Today we went to Victoria Falls again, to get a start on our projects now that we had the lay of the land. I won't be able to begin my experiment until I see some hippos, so I decided to help out Dr. Bird and Jessica Roberts with their parasite projects. The original idea was to flag for ticks in the underbrush surrounding the river, but as after a couple of passes along the foliage with the fabric used to catch ticks, it didn't seem like we were going to find any at all. But, luckily enough, we DID find a couple examples of very fresh fecal matter, which we collected and placed in sample vials filled with ethanol to sanitize them. Hopefully when we get back to the States, Jessica can analyze the samples under a microscope and determine what kinds of parasites are present. Who thought I'd be able to tell my parents, "Well, today in Africa I played with poop."
Also today we encountered a cobra. He was wary of us, but he didn't look inclined to attack, and posed for us to snap some great photos. I'm sure we'll upload them when we have more time, but right now it's dinner time!
In May and June of 2007, 13 undergraduate students from Northern Michigan University are taking a field course in Zambia. Most of the students are majors in the Biology department, and all of them will be doing short field studies of their own design while on the ground in Zambia. The group will be making a stop in London on the way, spending four days seeing Zambia/Africa-related British sites (Burton's tomb, Livingstone's artefacts at the Royal Geographic Society, the British Museum of Natural History, etc.) and adjusting to the time change. The course is being led by me, Dr. Alec Lindsay, a professor in the Department of Biology at NMU, and Dr. Jackie Bird - a parasitologist in our department. We have made this blog so students can hopefully post notes thoughts, pictures and discoveries to the world. This should allow classmates, teachers, family and friends to share in their insights and keep track of their travels. Not only that, but viewers of the blog can add comments to posts - please do! We would love to hear your thoughts. Zikomo!