associated with marine aggregates and
  • interactions between viruses and their hosts at the scale of molecules.
  • All studies will contribute to a better understanding of the functioning and responses to disturbances of the unique trophic web in the BCE that supports such large populations of fish and the efforts to define fishing quotas to sustain these and other ecosystem services.
     
     
     
         
    The course will comprise
             
       
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  • Field Experiences at sea in the BCE on the R/V MIRABILIS, in tidal estuaries and along coastlines and riverbeds.  

     

     
       
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  • Lectures and Exercises at sea and on land covering course topics as outlined under Purpose and Scope and Course Contents.      
       
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  • Guided Research Work in the laboratory.      
       
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  • Colloquia and student-guided activities.      
       
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  • An Open-Symposium with key lectures by invited speakers and presentation of student's research findings.      
       
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  • Discussion of scientific papers and case studies on particular course subjects, methods and concepts.      
       
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  • Exercises offering hands-on introductions to bioinformatics, data processing and presentation, computer aided geochemical speciation and thermodynamics of biochemical processes in microbial metabolism.      
       
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  • Special Topics suggested by participants who wish to discuss their particular needs.
    Advanced participants are invited to contribute their expertise to the learners.
         
       
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  • Excursions to a Desalination Plant, a Salt Factory, an Oyster Hatchery and Oyster Farm or a Fish Processing Plant illustrate practical and economic aspects of geochemistry and biology that are directly linked to ocean sciences.          
                     
               
                     
                   
      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:



    Here you can consult the full program of the most recent RGNO course. New schedules become available as the ongoing course develops.

     
     
     
                     
                   
      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. Selection depends on the expertise of the instructors who will be available during the course. Examples from past courses are ...  
           

     
          Ocean Systems Studies
    Physical and chemical characteristics of the Benguela Current Upwelling Ecosystem.
       
       
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  • Ocean-atmosphere interactions: Conversion of dissolved into volatile N and S compounds in oxygen minimum zones (OMZ).    
       
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  • Specialties of desert-ocean interactions: Supply and distribution of terrestrial weathering materials, aerosols, dust, plant material, pollutants and microorganisms to the ocean by aeolian and fluvial transports.    
       
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  • 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. Repositories for and access to global ocean data.
       
                     
          Sedimentary organic & inorganic Biogeochemistry          
       
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  • How sedimentary processes impact chemical conditions and the nutritional status in the water column and vice versa.  
     
       
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  • Biomarkers for the reconstruction of the origin of organic and inorganic compounds in sediments.    
       
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  • Proxies to follow past changes in upwelling and depositional processes.    
       
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  • Element balancing across the continental shelf (Carbon 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  

     

     
       
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  • Productivity comparison with other nutrient-rich and nutrient-poor marine systems: Black Sea, Baltic Sea, Mediterranean Sea, South Pacific Gyre, Sargasso Sea.      
       
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  • Ecophysiology of planktonic and benthic microorganisms: Microbial life strategies, energy fluxes, productivity, carbon and nutrient assimilation and dissimilation.      
       
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  • Linking microbial community diversity and metabolism to biogeochemical functions.      
       
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  • Microbial ecophysiology: Microbial life strategies and regulation of biogeochemical processes, energy fluxes, productivity, carbon and nutrient assimilation and dissimilation.      
       
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  • Linking microbial community diversity and metabolism to biogeochemical community functions.      
       
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  • Regulation of biogeochemical sink processes, e.g. phosphate bioaccumulation and the formation of phosphorus containing mineral deposits (phosphorites).      
       
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  • 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.      
          Diversity, morphological characteristics, taxonomy, selection and biochemical functions of major planktonic and benthic microorganisms, "from nematodes to viruses"          
                     
          Geochemical Cycling as Habitat Drivers      
       
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  • Description of the biogeochemical cycles of N, P, S, Fe, Si, C, and O. 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).      
       
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  • Comparison of N- and S-transformation processes involving organic and inorganic compounds in redox- clines of the BCE and other Eastern Boundary Upwelling Systems: e.g. Humboldt and California Current Systems.      
       
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  • Mixing processes across benthic lutoclines.      
                     
          Low Oxygen Environments          
       
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  • Relations between rapid nutrient cycling, productivity, degradation and oxygen depletion.      
       
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  • How the use of alternate electron acceptors (e.g. NO3(-), MnO2, Fe(OH)3, SO4(2-), CO2) is changing the balance of chemical elements in anoxic environments.      
       
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  • Sources and sinks of climatically active metabolic gases such as CO2, N2O, CH4, DMSO, halogenated compounds.      
       
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  • The role of Archaea and Bacteria of the anaerobic microbiome in denitrification, nitrification, methanotrophy, methanogenesis etc.      
       
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  • Coastal vs. off-shore marine OMZ ecosystems.      
       
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  • Sensitivity, resistance, resilience and recovery of oxygen-limited food webs.      
       
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  • Low oxygen environments in the context of global environmental changes in the past and in the future.      
                     
          Geobiochemical Modeling      
       
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  • Access to and working with data from local data bases and with ARGO and GEOTRACES data that are available in global ocean databases.      
       
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  • 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.      
       
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  • 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 conversion by microorgnisms.      
       
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  • 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  


     


     
       
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  • 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 ...
         
       
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  • 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.      
       
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  • investigating the ecology and diversity of marine microbes involved in geochemical cycling of macro-nutrients and micro-elements.      
       
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  • extracting pigments and metabolites from bloom forming microorganisms and separating and detecting them with HPLC.      
       
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  • analyzing organic and inorganic components from seawater and sediments.      
       
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  • applying molecular biomarkers (membrane lipids, stable isotopes) in food web ecology and the reconstruction of past environmental conditions.      
       
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  • performing biogeochemical experiments and enrich and grow marine microorganisms.      
       
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  • designing and executing mathematical models on nutrient flows in upwelling systems.      
                 
                 
       
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  • 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, May 9, at Nat MIRC 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, mineral mining at the ocean floor, 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
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  • climate change effects on nutrient cycling and productivity
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  • designing proper approaches for studying them and for finding solutions
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  • developing methods for an observation system
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  • communicating research findings to decision makers and ecosystem managers
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  • defining long-term benefits for the region and for individual stakeholders
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  • training next generation ocean scientists
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      Symposium Speakers
     
      The program will be designed as the course develops.    
         
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          Detailed Program By clicking on the green arrow, you can have a look at the program of the most recent RGNO symposium
     
       
                     
     
     
               
             
      Course Organizing Team
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  • Chibo Chikwililwa, Course Coordinating Director (CCD)
    e-mail: cchikwililwa@unam.na
    Sam Nujoma Campus and Marine and Coastal Resources Research Center (SANUMARC) and University of Namibia

       
       
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  • Edosa Omoregie, Course Financial Director (CFD)
    e-mail omoregie@unam.na
    Dept. of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, UNAM, Sam Nujoma Campus, Henties Bay

       
       
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  • Richard Horaeb, Course Cruise Leader (CCL)
    e-mail Richard.Horaeb@mfmr.gov.na
    Nat MIRC of MFMR, Swakopmund

       
       
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  • Deon Louw, Course Cruise Leader (CCL)
    e-mail Deon.Louw@mfmr.gov.na
    Nat MIRC of MFMR, Swakopmund
       
             
      Instructors
    Lecturers
     
      We'd like to engage instructors, permanent and visiting ones, biologists, chemists, physists, modelers, remote sensing specialists and geologists, from the region and from abroad, who have an active research interest in high productivity systems and 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    
       
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  • Jake Bailey, Geobioloogy, Dept. of Earth Sciences, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA    
       
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  • Chibo Chikwililwa, SANUMARC, Henties Bay, NAMIBIA    
       
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  • Corey Archer, Institute of Geochemistry and Petrology, ETHZ, Zürich, SWITZERLAND    
       
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  • Kurt Hanselmann, Microbial Geochemistry, Geological Institute, Biogeosciences and Geomicrobiology, ETHZ, Zürich, SWITZERLAND    
       
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  • Richard Horaeb, Zooplankton Section, Nat MIRC of MFMR, Swakopmund, NAMIBIA    
       
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  • Volker Mohrholz, Physical Oceanography, Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research Warnemünde, GERMANY    
       
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  • Deon Louw, Cruise Leader, Phytoplankton Section, Nat MIRC of MFMR, Swakopmund, NAMIBIA    
       
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  • Daniel Montluçon, Biogeochemistry, Geological Institute, ETHZ, Zürich, SWITZERLAND    
       
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  • Edosa Omoregie, Aquatic Sciences, SANUMARC of UNAM, Henties Bay, NAMIBIA    
       
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      Invited Speakers
     
      Every year, the RGNO invites a number of local and international scientists who are willing to give a lecture and share their insight into particuar topics with the RGNO course.
       
                     
          Names will be added to the list as more people become available and commit to contribute    

     
       
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  • Bronwen Currie, Biology, Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Henties Bay, NAMIBIA      
                 
       
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  • Anja Van Der Plas, Marine Chemistry, National Marine Information & Research Centre, Swakopmund, NAMIBIA      
                 
       
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  • Susanne Fietz, Geochemistry, Stellenbosch University, SOUTH AFRICA      
       
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  • Sam Mafwila, SANUMARC and Dept. of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, UNAM, Sam Nujoma Campus, Henties Bay, NAMIBIA      
       
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  • John Compton, Geology, University of Cape Town, SOUTH AFRICA      
                 
       
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  • Johannes Iitembu, Ecology, Dept. of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, UNAM, Sam Nujoma Campus, Henties Bay, NAMIBIA      
                 
       
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  • Margit Wilhelm, Population Dynamics, Dept. of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, UNAM, Sam Nujoma Campus, Henties Bay, NAMIBIA      
               
      Technical Assistance
     
  •  
  • Twali-Nohamba Akawa, Dept. of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, UNAM, Sam Nujoma Campus, Henties Bay, NAMIBIA and
    Kaspar Shimooshili, SANUMARC, Henties Bay, NAMIBIA
         
                 
               
      Course Coordinator
     
      The Course Coordinating Director (CCD) responds to inquiries about the RGNO and she receives Applications and Reference Letters..
         
       
  •  
  • Chibo Chikwililwa, Course Coordinating Director (CCD)
    Sam Nujoma Campus and Marine and Coastal Resources Research Center (SANUMARC)
    University of Namibia
    e-mail: chibochikwililwa@yahoo.co.uk
    phone: +264 (0)81 463 6406
         
                 
      Transportation Coordinator   Twali-Nohamba Akawa, Course Transportation Coordinator (CTC), Dept. of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, UNAM, Sam Nujoma Campus, Henties Bay
    e-mail: akawatwali@yahoo.com
    phone: +264 (0)81 269 2272
         
                     
     
     
                     
                   
      Course Location
     
      The RGNO Research Discovery Camp is based at the Sam Nujoma Campus, UNAM's regional institute for research and training in oceanography in Henties Bay, and at the National Marine Information and Research Center in Swakopmund, Namibia. Samples emanating from the hydrographic sampling will be returned to these two labs 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 nearby flats in Henties Bay, sharing rooms. Breakfast and dinner will be served in town restaurants. Bedding and towels are provided, but participants are required to supply their own toiletries. A warm sleeping bag is recommended as a second bed cover for cold nights, since the rooms are not heated.  
     
     
          While at sea, participants will share cabins on the R/V MIRABILIS. Linens will be provided and three meals are served during day hours.      
        Transportation has to be requested and reserved in advance through the CTC      
      Language
     
      English. Participants must show good command of the English language for reading, writing and following lectures and laboratory procedures.      
                     
                     
     
     
                     
                   
      Costs & Compensations
     
     

    The course fee is 9500 NAM$ or an equivalent in US$ or €. It covers accommodation (room and board) on land and at sea and local transports to the Sam Nujoma Campus from Walvis Bay airport or to and from Swakopmund, if necessary.
    Activities on the weekends are not covered by the course fee. Accepted course participants will receive an invoice and instructions for payments from the CFD

         
                 
          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 research grants or who are employed pay the full costs through their employer or from their scholarship.      
                 
          The trainee is responsible for arranging and financing the round-trip ticket between his /her home institution and Walvis Bay, Swakopmund or Henties Bay in Namibia, for visa applications and associated fees, insurance premiums, seafarers certificate, etc. If necessary the course management will help. Participants who will receive a travel scholarship through the course must purchase the plane ticket and first pay for the airfare by themselves; they will be reimbursed by the CFD upon arrival at the course site.      
                 
          Insurances: The course 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 CCD.
         
        The RGNO cannot pay honoraria, salaries or bursaries, neither to students nor to instructors.      
      Financial Support
     
      Limited funding to attend the RGNO Discovery Camp is available to postgraduate students and early career scientists involved in or planning to get involved in projects that relate to upwelling marine 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 do not fill out the "Financial Statement and Application for Support" form, if you are not applying for support.
    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 from worldwide. All students must fulfill the same criteria. We envision a 1:1 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, physical or engineering 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.      
                     
          African 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 CCD cchikwililwa@unam.na. Please do not fill out the application forms in hand writing and do not send scanned or password-protected copies of the forms, since such forms cannot be read by the receiving software.

     
       
  •  
  • Your application must contain:
    1. Your CV (1 page) with photo, (list also special skills that might promote your career).
         
       
  •  
  • 2. Scanned copies of verified transcripts of your highest degree(s) reached as pdf documents sent as attachments to an e-mail (do not send hard copies of originals, and do not send transcripts of the grades in courses you attended)      
       
  •  
  • 3. A statement explaining your present study status or employment.      
       
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  • 4. 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).      
      Evaluation Forms
  •  
  • 5. 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 before the application deadline, to the Course Coordinating Director chibochikwililwa@yahoo.co.uk directly.

    If you need help or clarification please contact the Course Coordinating Director.
     

     

     
                 
      Application Forms   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      
                 
         

    Chibo Chikwililwa, RGNO Course Coordinating Director,
    Sam Nujoma Campus and Marine and Coastal Resources Research Center (SANUMARC)
    University of Namibia
    e-mail: chibochikwililwa@yahoo.co.uk
    phone: +264 (0)81 463 6406

         
     
     
                   
      Deadline  
    Application deadline is March 10, 2017
             
                     
     
     
                   
      Selection of Participants
     
      Selection of participants is competitive. We would 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 the following 4 themes as outlined in the RGNO Mission Statement
  • Microbially coupled geochemical element cycling in redox transition zones.
  • Pelagic-benthic carbon balancing across the Namibian shelf and its effect on ocean acidity.
  • Organic biomarkers in sediment matter and phosphorite deposits 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 to which theme you want to contribute and what you intend to do. We will make every effort to accommodate your interests and your needs. During the cruise the course has access to water and sediment samples from the shelf region between 18°S and 27°S (see RGNO_Cruise_Sampling_Stations.pdf). We would like to select participants 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 based on the following criteria:  
         
  • The contribution the course can make to support your research within one of the 4 core topics.
  •  
         
  • 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 abilities 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 ten days 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 Walvis Bay (Rooikop Airport) which is closest to the home of the course in Henties Bay and Swakopmund or to Windhoek (Hosea Kutako International Airport) from where they should arrange for a shuttle transport to Swakopmund through the CTC. Upon request through the CTC, the course offers pickups at Walvis Bay Airport and at the Swakopmund shuttle stop.

    As a citizen of a country of origin (passport) who requires a visa to enter Namibia, you will be responsible for applying for a proper visa at the Namibian Embassy in your country of residence. If you get accepted to participate you will receive further advice.
     
                     
                   
      Expectations
     
      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 no time to do other things during the course period.
    • Accepted participants will be asked to respond to a questionnair that summarizes their experience, to read a number of scientific publications and book chapters and, if necessary, to refresh their knowledge in chemistry 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 familiarize 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 five-day cruises on the R/V MIRABILIS for the collection of samples from the water column and from sediments along the Namibian shelf.
    • During the following 10 days participants will execute analyses and perform experiments and get ready to report on progress made at sea and in the lab.
    • On April 29 the course will host the Bachelor Students from the Henties Bay campus and possibly 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 a poster and prepared for an oral presentation at the Open Symposium at Nat MIRC in Swakopmund.
     
                     
                   
      Assessment of Outcome
     
      Participants, who successfully 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 preferably before the course. 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 in testimonials 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. Here is a list of questions we will ask you to address.
     
                     
                   
      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 management 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 and it will give participants an opportunity to evaluate their progress.
      Access rights to the study site will be sent to accepted course participants a week 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 platform of the University of Zürich.)
     
                     
                   
      Important Dates
     
      Pre-Course Period 2016
    01 December: Website is operational
    01 December: Application period opens
    01 December: Course posters distributed

    2017
    10 March: Application period ends
    20 March: Participants selected and informed
    25 March: Participants accepted, registration complete
    25 March: Health & Emergency Information complete
    06 April: Enrolment in study website for preparation starts
    08 April: Pick-up requests complete
    13 April: Participants arrive in Swakopmund
      Course Period: April - May, 2017
    13 April: Participants arrive in Swakopmund
    14 April: RGNO course starts
    19 April: Cruise leg 1, from Walvis Bay to the North
    24 April: Cruise leg 2, from Walvis Bay to the South
    29 April: Outreach Day for Bachelor Students from the Henties Bay Campus
    29 April: Outreach Day for local High-School Students
    09 May: Presentation of Results at the Open Forum, NatMIRC Swakopmund
    10 May: Proposals and Posters submitted to the corresponding folders in OLAT
    10 May: Clean-up day, Graduation, end of RGNO course 2017
    11 & 12 May: Departure from Henties Bay and Swakopmund

    Post-Course Period:
    30 May: All testimonials submitted to the CCD.
     
                     
     
     
                   
      Impressions from
    Past Courses,
    Testimonials and Reports
     
      Read here about past courses: what we studied, who the students and staff were, what interests they had, the research proposals which they submitted and which they presented at the Open Symposium and what they had to say about their RGNO course.          
                     
                     
                   
      Regional Graduate Network
    in Oceanography
    RGNO
     
      Within the next few years, RGNO, in collaboration with the Sam Nujoma Campus and SANUMARC and with the National Marine Information and Research Center (Nat MIRC) of the MFMR, will offer annually a Research Discovery Camp in Oceanography for Southern Africa. The concept is based on SCOR's Bellagio Recommendations. The topics are related to key themes in "Biogeochemical Oceanography in Upwelling Ecosystems" and 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 of this web site illustrate the multitude of features that can be observed and studied before or after the RGNO Discovery Camp.
    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 Ocean 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 beaches. 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, if you click on any of the above mentioned videos.
      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 susceptible 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.
    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.
     
                     
     
     
                     
                   
      Sponsors   The RGNO Research Dscovery Camp 2017 is supported and sponsored by the following national and international institutions:      
                     
                                      

                               
     
                     
                     
                                 
                     
      Yes, we care about changes on Earth and would like to 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  
                     
     
     
                     
      Members of the 2017 RGNO class (May 5th)          
                     
       
                     
      back row, left to right   Nancy Odour, Kenya; Greg Limbo Mbaimbai, Namibia; Barbara Lesniak, Poland; Anastasiia Ignatova, Russia; Amidou Sonko, Senegal; Volker Mohrholz (Instructor), Germany; Natalie Hicks, UK; Marwa Baloza, Egypt;  
      middle row, left to right   Nicola Krake, Germany; Chibo Chikwililwa (Instructor) Namibia; Bartholomeus Tjandja, Namibia; Ibrahima Diack, Senegal;  
      front row, left to right   Kurt Hanselmann (Instructor), Switzerland; Eugenia Kwahanangadu Paulus, Namibia; Essam Khamis Adel Moniem El-Shorbagi, Egypt; Lauren Gillies, USA.  
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                   
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